Sadiya Siddiqui on her award-winning portrayal of a progressive teacher in Balika Vadhu. Gautam Hegde tells us more...
Did you think you had any competition in the Best Supporting Actress at the ITA Awards?
Of course.. my friends Smita Bansal and Bhairavi Raichura were nominated in the same category. In fact, it was they who told me about the nominations. At the end of the day, Balika Vadhu won an award.. and that’s all that matters.
Anyone you forgot to thank on stage?
(Laughs) Yes, my friends and Lata Sreedhar who took care of us when we shot in Rajasthan.
Is it true that your character is based on someone in real life?
The writer Purnendu Shekhar is from Rajasthan.. he probably knew a school teacher like the one I play. But I’m not sure.
Are you returning in Saat Phere?
Gayatri’s track came up because she was a child widow. It ended when she remarried. It didn’t make sense to get her back. Why pay me for no reason? But I might return to Balika Vadhu.
Your first show Humraahi dealt with a similar subject, right?
Yes. I played a child bride who died giving birth. Now, I play a school teacher who is against the child marriage system. It’s sad that 15 years after Humraahi, we’re still facing the same problem.
In these years, which have been the high points of your career?
Humraahi for sure. I was a school kid when I was invited to the EMMYs to be felicitated. It was such a high being amidst the stars of The Bold and The Beautiful and Santa Barbara. I remember being driven in a limousine — it was such a big car! Other high points would be my roles in Banegi Apni Baat.. and Raghu Romeo. And of course Saat Phere and Balika Vadhu.
You haven’t done any maa roles yet.
(Smiles) And it has taken a lot to say no.
Recently, TV soaps with child protagonists have been sent notices.. what’s your take?
Childhood is really an important time.. it’s when you play, imagine and figure out what you’re good at. I was in school
during Humraahi too.. but it was a half-hour weekly, so it was easy shooting for it. I think child artistes need to get enough time off to play.. and shouldn’t be deprived of their innocence.
Have you ever been offered an absurd role?
Right after Raghu Romeo, I went for a film narration. I asked which character I would be playing. I was told that I’d be with Johnny Lever. I was like WHAT? I can understand being a comedienne but they just wanted me to stand in the frame like a prop! I was so appalled that I asked them for my pictures back and went home.
How do you react when you watch Uff Yeh Mohabbat today?
I scream! (Laughs) I’ve definitely improved after that.
Any co-star who still makes you nervous?
Umm, if I were to do a scene with Shah Rukh Khan again.. I played his sister in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.. I’d get the jitters all over again.