'Everybody had told me that I was the next big thing in Bollywood because my face and body structure was like a superstar.'
'But when it didn't happened, I learned a lot of important things in life.'
Yeh Meri Life Hai actress Shama Sikander returned to the spotlight in 2016 with her shocking makeover.
And while she's popular on the social media, it took her three years to sign a film.
Shama will be seen in Bypass Road, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh. It is directed by his brother, Naman.
The actress claims she took a long break from showbiz as she was undergoing depression.
It's all in the past now, as Shama tells Rediff.com Contributor Divya Solgama, "I have to focus on films now, and I'm ready for it. When you ready with something, things happen automatically."
2008's Dhoom Dhadakka was your last movie release, more than a decade ago. Why such a long break?
Things take time to materialise.
A lot of projects came on my way but things did not synergize.
Finally, here I am with Bypass Road.
I have to focus on films now, and I'm ready for it.
When you ready with something, things happen automatically.
What made you say yes Bypass Road?
Neil and Naman were keen and adamant to work with me.
Neil thought nobody could play this role except me.
That gave me confidence to be a part of this multi-starrer.
I understand everybody in the film has their own screen space. There is hero-heroine in it. It's a character-based film.
Projects are now being made based on performances and good writing.
So I have a lot of scope to do things as an actor.
You appeared in the Aamir Khan-starrer Mann, and then decided to do television. Was there any specific reason behind that? Were any films offered to you after that?
There were a lot of reasons for not continuing films.
Sometimes I don't like the people who are offering me films.
But I think your journey matters the most.
Everybody is not supposed to do films all the time.
I see myself as a person who is here to explore and experience all aspects of life.
I don't like to be bound by limits.
Not doing a film is not a bad thing because I was doing something I was in love with.
I was doing the biggest television shows.
So it's my journey and comparing it with other people doesn't make sense.
People generally start with modelling or theatre first and then do films. But I did films first and then television, theatre and modelling.
There never has been a pattern in my life but this is my journey, and that's what matters to me.
Which film offers do you regret not taking up?
Gadar: Ek Prem Katha was offered to me, and I regret not taking it up till date.
At that time, everybody had told me that I was the next big thing in Bollywood because my face and body structure was like a superstar.
But when it didn't happened, I learned a lot of important things in life.
That personal growth also made me a better actor.
What was your state of mind?
People had their own ideas about life, how an actor should be, how one should behave in the industry.
I started my career at a very young age and everybody started teaching me.
They put a lot of their fear inside me unintentionally.
I became a very fearful person.
I took a break because I started going through depression.
But thanks to that, I have broken all the shackles and became a fearless lioness.
Financial independence is very important. How did you manage that?
I have always invested in real estate.
So luckily, my financial independence was sorted. That's why I could take a break.
I had worked really hard before, and that helped me financially.
Financial independence is the most important thing in a woman's life, who wants to live on her own terms.
I had a lot of baggage ever since my childhood and so wanted to take a break.
You got yourself a makeover.
I don't like to get bound by limits.
For instance, an actress's career has a particular time span -- if you are so-and-so age only then you can do so-and-so role.
Nobody sees you for who you are and who you can be.
But for that, first, you have see yourself in that way and have that belief in yourself.
Did you feel bad when people judged your makeover?
It's funny that people think I had done plastic surgery.
It's actually a long process and needs hard work to get a makeover.
I work out everyday and eat the right things.
I have changed my food habits, worked on my vitamins...
What you eat is what you become and that's a fact.
Was there a constant pressure on you?
Surprisingly, I never had any stress about my looks.
It was never about me looking old because everybody had told me that I would never grow old.
Not being able to do certain work physically was probably my fear.
I am a very independent person and like to do things on my own.
I like to be fit.
If I get injured, that scares me.
So it was never about my looks -- I have always been a beautiful person.
As a human being, there's always a fear of failure.
But I have learnt one thing in life -- if you love what you're doing, forget about failures or success.
I enjoy acting and want to act in future as well because I love acting.
How did you get out of your depression?
Self-love and self-appreciation helps you.
You have to love yourself, no matter who says what about you.
I was always been praised for my work, looks and behaviour. In fact, it was overwhelming at that time.
But it's you who forgets to love yourself, and that's what depression does to you.
It actually removes love from you.
When it does that, we are nothing from inside.
When you are in depression, you become a numb vegetable, who just wakes up and sleeps.
Many times you can't even sleep because you are over-thinking and crying for hours.
No one's love can cure you; your love is the most important thing.