Shama Sikander’s never-before-seen bold avatar in Shailendra Singh’s short film, ‘Sexaholic’ released on YouTube a week back has generated immense buzz on social media. In an exclusive conversation with IndianExpress.com, Shama who plays a nymphomaniac in the film admitted that it was not an easy role to portray and it took her a while to say yes. Excerpts from our conversation.
Ques: How did the short film happen?
Shama: It happened just like that. I have known Shailendra (Singh) for a long time and he shared this idea about his YouTube channel and told me about. He told me the brief story and I was like, ‘Are you crazy? Are you nuts? Have you lost your mind? That was my first reaction. He asked me to just think about it and said that he was working on his script and would get back to me once done. I then forgot about it completely. After a week’s time he got back with the script and I was trying to run away from him because if you read the script, you would be completely scandalised. When you read it, it sounds very harsh. For an actor, it is like what the hell is he trying to make you do. And I was taken aback and I was like you have been my friend for long. How can yo`u think of me doing all this stuff. He then asked me to think of the pain and misery of the character. I said I can’t think of it because you have so much of other stuff happening in there and I have never done this before. He was like take your time, do some research and come back. So, I researched and saw so many footages on nymphomaniacs and what pain and suffering they go through. Somewhere I connected to that pain. I felt it is absolutely normal to have something like this. I mean I never had any doubts that it was not normal but there was some inhibition in my own heart because I had never done anything like this. To do something like this you need a lot of courage. Although I am a very courageous person, even I was shaken. Finally, I said yes and then after two days I said I can’t do this and Shailendra was like, ‘No you can’t do this to me.’ Within a day’s time, I left Mumbai and I was thanking God because it was one of those scripts which I wanted to do but I was lacking the courage to do it. Shailendra didn’t relent and he called me at 3 am in the morning and said, ‘Listen I can’t think of anyone else and you have to do it.’ Now I am a loyal friend but I was in a dilemma as I have a family to answer to. Then I and Shailendra had a long chat and he said that he could take any other hot girl but it was not about a hot looking girl but about an actress. He said that he needed expressions from the face and not from the body. I said fine and mediated to clear all negative voices from my mind and finally said yes.
Ques: How did you prepare for the love making scenes?
Shama: Preparing for the love making scene was not a big deal because we all are born with those skills. So, there was no need to prepare as such. I have been blessed that I have never had to seduce anyone in my life. Men get seduced by looking at me. So that was not challenging. The big deal was showcasing the pain of the character.
Ques: But were there any inhibitions in your mind since your love making scenes involved actors who you had never met before?
Shama: Yes, that was the only inhibition. I met them on the day of the shoot. In a short film, you don’t really have the time prepare in a big way. So everybody teams up to give their best. My team was extremely supportive. And as far as the scenes go, let me say this, I am a good actor. I am a quick learner and if I accept something, I just happen to bring out the best on the day of the shoot. So there were no inhibitions as such. Everything was like halwa. It was so smooth. Everybody was laughing and joking about it at the end of the day.
Ques: You have pushed the envelope with this film. Are you open to more such roles in future or is this the first and last time you have tried anything like this?
Shama: I am more honest than I have ever been. For me, this role was never a taboo. I see myself doing all kinds of roles. I have done a girl next door, a superhero and I have done this now. I want to explore new roles. Our cinema is also changing.
Ques: Why didn’t you actively try your luck in films?
Shama: I started off with films when I was young. And when you are young and you don’t know what is good and not good for you. You end up meeting so many different people who try to impose their thoughts and their beliefs in you and you are so vulnerable at that time that you go astray. You try to fit into the scenario. It’s very unfortunate. But fortunately that very thing has given me the courage to be me and stand for what I believe. So many manipulations happen in our industry. That bothered me a lot as a person. It bothered me to such an extent that I didn’t want it anymore. It gave me a lot of misery and depression. So, I went through this phase in my life for two to three years where I stopped talking to people. I just wanted to explore what I wanted and not what I was taught or conditioned to like. That took a long time. That is why I never pushed myself in Bollywood. Earlier things were different in Bollywood. Producers and directors had a pathetic mentality unfortunately. Now the trend is different with all these young directors coming in. Even those oldies have changed their mentality now. Cinema has become more intelligent.
Ques: Do we see you doing more films now?
Shama: After seeing Sexaholic, many people have contacted me. I am reading three scripts currently. Very soon you will hear something from me.