tv & movies

Evelyn Sharma on cross-cultural marriage with Tushaan Bhindi: ‘I’m more Indian than he is’

Evelyn Sharma's podcast discusses relationships, sex, and everything else generates trouble in people's lives. The podcast is a co-produced by Indian Express and DW (Deutsche Welle).

Bollywood actor Evelyn Sharma turned a podcast host with The Indian Express’ latest podcast – Love Matters with Evelyn Sharma. The podcast discusses relationships, sex, and everything else that impacts people’s lives. The podcast is a co-produced by Indian Express and DW (Deutsche Welle).

Along with Evelyn as a host, the podcast also features celebrity guests like Benny Dayal and Sushant Divgikar, among others, who also offer advice to listeners. Audience can also send in their questions every week to get featured on the podcast and get some much-needed advice.

Speaking to Indian Express, Evelyn elaborated on the concept of the podcast. “It’s a big jump from what I’ve been doing earlier, but I think a lot of our lives have changed over the past two years. There are new ways to connect with the audience, and I feel I’ve been maturing with them. When DW approached me with this concept for a podcast about love and relationships in India, I felt this was exactly the phase I’m in, in my life. I’m getting married, I’m becoming a mom, and I have my dating life behind me. I have all my friends asking me how I met my husband and so I thought this is brilliant topic, for me to learn more and meet interesting people, connect with the audience, and entertain them as well.” She also expressed her admiration for podcasts as a new medium, and is sure that they will get ‘bigger and bigger in India’.

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She also elaborated on the comforts of being on a podcast, and it was like a different form of socialising, something the pandemic had changed. “I think the best part is, recording from your own living room, it’s a way of setting the comfortable environment. I felt it was a way of having people over to your own living room. Reminded me of sitting on my balcony and having a cup of chai with a friend, and the same with this podcast. Really interesting topics, that move people. It’s a way of socialising for me,” she said.

What is the difference between being on camera and on podcast? Evelyn Sharma explained, “Especially after doing acting courses in Mumbai, it’s all about expression — in Bollywood you have to play more with your eyebrows, it’s all about your facial expressions, it’s about how you emote through your eyes. In this podcast, it’s all about my voice. This isn’t a performance, this is just me being myself, like a telephone conversation. It’s a lot more real, and just Evelyn.”

Evelyn recalled that the sessions were emotional in nature, and she could connect with each and every one of her guests. “Love is something we’ve all experienced in some way or the other. There is some connect I have to the story, be it a previous relationship, or the current situation. I feel the story of the guest or the caller. Several times people have felt vulnerable on the show, we’ve had tears on the show too. There’s a craving for love, acceptance. We just want our loved ones, support system to be part of it. Our callers are in emotional turmoil, and I think there are so many intimate moments, emotionally touching moments in each episode.”

Regarding the challenges of taking on such a sensitive show, she said, “The challenges were to break down the walls and have a raw conversation, cross-cultural differences.”  However boundaries don’t matter, as she says that everyone has experienced love of some sort. “I’ve grown up in Germany, moved to India when I was 23, I had my fair share of dating experiences in Germany and India, but love is love, and we all experience the same kind of feeling.” Guests like comedian Kaneez Surka, and singer Benny Dayal have featured on the show, explaining their stories, thus making it more relatable to the audience.

Sana Rizvi, from DW emphasized that they wanted people who could connect with the audience, and to move away from the tag ‘celebrities. “Not just celebrities, people who are relatable, like Kaneez, who spoke about her divorce. They are celebrities in their own sense, and moving away from this idea of celebrity, we think Bollywood. That’s not what we are gunning for. ”

Evelyn also opened about her own relationship with Tushaan Bhindi, whom she married this year, ” My husband is, technically Gujarati, he’s from Sydney, Australia. I’m Punjabi German but I feel more Indian than him as I lived in India for 10 years. I’ve travelled so much that I’ve seen so many cultures. We have these mixed cultures in our marriage, and so we’re establishing our own rules.”

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Evelyn, who is an expecting mother, added that their marriage will be a mixed pot of cultures, and they really don’t know which to follow. “He’s Hindu, and I’m Christian, so we have inter-religious marriage too, that shows in festivals and food that we eat. We have met at a time in our lives when I was 32, and he was 36. We have a long history, accepting the other person with baggage and experience they come with. We’ve had ups and downs in life. When you get married, you get married to the other person’s family, because we are already so independent. We realised we had to learn another culture, I speak German, he speaks English, what language will our child grow up with? Is she going to learn German? There are so many questions. Every session was my therapy session too.”

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