'The audience is a lot more accepting now': Shamita Shetty as she gears up for a digital release with 'Black Widows'

After successful gigs with films and reality television, actor Shamita Shetty is now treading unknown waters with slightly grey character in the Zee5 web series, Black Widows. In candid chat with FPJ, she shares how women can take power back in their relationships, provided they set their minds to it!

From your debut as a Yash Raj heroine to acting in OTT shows, how do you see the evolution?

The audience has changed immensely. I think the audience is a lot more accepting now and wants to see more real stuff. The larger-than-life storyline doesn’t work anymore. A lot of Bollywood mainstream actors are also doing good work on OTT. Talent takes precedence here, and you have some very new faces coming up here and doing great work! They are so talented that it makes you wonder where they have been for so long. It gives an opportunity to good actors who probably didn’t get the kind of respect and recognition that they deserved.

How did you land the role of Kavita, the character you play in Black Widows?

I was offered this role during the pandemic and I was really happy to start work. I absolutely loved the script when I read it, and I was also very excited to work with the bunch of actors there. I think they are all very talented. About my character, I was a little unsure initially, as she is someone I couldn’t really relate to at all. But as the story progressed, I sort of related to her a little more, liked her, and finally ended up feeling bad for her. It all happened so fast, you know. We shot this whole web series start-to-finish in two and a half months straight.

A still from Black Widows
A still from Black Widows

What is your take on her?

Kavita is louder than the other women, and she is also reckless and impulsive at the same time. We (the director, Birsa Dasgupta and I) had discussions at length about Kavita and we madeup a little background story behind her to help me understand where she came from and what made her the person she became.

There are a lot of women out there who are in abusive marriages and stay on for different reasons. Sometimes they are not really able to decide what is right for them. To all those women I want to say you should start reaching out and talking about it. Talking will steer you to take the right decision. That is the only thing that will give you strength.

Do you think ‘women-centric content’ is finally becoming mainstream?

In a way it is, especially in terms of what we are making right now. And, that is because women in general have now reached a stage where they are not going to tolerate abuse anymore. Women now choose themselves over everything else, something we should have started doing a long time back. Women now know how to take charge of their lives, and take the power back in their relationships. They also eventually end up doing what is right for them.

What other projects are you working on?

I’ve done a film called The Tenant, and I don’t know when it will release because everything has got delayed due to the lockdown. I wait to and see the what kind of response Black Widows receives, before signing my next.

Talking about lockdown how has it impacted your personal life?

Life changed for all of us in this period. I never imagined that I would have to live through a pandemic in my lifetime. It was always like, these things happen to other people. It made me look at life very differently. All of us understood what was important and what was not. We sometimes give importance to the smallest and irrelevant things. I focussed on myself and spent a lot of time with my family. My sister also had a little baby girl and I got to spend a lot of time with my niece. I learnt how to cook because apparently there was no other option, but to learn. I also did a lot of exercise and meditation to keep myself positive and going!

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