Sheena Shahabadi, daughter of yesteryear actress Sadhna, is making a rather unconventional beginning in Bollywood. In her debut flick 'Tere Sang', she plays a teenaged girl whose boyfriend makes her pregnant.
The film comes with a message around teen pregnancy and has sex education as one of its major promotional pegs. Ruslaan Mumtaz plays the male lead.
'Seriously, for how long can one shut eyes to sex education? It sounds so strange that in today's age and times, there are teenagers who don't think about safe sex at all. Education around this should be a definite must for all or they get misguided by random information available to them,' 19-year-old Sheena told IANS.
Directed by Satish Kaushik, 'Tere Sang' tells the story of 15-year-old Maahi (Sheena) and 17-year-old Kukko (Ruslaan) who are school mates. In one of their outdoor rendezvous with a bunch of friends, they decide to 'experiment' and end up making love to each other. When Maahi gets pregnant, she decides to give birth to the child and she gets complete support from Kukko.
'I'm very happy that I got to play Maahi in my very first film,' says Sheena, who is the daughter of Sadhna Singh, of 'Nadiya Ke Paar' fame. 'It is completely different from the routine running around the trees jig since it conveys a serious message without compromising on the entertainment quotient.'
Since this 'kidult love story' - as the film's publicity material exclaims - has quite an uncommon theme, did Sheena have any reference points while working on the film?
'I didn't base my character on anyone in particular but, yes, I know for sure that teen pregnancy is quite common today. I have seen at least a couple of girls of my age going for abortion. They went through a painful experience not just physically but mentally too.'
She is neither against teenage romance nor a physical relationship. But Sheena does insist on using protection.
'Use protection, otherwise you are gone. You may get carried away by a particular moment, but the least you could do to help yourself is be prepared.'
For her, there is also 'emotional protection' that plays a major role in teenagers being sensible in their affairs.
'Parents should be more attached to their children and give them warmth so that they don't have to step out and end up doing something that is not suitable for their age. Luxury and riches aren't important enough; love and affection play major roles too,' she said.
'If teenagers and parents are open about each other's feelings then there are less chances of them making mistakes. God forbid, even if that happens then a good relationship would ensure that you are brave enough to face the situation rather than turn suicidal.'
Made under the banner of Karol Bagh Film and Entertainment, which is owned by Anupam Kher, Satish Kaushik and Manoj Mittal, 'Tere Sang' is produced by Bharat Shah.
Releasing Aug 7, it also stars Satish Kaushik himself along with Sushmita Mukherjee, Rajat Kapoor, Neena Gupta and Anupam Kher in a special appearance.