Shashwat Gupta Ray
It is not easy to play the role of a minor girl, who is a victim of rape, oppression and a broken legal system, that in your debut performance. But actress Pooja Pandey managed to do it convincingly for her title role as Siya, but it did take a huge toll on her mentally. “It was a very draining character for me personally because I didn’t get out of the character for three months after the shooting for the film was wrapped up. It was very emotionally draining. I used to get panic attacks while performing the character of Siya. I used to tell my Director that my body was shivering and wasn’t able to sleep at night till three months,” Pandey said. She credited her creative producer Rashmi Somvanshi for helping her a lot during that period. Siya is a drama inspired by a real-life incident where a young girl from a rural village of North India, decides to fight for justice after being raped by the powerful incumbent MLA, thereby starting a movement against the vicious patriarchal system. The film is being screened under Indian Panorama, Feature Film section at the ongoing 53rd IFFI. Pandey also exhorted women to stand-up against exploitation. “Women should stand up for herself and speak up against oppression and exploitation. If we don’t speak up, the situation will never change,” she said.
But she accepted that it is very difficult for a family of the victim to fight against an entire system, especially when the victim is a minor. “The odds are stacked up against the victim as she is fighting against the system. It leaves a deep scar on the mind for life. Yet, I believe that a woman must fight for justice. Silence will encourage the oppressor to harm more women,” she said.