Shama Sikander is an actress who has had a long stint in television and films as well. She is best remembered for her role in the serial, Ye Meri Life Hai, and the Aamir Khan starrer Mann. She is a model too. Having braved a bout of depression, Shama is busy with Bypass Road, a new film starring Neil Nitin Mukesh. Shama speaks exclusively to Raviraj Sinha
How has been your journey so far?
My journey has been quite interesting, very entertaining and full of a lot of ups and downs. More lows than highs for quite some time and then it just changed completely when I went through a depression and bipolar disorder. All those experiences changed my life completely. It removed all the fear from me, gave me more courage, made me more honest, compassionate, appreciative and loving towards life. That just changed me. It made me more intense and real as an actor.
What is your opinion about the quality of TV serials and Hindi soap operas?
I don’t watch much of TV. So, I don’t know much about what’s on. But when I used to watch TV, I felt programming needed big improvement. I am sure it is happening now. And if it is not, then the web is filling that gap. We needed some real cinema. Thankfully, people are loving it.
What do you want to achieve?
I want to achieve everything. I don’t think anything is unachievable. You can get whatever you want, and I want everything from the world.
What projects are you now working on?
I am currently doing a film called Bypass Road which will release on November 1. I am also doing another film called Tipsy which will start this year. There are a couple of web shows in the pipeline, but I haven’t really finalised on any particular one but you will hear about it soon. They are some very interesting shows.
Tell us a little about your movie Tipsy and Bypass Road?
I really can’t say much about both since we will have a proper session whenever the time comes. Both are very different from one another. My roles are completely different and I am really excited to be a part of both the films
Who inspired you to take up acting as a career?
I used to love watching Sridevi on screen. I loved watching Mumtaz. I never thought that I could be an actor. People around me perhaps would have thought but I never thought that I could be an actor. I could do all of that because people don’t have big dreams in the town where I come from. It’s a small town where people live very normal middle-class life and there is not much available there. My father brought us all to Mumbai and he told me that I could be an actress. I thought he was kidding at first. I told him that I was not beautiful and ‘just look at these girls, they are so pretty’.
Then he responded by asking why I thought I wasn’t pretty. He told me never to say that to myself and that I could do anything I wanted. So yeah, here I am today doing something that nobody has been able to do in my hometown and I feel proud and grateful to people who helped me and helped me reach where I am today.
If not an actor, what will you be?
If you had asked this earlier, I would say I knew only acting but now I have discovered in me a lot of other talents which I can pursue as a career. For example, I can be an interior designer or a director or a producer, a creative head. Anything related to the field of art, I can definitely do a very good job. I have a very creative mind, great sense of colour and aesthetics. I am pretty good at interiors. I have done a couple of homes of my own and my friends. So yeah, I think I can be pretty good at that. I can be a social worker too.
When did you decide to become an actor?
My father chose this field for me. After going through depression, there was a time when I had the choice to do what I really wanted to do. That was the time when I gave a deep thought about how much I loved acting and how much I missed it because I did stop acting for years. I missed being an actor. I felt deep in my heart that I wanted to become an actor because it came so naturally to me. It’s just a part of me and I don’t feel that I am stressing myself when I am acting. When I am performing, I am just being totally in it. It’s like meditation for me and when you listen to people cheering for you, clapping for you, when you can transport them to a different world through your performance, there is no other high that can rival that