Sheena Chohan: Sushmita Sen is my mentor

The pretty face of the recently concluded Bangladesh Premiere League (BPL), model-turned-actor-turned- television presenter Sheena Chohan is keen to do meaningful films

After being handpicked by none other than Sushmita Sen for her rare amalgam of beauty and expressiveness, Sheena Chohan’s life changed forever. Next, Sheena participated in I Am She beauty pageant and won the judges over with her ability to express herself effortlessly and connect with the audience. She even went on to clinch the I Am Voice title at the contest in 2010. Today, Sheena has some enviable fashion campaigns in her kitty, has done a film with veteran actor Mammootty and more recently co-hosted the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) with cricketing legends like Danny Morison and Pat Symcox. We caught up with the rising star on a sunny afternoon as she talked about her journey so far and why she believes in going with the flow….

 Living the dream

“I was very happy and excited to explore the new city when I landed in Mumbai. I am from Kolkata and always wanted to come to Mumbai. It’s the city that offers a fresh, vibrant energy. It’s the place where you can live impossible dreams. After coming to Mumbai I joined Anupam Kher’s acting school, An Actor Prepares. I did a few plays, did some commercials – that’s when the National Award-winning director Jayaraj spotted me in an ad, and offered me the lead role in the Malyalam film The Train, opposite South superstar Mammooty. The film received a fabulous response at the box office. Life was never the same after that.”


Mammootty is a star!

“I was very nervous initially, given his star status. I remember when I did the first shot with him. He told me to relax and be confident in front of the camera. He was very comforting. He is a great institution in himself and working with him was a big honour for me. I am a quick learner. I used to observe how he used to prepare for scenes, his methodology and his approach to his work. He put me at ease and I managed to give my best.”


Sushmita Sen is my guide

“Sushmita’s warmth inspired me to participate in the I Am She contest. I met her for the very first time at a show where I was given a wild card entry. The first question she asked me was, “Are you from Kolkata? You are beautiful, why don’t you participate in the show?” I consider myself extremely lucky that I met Sushmita Sen at the right time. She groomed me for the I Am She contest. She gave me the confidence to carry myself well and to face the world. I consider myself extremely fortunate for being trained, mentored and guided by her. Sushmita is a woman of substance and the way she carries herself with dignity spells elegance. Even today I follow her advice. She says, ‘Dream big and have the courage to convert your dreams into reality’!”


The magic of live television

“I speak Bengali very well and that worked in my favour in getting the television offer. BPL, as you would know, stands for Bangladesh Premiere League. Cricket is a huge passion in Bangladesh as well. So for this particular series the channel was looking for a face that could present the shows, knows Bengali and could connect with the masses, with aesthetics. I fitted their requirements and I jumped at the offer.There is nothing like live television when it comes to judging one’s spontaneity. It’s not rehearsed, very little of it is scripted, so it makes you think and present your thought process in an organised way. I loved the experience. The beauty of live television lies in the discipline this medium demands. You have got to focus, you have got to be thinking and, above all, you need to learn to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, the camera will show the reality. Though it is natural to get nervous initially, with the time you tend to learn a lot. I learned from the best in the business, like Arun Lal, Rohan Gavaskar, Danny Morrison and Pat Symcox. I learned that one has to focus when on the job, but in the end it is fun, trust me! I am not a cricket expert. I am a cricket enthusiast and I ended up learning the game.”


 My success mantra

“This business is not just about looking beautiful. It is hard work. Many things help me stay balanced . If you are happy, you tend to look positive and therefore beautiful. I pray a lot to achieve calmness. Spirituality comes to me naturally. I am creatively inclined. I read, listen to music and do exactly what my heart tells me to do. The key is to work with happy, energetic people. Physically, I work out daily and go to the gym without fail. The end result of all this is beautiful me! Also, I have no godfather in the industry. I lost my father when I was very young, so my mother has been my pillar of strength. I think the support and the strength your family gives you helps immensely.”


The road ahead

“I am destiny’s child and don’t believe in planning things. Modelling happened to me. Films were the extension of my interest for theatre, and now BPL. I am happy with the way things are progressing for me. Currently I am shooting my next film, Patralekha, with Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Once everything is finalised I will announce my character in the film and the details. All I can tell you right now is that this is a Bengali film. I want to do more films. Cinema is my passion and I want to do meaningful cinema, commercial or art. I am going to take a step at a time and will go with the flow.”