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The Supernatural Investigator

Emdad Rahman discusses paranormal

adventures with Shama Rahman

Bishaash, a new supernatural drama by the BBC has hit UK television screens. The drama set in Bangladesh and the UK is billed as South Asia’s first ever supernatural detective series. The story follows the journey of Zara (played by Shama), a young British-Bangladeshi woman who packs up her life in London and travels to Bangladesh after discovering she is the co-owner of an antique shop in Dhaka. Here she encounters supernatural investigator Abir and is thrown into his world of mystery, magic and adventure.
From treasure hunts in old Dhaka, to battles with aliens and zombies and passion on London’s Southbank, the 24 part series is packed with gripping storylines, special effects and romance.
Shama Sarwat Rahman plays Zara Rahman (no relation) a supernatural investigator who is much like a normal detective except that she has to deal with events that defy the normal boundaries of reality. Zara runs a detective agency that actually masquerades as an Antique Shop to the casual observer.
The beings she comes up against are “not exactly human”.
Zara is an outspoken, independent and intrepid adventurer who tremendously values “family.”
“Zara leaves London due to instructions contained in her Grandfather’s will,” say’s Shama.
“Zara was very close to her Grandmother, especially as her parents died when she was a very young age.”
No matter how close though, Zara’s deceased Grandfather left the secret of his Grand Daughter’s newly inherited stake in the Antique shop with his co-owner, the Grandfather of the mysterious Abir.
“Taking the chance that Zara’s innate curiosity and sense of adventure will take her to Dhaka, Zara’s Grandfather’s gamble results in positive change, Abir, Chacha, Laboni and Dadi instantly becoming the family Zara always craved.”
“Have you ever experienced paranormal or supernatural activity?,” I ask Shama.
“I am a spiritual person,” she responds, “and as such certain events have happened in my life which I don’t believe are purely co-incidental.
So Zara is a female Time Lord? “In a manner of speaking, Zara has an academic investigative background having studied Archaeology. I would also venture to say there is a little Indiana Jones in her too as she gets into the thick end of situations, fights her corner, and seeks out buried treasure!
I’m interested in finding out more about Abir – “Abir is the other co-owner of the Antique Shop in Dhaka which was also left him by his Grandfather, who he was closer to than any other member of his family members.
“As such Abir always looks up to his Grandfather, tries to imitate him, and every action he does is preceded by “what would Dada do?”
Abir is very quickly dispelled of the idea that he can “teach” Zara anything (much to his annoyance!) and is often surprised by her initiative until they reach a point of depending on each other and becoming a team. Viewers will enjoy watching the characters face out-of-body experiences, near-death experience and paranormal sightings.
Shama is a musician (sitar, vocals, piano, percussion). “I compose and write my own songs, and am currently in the process of recording my first solo album which I’ll be premiering at London Southbank as part of Alchemy on Easter Monday (25th April).”
The actress is also in the middle of a PhD at Imperial College, London.
I point out that a lot of people have strong beliefs regarding the supernatural and ask about the response.
“I think the response in Bangladesh has been great in so far as the official viewing figures are into the millions. I have also enjoyed personal conversations with viewers when I have been out and about in Dhaka and in more rural areas.

“I’ve had a lot of people recognising me despite at various points having a fringe, beanie hat, glasses! I feel blessed that they specifically mention connecting with Zara so I feel some relief at having done her character justice, as it was difficult to know how to pitch it to a Bangladeshi audience.”
Shama possesses a superb combination of the acting, bilingual skills, energy and athleticism that the role requires. She is pleased to have been able to bring the search for identity, feistiness to the audition!”
Shama believes in the Supernatural, but remained tightlipped about whether Zara would settle in Bangladesh. She smiles – “You’ll have to wait and see.”

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