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EXCLUSIVE! Shama Sikander: The story of bravery and compassion

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Shama Sikander has made her name in the entertainment industry with some amazing performances and people still remember her, years after she last appeared on the big screen. The actress made her comeback on the television screen through Baal Veer and to say that fans were excited would be an understatement. The actress who also is a social media influencer sat down with First India Filmy to talk about her struggle with bipolar and depression, the casting couch and Bollywood’s dark side.

Talking about her outspoken nature, Shama revealed, “I never pretend. The part of me that you see on the internet is the real me. I just have multi-assets and I know how to apply them effectively. People say that I have a powerful aura but I think that they are just afraid of my honesty.”

On whether that has affected her career in the superficial entertainment industry, the actress stated, “I used to pretend to fit in the industry before I faced depression. That gave me some of my biggest drawbacks. The moment I accepted myself, all my problems were solved.”

About her career’s struggling days, Shama mentioned, “I gave a lot of screen tests and auditions and even got selected. But then the makers removed me without any notice. I thought the industry requires you to be a good actor but it is all about your relations and connections. I have seen big filmmakers conduct a talent hunt to finally sign a star kid.”

She added, “Many people told me I cannot do this, I cannot do that, I have to sleep with someone to make it in the industry. But here I am today based on my talent, will and hard work.”

Talking about her debut film, Prem Agan, she said, “Feroz Khan met and liked me and told me to give him some time. At the same time, my Nani passed away so I had to rush back to Rajasthan for 40 days.” He offered her a second lead after she came back and she accepted after which she started getting more offers. But when the film flopped, everyone went back on their word.

Shama also opened up about being homeless for a while before she debuted as an actress. “Those days made us humble and compassionate,” the actress added.

 

As an advocate for mental health Shama has always been vocal about her bipolar disorder and depression. She feels that sharing her story is important as it helps to end the gap between mental health and societal taboos. She said, “When my traumas came out after I started psychiatric therapy, I realised that they weren’t huge incidents but small decisions and small events. And it is important to acknowledge them and give them validation. My therapy healed me quietly. Just as I am going through so much, many others would be too. That is why I started sharing my story.”

“There is no bigger joy than helping another human being,” Shama added.

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