Candid chat with Sai Deodhar

I am hopeful that viewers will love The Sholay Girl: Sai Deodhar

Talented artist Sai Deodhar is one multi-faceted personality. First she impressed one and all with her acting prowess in various shows such as Saara Akaash and Kasautii Zindagii Kay. Post a break, the digital revolution enabled her to try out direction and production as well.

Readers will remember that Sai had recently made a short film, DATE. Now her maiden production venture, a 90-minute web film on India’s first female stunt artist (Reshma Pathan), will go live on Zee5, on International Women’s Day (8th March).

“The Sholay Girl will take you back to the Mumbai film industry of the sixties and seventies, when there was no other stunt woman. Most men would adorn wigs to pull off female actor doubles. The so-called #MeToo phenomenon existed even then, and we show how Reshma fought off sexual advances. It is our tribute to womanhood. I am hopeful that viewers will love ‘The Sholay Girl’ and will also recommend it to their friends,” she adds.

Your story is not the staple web stuff, which is normally filled with sex and abuse? “Well, it was not needed as per script and we don’t believe in adding anything just to titillate the audiences. Also, web content needs to be broad-based, so that, besides catering to individualistic tastes, it should also be massy enough for family viewing.”

When asked about budgets, Sai says, “It differs on case to case basis. You can’t always spend less money. Some stories require a certain amount of visual brilliance, which obviously merit a higher payout. The biggest challenge in my case was to create the appropriate design given the period nature of the narrative and amount of action involved.” Her mother and husband, Shakti Anand, are partners in the firm.

Looking ahead, Sai would also consider making a GEC show, “As that is where the real moolah lies. Here I would like to make a difference by trying to craft shows that don’t have women over 30 as just mothers. As an actor, I have been at such a receiving end. I was given roles which at first had meat but were later reduced to being just props”

Did she mean Udaan?

Sai seems to have great connect with Zee5, which might air her above short film. “I have got positive feedback for handling of a sensitive subject (women returning back to work after years of marriage). We have won 73 awards so far. I certainly want to direct more.”

On the acting front, she is awaiting the release of her Marathi film. “It has a great subject. This Western Indian regional cinema is going through a content renaissance. We are back to grade after a bad patch in the nineties and early 2000s,” she ends.

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