Ten years ago, singer and performer Shraddha Sharma was the only Indian social-media celebrity whom people knew. But over the years, social media emerged as a platform that provided overnight fame to many talented people. When everyone was showing their talent, how could people from the LGBTQ community stay behind?
Unfortunately, the audience has had a tough time. We have witnessed people like Nouman Khan (the self-proclaimed legend from Pakistan), Makhdoom Junaid (another self-proclaimed ‘pornstar’) – and how can we forget – our very own Deepak Kalal (the self-proclaimed brand-ambassador of Kashmir tourism). Out of all these people, I really like and admire two people who actually entertain people through their videos, which you can enjoy with your family. I am talking about Nasir Khanjan of Pakistan and Sandy Saha from India.
Recently, through Wishfie, Sandy Saha came out and bravely expressed for the first time that he didn’t care about his haters. He is currently participating in MTV Roadies Xtreme, and I recently got the chance to interview him. I am happy to share that whatever you may about know about him is just a trailer. It’s my pleasure to unveil his complete story.
Following are some edited excerpts.
Born and brought up in Kolkata, Sandy Saha is a 22-year-old out-and-proud gay boy, who is a social-media sensation with a huge fan-following, especially in West Bengal and Bangladesh. The confident and happy-go-lucky Sandy has very open minded and supportive parents. His parents are employed in government jobs, and they have been supporting him since childhood. Interestingly, Sandy has never come out to his parents about his sexual orientation.
Speaking about the bond he shares with his parents, he said, “My parents are my strength and I am blessed to have this wonderful couple as my mom and dad. While their love helped me become a confident person, on the other hand, the way they have been supporting me gives me strength to fight against all odds. Yes, it’s true that we have never discussed about my sexual orientation. However, I believe that they already knew about it – and they have accepted me the way I am. So there is no point of initiating a conversation about it. Do people discuss about the sexuality of their straight kids?”
It’s perhaps surprising that unlike the stories of the struggle of many members of the LGBTQ community, Sandy has no sad past. His story doesn’t consist of any sad or depressing chapter. He considers himself very fortunate to have supportive parents and loving friends. This has made him an extremely positive person who believes in smiling in every situation of life.
Sandy never planned to start making social media videos. His journey of fame began quite accidentally. He used to go live on Facebook regularly, but one of his videos (in which he was wearing a face-pack mask while interacting to people) went viral overnight. He was unaware that he had been trolled for the video. His friends informed him about it – and initially, they asked him to stop using social media for a while.
However, instead of paying attention to the trollers, roasters and haters, the love he received from many people caught Sandy’s attention – and that encouraged him to make more videos. Undoubtedly, his videos entertained people – and that’s why his fan-following has been increasing since then.
“There were people who were abusing and making fun of me. but I have noticed that there was an equal number of people who were being entertained through my videos. That motivated me to continue making content for social media. I don’t like cross-dressing, but I just do it on camera while I create videos. I don’t have time for haters and I am paying more attention to the people who admire me. But whenever people speak bad things about my parents, it hurts,” opined Sandy.
Shortly, he became so popular that Colors Bangla approached him for its comedy show “ChakaChak Comedy Chak”. He also appeared on “Hurdle Hawk”, a web-reality show by Addatimes. Apart from this, he has also acted in a Bengali short-film titled “Swopne Dekha Rajkonya” which was selected for the Cannes Short Film Corner 2018.
Sandy’s mother is a sportsperson and a huge fan of the youth-based reality show, MTV Roadies. Unlike his mother, however, Sandy was least interested in sports – and he always preferred to stay at home and play with dolls.
Surprisingly, he was selected in the Roadies Xtreme show. When he informed his mother about this, she was more worried than happy. She has been following this show, and is aware of the fact that it’s about both mental and physical fitness.
“My mom was worried about me – and initially, she refused to give me permission to go on the Roadies journey. It was a big opportunity and I didn’t want to miss the chance. So, I somehow convinced her, but she started giving instructions like I was a school kid going on adventurous picnic. I have been watching this show since childhood and becoming a part of it is like a dream come true,” said Sandy.
According to Sandy, his stint at the MTV Roadies Xtreme show allowed him to be a widely- recognisable person. He was already a familiar face in West Bengal and Bangladesh, but this show made him a household name across the nation.
Sandy is the first out-and-open gay contestant on Roadies who successfully made it to the end of the journey. He wanted to join Price Narula’s gang, but due to the new format of the show, he went into Neha Dhupia’s gang. Neha supported and guided him throughout the journey – and among his co-contestants, he has a huge crush on Kashish Pundir. He also became good friends with contestants such as Shubhada Nishtala, Minni Rohilla and Shruti Sinha.
“It was an experience of a lifetime that has brought much-needed positive changes in me. I would like to thank MTV for giving me this opportunity that not only made me strong but also helped me become a better version of myself. I will cherish all those moments for the rest of my life,” Sandy expressed.
Before speaking to Sandy, I had thought that he was just an entertainer. If you also think so, then you are wrong. Let me tell you, Sandy is more than just an entertainer. Being from a family of working parents, Sandy started his own salon and spa business when he was just 19 years old. He is also a tarot-card reader and can predict the future through his fortune-telling skills.
Our common friend and former Roadies Rising contestant, Ankita Mehra, informed me that Sandy does a lot of social work. When I asked him, he refused to talk about it, but after convincing him, he agreed to describe what kind of work Sandy is involved in. Sandy and a group of his friends spend a portion of their income in helping unprivileged people, and in feeding and treating streets dogs and animals. They also help poor people get medical treatment, especially those who can’t afford expensive treatment procedures. They are planning to register an NGO through which they will keep on doing such social work on regular basis.
Sharing his thoughts, Sandy said, “I believe these kinds of social work should be done quietly. I am getting enough attention and publicity through my talent – so, I don’t want to advertise my social work, and I don’t need to do so. That’s why I avoid speaking about this to the media. In fact, I rarely share this on social media. In case someone needs help, I share it on my social media platforms urging people to help, as I have a decent fan-following.”
After winning hearts through his stint in Roadies Xtreme, Sandy has been receiving offers from Bengali TV shows and films. Currently, however, he is focusing on expanding his salon and spa business – and he is also planning to launch a salon brand under his name. He also intends to keep on doing social work as it gives him immense satisfaction.
On the work front, he told me that he would continue to create videos to entertain people. After Roadies, he is aspiring to try his luck in the forthcoming season of Colors’ Big Boss. However, according to the new format introduced this year, the door only be open for couples. So, he is planning to enter the show with his good friend and another social media sensation, Hero Alom from Bangladesh.
When I asked Sandy to share a message to our readers, he said, “I would like to urge people not to bother about the society and to start loving yourself. Be what you are – and if you are confident that you are on the right track, then don’t change yourself for the sake of this hypocritical society.”
Hence, I hope I have made myself clear as to why I like Sandy Saha. Undoubtedly, his positive attitude is inspiring many people – especially the way he came out on Wishfie, expressing that he doesn’t care about others. He is an LGBTQ icon who is setting new trends by breaking the fetters and fighting against the old norms of the society.
You can follow Sandy Saha on YouTube here.
You can watch his audition for MTV Roadies Xtreme here.