'Now, they want to quickly wrap up a particular story and move on to the next.'
A successful actress on Indian television, Sana Amin Sheikh is now extending her talent to the OTT space with SonyLIV&s biographical thriller, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story.
The series sees her in the role of Abdul Karim Telgi's wife Nafisa.
"I don't know what the reaction of the audience will be when they finish the 10th episode of Scam 2003: The Telgi Story, but I can tell you that they will feel the vulnerability, the emotions and feelings, ranging from anger to love to fear towards Abdul Karim Telgi and, of course, his wife and family," Sana tells Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh.
Tell us about your character in Scam 2003: The Telgi Story.
I play Nafisa, Abdul Kareem Telgi's wife.
It's all about the scam that Telgi did -- one of the biggest scams in the history -- and how the whole world came to know about it.
The show is also about what the family went through, what his wife went through, and her journey.
She loved him so much, she supported him throughout.
Abdul Kareem Telgi had a vulnerable soft side too, and you will see that through Nafisa.
This marks your debut in the streaming space. What propelled you to take up this character?
My excitement was on another level when I got it; it couldn’t get any better than this!
Working with Hansal Mehta sir... I have been a fan of his work.
Tushar Hiranandani is our director. Whenever we shot with Tushar and Hansal Mehta, it was an amazing experience.
So now that you are exploring the OTT space, will television take a backseat for you?
Not at all. I don’t differentiate in mediums.
Yes, OTT is a new platform with a new audience and I will be exposed to more film-makers and web-shows makers.
They don't know who is Sana Amin Sheikh is or what TV shows she has done.
Not everybody knows about my work.
Here, it's going to be a different game.
My main goal is it expand my reach to a newer set of audience and newer makers.
Do you agree that the growth of the streaming market during the pandemic was a blow to TV viewership. Nowadays, some daily soaps are shutting down in just two-three months?
I don't think the pandemic is the reason.
During the pandemic, OTT and the television benefited in a large way.
The re-run of the Ramayan created history in the pandemic.
Television was the only thing families were watching together.
OTT is something that you watch individually, according to your likes.
The shutting down of television shows is not because of the dawn of OTT, but yes, people are more getting accustomed to shorter content.
Gone are those days where people wanted to see one particular TV serial for seven years because now, they want to quickly wrap up a particular story and move on to the next.
Does it have anything to do with television content being regressive?
I am not sure because the TV shows that I have done have never been regressive.
Whether it was Krishnadasi or Gustakh Dil or Bhootu or Pratigya, my characters have always been progressive.
My character has never stooped down to wiping somebody's feet and drinking that water.
I have never been offered such characters.
I have mostly been a part of love stories and the girl progressing in her own way, career wise.
It&'s not that people are not going back to television because it's regressive. I think love stories are still doing well on television.
Television fashion works so well. You go to any local market; they will sell salwar suits and churidars naming the characters.
I think the craze is still there.
Many TV actors, who tried to switch to films or the Web, have admitted to having faced discrimination by casting directors or the makers who told them they cannot be cast because their face has been exposed too much on TV.
Have you been in a similar situation?
No. I cannot relate to what these actors have said.
These actors are really big faces on television and if they are saying so, they must have faced that.
I have done a lot of TV shows, played a lot of characters, but since I have been jumping from one character to another quickly, I have never been stereotyped.
I have never been a very famous face on television.
Your great grandfather Ashraf Khan was also an actor and you are the first after him to join the industry. Why didn't anyone else from your family pursue acting?
My grandfather was a ghazal singer, he was an A-grade All India Radio singer.
He used to do live shows.
My maternal uncle also sings, and does private shows.
I have no idea why nobody pursued acting, but I was interested in acting since childhood.
Did you face any resistance from your family?
Yes, since the time I was a child actor.
Relatives would tell my parents that, you know, she is a girl, don’t put her in the film industry.
So yes, I have faced these regressive thoughts.
But after one point, I have always taken my own decision and stood my ground.
I think that is one similarity between Nafisa's character and mine.
Why should audience binge-watch Scam 2003: The Telgi Story?
The main highlight is Hansal Mehta.
Secondly, the brand Scam and Hansal Mehta's way of storytelling.
It's not easy to pull off a story like this.
It has a lot of emotional factors attached; we did not expect to cry at the end.
I don't know what the reaction of the audience will be when they finish the 10th episode of Scam 2003: The Telgi Story, but I can tell you that they will feel the vulnerability, the emotions and feelings, ranging from anger to love to fear towards Abdul Karim Telgi and, of course, his wife and family.