“Once you work in the media industry that will to work here stays with you forever,” started off Sonia, whose home town is in Gaibandha. There is a conventional concept in this country’s entertainment industry that if a female artist is off track for a while she does not get any project when she comes back. But Sonia in the other hand was offered major roles or signed in big projects when she made a comeback in the industry. It might be because she was in their minds still or her active social media presence made the difference. So she always chooses to work on a project or two every now and then before the long gap can make any difference. She did confess that some of the projects she worked on recently were not top notch, yet she got very busy in her work within a very short time.
Sonia also thinks that sometimes a gap is needed for the artists who work in the media industry or else it gets very monotonous to see the same character playing different roles in a very short time. Besides, these breaks help an actor to realise where his or her focus needs to be more. A break makes a positive difference.
During the conversation, the topic of You Got the Look came up, the beauty pageant that gave Sonia her start. She was just 17 years old and took her driver straight to the office of Grey, the host of the pageant at that time and they denied her application form at first because she was underage. Later, she received a call that she was in the selected 50. She went on to make it to the final five contestants, and that is how Sonia kicked off her career.
As she herself came to the industry through a beauty contest, she had much to say on the topic.
She said: “I was abroad for a long time. Missed a lot of contests but got the scope to even watch a few. One was YGTL and the other one was Lux. I think during that time a lot of criteria were maintained. Especially a candidate’s family and educational backgrounds were taken into consideration in the selection process.” She also thinks that the standards of the competitions are constantly falling because the increasing number of contestants. She also added that these pageants are not creating a space for new hope.
Another topic of a previous beauty pageant winner came up. The casting couch issue. Female harassment issues in the entertainment industry are being discussed all around the world recently. Sonia wished to clarify that this ‘casting couch’ is not only a media industry issue. It is used by different people from different walks of life around the world to gain different goals. “All I can say is that in this time no one can force someone to do something. Anyone can be unmasked at any moment so everyone should not be painted by the same brush. If you ask about me, to tell you the truth I have created my own couch for myself. So I did not need someone else’s nor did anyone force me to do something,” she said.
Sonia agrees that YTGL is the reason behind her smooth entrance in the entertainment industry. The projects she later chose to work on were completely her decision. Her advice is to think before making any decisions. Sonia then said that even talent should be considered in a beauty pageant. She felt sad about a recent beauty pageant that changed its winner multiple times. “I coincidentally saw this while I was abroad. Nowadays viewers understand everything. You just can’t feed them anything. They followed that show and even criticised it heavily,” she said.
Sonia thinks that this is an era of social media, so one cannot just organise a pageant and be done with it. She thinks its results also play a major role and the following social media response by the general audience creates another result. According to her every decision should be properly made.
Sonia even thinks that a celebrity should filter her social media posts as fans and followers judge too quickly when they see an emotional or angry or any other personal post out of context. She thinks celebrities should have a certain strategy to post these in public.
Sonia even maintains such strategies herself be it social media, her personal life or choosing a project. She is currently working less in TV dramas. She said: “I judge the work environment before I choose any project.” She also said that she loves hosting and is currently doing a regular celebrity lifestyle show titled “Stay Alive with Sonia” on a Youtube channel called Real Chamak. Sonia even wants to work on a show that brings out the lifestyle of general people.
In this age where Bangla cinema is breaking boundaries, she even wants to work on the big screen if offered a good role. All this is possible for her because of the understanding between her and her life partner. She might be seen in a creative content creation organisation soon and is scheduled to be working on a new Youtube channel from April. All this got a little off track for the recent TV dramas she has been working on. She also clarified that she only wants to work on projects that she herself understands well. She does not want to do every show she gets offered, and despite all her successes, she still misses the ramp. The thirty seconds of everyone’s attention in the room attracts her very much and she deeply misses the feeling.
In conclusion Sonia’s life is running at rocket speed. When she was asked how is she able to manage her family, creativity and work at the same time and still look so young, she smiled and replied: “The reason is that I am very happy with my life and I sleep soundly every night, and sanity always reflects on the face of the one who can sleep well.”
She ended the conversation by saying: “Only an artist knows how to make oneself more dynamic. I also want to make myself more dynamic. The journey has just started, I have to go a long way.”