When she walked into Sakal Times office just a few days ago, she certainly turned heads. Dressed in a red off-shoulder dress, she looked nothing like her old self — Pooja from Yeh Meri Life Hai. She looked glamorous, confident, bold and extremely unapologetic. Shama Sikander has always been like that. Be it her personal life, her battle with depression or her career choices, she is never afraid to speak her mind.
Recently, her home production Shama Sikander Films’ maiden venture Ab Dil Ki Sun went live on her YouTube channel. Talking about the series, which kicked off on June 8 and has been divided into seven short films, she says, “These seven films have been made in the form of a series because they are connected with each other despite not having a continuity. The subjects that are explored in the series are based on different human aspects and are deep, real and relevant to present times. And each episode ends with an important question.”
During her Sakal Times visit, Shama was accompanied by the web series’ executive producer Rizwan Sikander and director Sam Khan.
A lot in the series has been inspired by her personal experiences and the incidents that took place in her life. Each film is about 5 to 14 minutes long and explores present-day issues like instant gratification, loss of love and attachment, hazards of a fast-paced life etc that often lead to psychological disorders. Shama will be seen playing a double role in the series — a 26-year-old and a 56-year-old. Through her character, she tries to narrate the stories of every other individual living on this planet and their struggles. “The motto of the series is to highlight issues like depression and bipolar disorder which people often refrain from talking about,” says Shama who also starred in Aamir Khan-starrer Mann and Sab TV’s Baal Veer.
The actor, who set her foot in the digital space with short film Sexoholic, and later, Vikram Bhatt’s Maaya, was lauded for her bold roles that revolved around female sexual desires and BDSM. When asked why many people raise their eyebrows when art — paintings, films, literature — tries to depict opinions, desires and feelings openly, she says that it is because of our social conditioning. “We are brought up in a way where we are constantly told how to behave, speak, dress and carry ourselves. A strong opinionated woman often tends to surprise and shock others,” she stresses.
Actors, especially women, are the target of trolls and social media abuse. Shama too has faced ire. Commenting on the same, she says that social media is both good and bad, but it is one’s choice not to let the negativity affect them. “Staying positive and focussing on good things, is what I believe in,” she adds.
Shama, who is presently enjoying her webspace, never shied away from discussing her own battle with mental illness and urges people to talk about it and seek help. “There is nothing wrong in reaching out or confiding in someone about what you are going through. Discussing it will only help you feel better. Do not shy away from taking professional help. The taboo around mental illness often leads to adverse consequences. You shouldn’t be ashamed if you are undergoing depression, because that is when you realise you need love in your life. I urge you to lead a simple life and slow down and breathe,” she concludes.