As a model turned Bollywood star, Tina Desai has built a huge fan base. But her current role on Netflix’s “Sense8”
— with its sensual scenes, challenging love predicament, and complicated science-fiction plot
— had the Indian actress worried if her fans would take the ride with her.
“It was something that took me time to adjust to, as well. I think I’m still adjusting,” Desai recently told Business Insider when asked about how her fans reacted to the Netflix show’s racier elements and positive outlook on LGBTQ lifestyles. “It’s hugely different from what I grew up with and what I’ve grown up exposed to.”
Cocreated by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski (“The Matrix”) and J. Michael Straczynski (“Thor”), “Sense8” returns for its second season on Friday. Desai plays Kala, one of a small cluster of individuals from all over the world who share a mental connection that allows them to tap into one another’s thoughts and skills, and basically experience life together as well as survive being hunted down by a mysterious organisation.
Beyond the sex scenes on the show, Desai wondered if her Indian fans would watch a show that’s so entrenched in the sci-fi genre.
“I did not expect people to watch it in India,” she said, “simply because it’s the kind of genre that I thought people would not like because we like fantastical cinema in India, we like escapist cinema. And so while this show is fantastical, it just seems too out there.
“I feel very proud,” Desai continued. “I think each time I step out of the house, there’s at least one person who comes up to me and talks to me about the show. And I actually sometimes go on to question them about it, because I wonder if they just say that to me or if they really mean it.”
As “out there” as “Sense8” may be, Desai believes that Kala’s conflict between her choice to marry Rajan (Purab Kohli), who seems perfect for her, and her ongoing love affair with fellow cluster member Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) is something her fans can relate to.
“I think it’s a very common phenomenon,” she said. “A lot of people just go the arranged-marriage way because a lot of our family, our parents have married that way and they’re happy, so why not we do the same thing? It’s surprising that it’s still in existence. But I will say that an equal number of marriages by choice also happen — and that’s exactly what Kala’s dilemma is.”
As nothing is simple in “Sense8,” Kala’s marriage isn’t arranged, but it is one that looked good on paper and she went ahead with it. But Wolfgang certainly makes Kala wonder if she should have held out for love.
“I think it would have even been much easier if she didn’t have that problem in her mind,” Desai said.
Originally, Desai said the show did have Kala falling in love with her fiance, in addition to him being a good match for her. But Desai said they scrapped the love part in the end. After all, what would be the fun in that? Fans of the couple can expect the situation for Kala and Wolfgang to get very complicated on the second season — and Rajan shouldn’t be counted out quite yet.
“There’s more trouble this time,” Desai said, laughing. “I’m actually rooting for the other guy. I was quite surprised if I might say. And I’m actually quite taken in by the impact, so I’m hoping that the friction continues because my God is it impactful.”
Watch a trailer for the second season of “Sense8” below:
NOW WATCH: The trailer for the Wachowskis’ mind-bending new Netflix series ‘Sense8’ has a lot of ‘Matrix’ in it
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