"'She' is about a female cop who becomes an undercover agent. She poses as a prostitute to aid the police investigate a certain criminal nexus. It is the journey of this woman as she goes through the experience of pretending to be a prostitute, how she deals with it and what happens to her and her sexuality. Through the series, we see many interesting and hidden aspects of society, of this city and of our own personalities," Imtiaz told IANS.
The filmmaker, who has written the story, revealed his inspiration, saying: "I have met many lady constables. I met many prostitutes as well. I have also met women that are on different levels of this exploration. I have met a lot of women that have tried or are trying to get rid of the baggage of shame that they are suppressed by. 'She' is such a journey."
We have always seen strong female protagonists in Imtiaz Ali's directorials like "Jab We Met" and "Highway". "She", too, boasts of a strong female protagonist, Bhumika Pardesi (played by Aaditi Pohankar). "The greatest happiness I have is that the series is called 'She'. Because it is all about the she of 'She', the femininity of a girl," he said.
Describing the character, he added: "She is strong in many ways. One of them is the fact that she is a very 'pushable' character. She is not only gullible but you can sidetrack her. She is timid and quite okay to be ignored. That is where her strength lies. She starts from there and then she discovers what it is to actually impose and be powerful and feel the energy of a woman in her body."
The filmmaker revealed he had written this story a while back but was unable to fit it into a movie format. With the OTT wave setting in, a web series was the obvious choice.
"It is a much longer story. I've had this story for a long time but I could never really compromise and fit it to the duration and format of a film. Luckily, the digital revolution happened and we could make a digital series out of it. Because it takes duration to say this story," Imtiaz said.
Vijay Varma plays the dreaded narcotics dealer Sasya, and Imtiaz is happy with the actor's performance.
"We were very lucky to get him actually. He also spoke Hyderabadi (which the character speaks in the series) because he is from that region. That really helped. As an actor, he has really contributed to build what it (the show) has become. He has worked so well to build the character that it looks tailor-made for him," said Imtiaz.
"She" is directed by Arif Ali and Avinash Das. The web series premieres on Netflix on March 20.