Saba Azad on how the series, Who’s Your Gynac, is a step towards normalising dialogue around reproductive health
Such topics need to be normalised,” states Saba Azad during our interview, highlighting how our society shies away from sex education and discussions on reproductive health. Now, the actor is bringing the subject right to our laptop screens with Who’s Your Gynac? In the Amazon miniTV series by TVF, she plays a gynaecologist who is scouting for patients for her new clinic. In a chat with mid-day, the actor discusses how the show explores an urgent theme, and why she has been away from mainstream cinema.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
When was the first time you visited a gynaecologist? Were you awkward during the visit?
I was 19 or 20 when I first felt the need to visit a gynaecologist. I was awkward at first because it is not comfortable taking your pants off in front of the doctor. Almost 30 seconds into it, it was so technical that it didn’t feel much.
A still from Who’s Your Gynac?
What were your initial thoughts when you got the show?
I didn’t have any inhibitions. This is a long time coming. People should talk about sex, reproductive health and have sex education. At the rate that we procreate, we must definitely be talking about these topics.
In the series, it is shown that the menstruation is covered in sex education in schools, but the topic of intercourse is ignored. Your thoughts?
I don’t think sex education has been made compulsory throughout the country. It needs to be because it is ultimately about health and making adults aware about their bodies. No one talks about reproduction, and people are walking into life with half-baked information. Kids have a lot of questions about their bodies, they must be addressed. Open dialogue with parents or in school would be the best practice.
When did you have this conversation?
It was during sex education in school. My parents never had this conversation with me. Conversation on sex should be normalised.
Why do you think people are wary of going to a gynaec?
In our culture, we have attached shame to anything regarding reproduction, which is weird because we procreate the most. There is a sense of shame attached to sexuality and sex, and it has been passed on from generation to generation. So, kids find it awkward to talk to their parents about it and vice versa.
Your Rocket Boys co-star Jim Sarbh has bagged an Emmy nomination. Did you congratulate him?
I am yet to call him. This is a fantastic development. We were all secretly manifesting it.
What do awards mean to you?
Awards mean something because it’s celebrating someone’s hard work. That said, it also depends on the body that is giving out the awards. There are a lot of award functions, which are held for the purpose of making money, and they do little to facilitate talent or go through a voting process. But something as prestigious as the Emmys is wonderful and respectful.
You haven’t done too many films. Why?
I forayed into films with Dil Kabaddi  and Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge . After that, I was being offered only college [capers] and rom-coms. I am a child of theatre and wanted something substantial. I was bored of the [offers] coming my way. Thankfully, I am a musician-singer and a theatre actor. My hands were in several pies, so I didn’t feel the lack [of work]. I pulled back from mainstream [cinema]. But as soon as the lockdown happened, a lot of people came in the eye-line of casting directors. Now, I am finally getting meaty roles where I can sink my teeth.
Does cinema satisfy you as much as theatre does?
I am in a transitional phase. I have always been a live performer. However, over the last five years, I have begun to enjoy being in front of the camera as much as I do on stage.