Sanjeeda Sheikh: OTT platforms take telly actors seriously

Published: Nov 05, 2019, 07:39 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham |

Pointing out filmmakers' bias towards television artistes, Sanjeeda Sheikh says the advent of web shows has changed the game.

Sanjeeda Sheikh
Sanjeeda Sheikh

After reigning on television for more than a decade and doing blink-and-miss roles in films, Sanjeeda Sheikh is enjoying digital entertainment. After Vikram Bhatt's Gehraiyaan, Sheikh has a Netflix original film in her kitty. In a chat with mid-day, the actor talks about playing a mother on-screen and the prejudice against television actors and more.

Edited excerpts from the interview.

Tell us about your Netflix original film.

Netflix is making a film on female infanticide titled Kaali Khuhi [The Black Well]. I am playing mother to an eight-year-old, which is something I have never done in my career. The film is being directed by Terrie Samundra and stars Satyadeep Mishra. After working for more than a decade in television, I had been waiting for an opportunity like this.

Haven't you played a mother on television earlier?

In Ishq Ka Rang Safed, I essayed the role of a mother to a five-year-old for a short while. Initially, I used to be sceptical when people offered me the role of a parent in films. I was not as mature as an actor to take it up. At the start of my career, I was scared of being typecast. Things have changed now; I am more confident and know that I can pull off any role offered to me.

Has the influx of OTT platforms given television actors a new outlet?

I am glad that newer platforms are giving actors the opportunity to do something creatively satisfying, and are taking even television actors seriously. It only takes one filmmaker or production house to make that change. An actor should be cast if they can do justice to the role. There has been a positive change.

Do you think the lines have blurred between TV and film actors, as a result?

There was a phase when television actors were not considered seriously for movies, but things are changing. Earlier, I remember going for film auditions and clearing each round. But at the last minute, they [the makers] would drop me, saying, 'Nahin, yeh roz TV par dikhti hai'. This happened several times. When the Netflix film came my way, I was not keen on going for the audition fearing the same, but I am glad I decided otherwise.

Did the bias affect you?

Luckily, I never sat at home without work. I was always doing something or the other. Even if that wasn't the case, it wouldn't have affected me. I am a content person. Having said this, I strive to up my game and perform better. Considering I have been in the industry for so long and done almost everything, the desire to experiment with different content was always on my mind.

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