I will never go bold on-screen: Sanjeeda Sheikh

I will never go bold on-screen: Sanjeeda Sheikh

Sanjeeda Sheikh, known for her stellar performances in ‘Kyaa Hoga Nimmo Kaa’ and ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ is back with a bang in digital premium show ‘Gehraiyaan’ on video on demand service Viu.

Sanjeeda bears her heart out on what it takes to work with ace director Vikram Bhatt in India’s first digital horror show ‘Gehraiyaan’

Sanjeeda Sheikh, known for her stellar performances in ‘Kyaa Hoga Nimmo Kaa’ and ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ is back with a bang in digital premium show ‘Gehraiyaan’ on video on demand service Viu.

In the recently released episodes, the ‘Nach Baliye 3’ winner is seen essaying a character that comes face to face with the paranormal. What’s interesting to watch is whether she succumbs to the forces of the dark or emerges invincible.

Tell us something about the show and your role in it?
‘Gehraiyaan’ is the story of Reyna, a surgeon who is faced with mysterious and dark occurrences that leaves her hysterical. The 10-episodes show revolves around her tryst with the supernatural, giving audiences a blood-curdling experience that will result in shivers down their spines.

What prompted you to take this role?
When I was offered the role of Reyna, I felt great resonance with the character I was supposed to play. She has the overpowering strength of character and this refusal to fall in line with what others expect of her. Reyna is frail yet strong, almost a picture of courage and quiet beauty in desolation. She has a completely independent point of view and holds her ground even when challenged by people close to her. Her self-belief and never-say-die attitude is so Sanjeeda Sheikh.

Did you choose the route of method acting for this role?
Taking up the role of Reyna was as challenging as it was exciting. As actors, unless we live and breathe the characters, we can’t make them come alive. Reyna was a very difficult character but Vikram Sir was extremely supportive. When you work with a veteran of the horror genre, the amount of learning is beyond measure. Sidhant Sachdev, our director, too had a lot of inputs and had a very big role in helping me understand the character, her body language and her temperament.

How did it feel to work with Vatsal again in the show?
It’s always awesome working with Vatsal because we have worked together earlier and are great friends. The comfort factor has a huge role to play here. What also helps is that in a career as stressful as ours, when you have a co-star as full of life as Vatsal, you know there is never a dull day on set. Vatsal has a litany of pranks that he comes up with just to put a smile on everyone’s face, often to the misfortune of whoever it is that falls prey. Even as we shot for a horror show, the entire shooting environment was extremely pleasant.

Do you believe in supernatural activities?
Faith is something extremely subjective. More often than not, when one says supernatural, somehow the common perception gets restricted to evil forces trying to get the best of you. One must look at the good with the bad, the petals with the thorns, so for me, often there are unexplainable things which work for us in a positive manner. Would I term them as supernatural? I don’t know.

This is your debut in the digital world. How do you think it is different from TV?
In terms of acting, content, script, approach, there is no difference. We go out there, and once the camera is rolling, I stop being Sanjeeda and become Reyna, Durga or Dhani. Good content will always be loved by audiences and the response we have got for Gehraiyaan is proof of that. You should really get a look at some of the fan mail!!!

In terms of reach however, the difference between the two is phenomenal. Where earlier every house had one television set, today every member of the family has one smart phone. Where earlier the entire family could watch my shows on prime time, today everyone can watch my shows anytime they want, anywhere they want, courtesy the magic of the internet! The fact that I can reach out to that many more people at any point of time is really exciting!!!

Do you count yourself lucky to be working with ace director like Vikram Bhatt?
Working with a veteran is always a terrific experience. Vikram Sir is very open to questions, and what makes working with him a different experience from working with several others is that while he may be a harsh critic but his only goal is perfection in everything. This zealousness for perfection means he is willing to discuss anything and everything on a character, as long as it benefits the performance of an actor.

Were you apprehensive about doing a horror series?
I like doing great work. Period. The greater the challenge, the more I revel in it. Like I mentioned, when I read the script and visualized the character, I see myself playing that role. That’s all that mattered. The fact that in that moment, I could see myself enacting Reyna was what was the clincher. Apart from that, horror is a very different genre and that too was challenging. In addition to that the challenge of being the first horror show on the digital platform, and I knew I had to do it. It’s new, it’s different and somehow, I knew that I had to do it.

Would you go bold for a web show?
As an actor, there are some limitations and morals and a thin line which I will never cross, so no I will not go bold.

What are your plans after ‘Gehraiyaan’?
There’s a lot in pipeline. I am sure you will know about it soon.


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