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Dhaka Tribune

Sheena Chohan on Netflix’s ‘Fame Game’ and her humanitarian mission

‘Pipra Bidya’ actor Sheena Chohan joined Bollywood powerhouse Madhuri Dixit in a small role in Netflix’s ‘Fame Game.’ Apart from her acting, she's also involved with several humanitarian projects, which she talks about in this interview with writer/lyricist Johny Hoque

Update : 28 Mar 2022, 08:34 PM

Tell us about the Born Free and Equal Podcast campaign.

We’ve reached 100 million people with the message of human rights via the Born free and Equal campaign. It’s a podcast on HubHopper where we’ve  made 30-45 minute episodes with many of Indian cinema’s most famous actors and filmmakers, to discuss basic rights and equality. The show deals with rights like the Right to Education with Sonakshi Sinha or The Right to A Fair and Free World with Raveena Tandon - in each episode the artist gives motivational stories from their life about the right and at the same time we provide practical information about how the right applies to people’s lives and the relevant current issues of the day. Because we worked with stars like actors I mentioned above and others like Sonu Sood, Imtiaz Ali, Preety Zinta, etc., and our amazing media partner Raindrop Media, we’ve spread a message of basic awareness of rights and equality to over a hundred million people in India!

30 Bollywood stars have taken part in the campaign to raise awareness about the 30 rights of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tell us their contribution in this campaign.

Each artist brought the right to life! So far we’ve done 14 podcasts and in each one the star has given an interesting insight into why the human right in discussion is important, stories about how it’s affected them and motivation about why and how we can all use the right in our lives and to help others. They also promoted to the podcast on their social media, helping to spread awareness and in a few cases, like Imtiaz, Preety, Guneet Monga and Raindrop Media’s Founder, Rohini Iyer they gave their time to do an in person event to further communicate this vital message in person and through the press. 

You are an advocate of human rights education and awareness and the only Indian actress to have won the Hero award at the UN. What is the motivation for you to do the work?

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights lay down in absolute clear terms how, per law, we can be expected to be treated and what our responsibilities to other are, so the very first step to getting rid of abuses in the world, is to understand our rights. Once you know your rights, you have more stability to stand up for them, because you know that the respect you ask to be shown is backed up by such an important international agreement. We all understand the importance of education, but human rights education is more important than any other education because it teaches us the rules of the world we live in - I humbly call for Sheikh Hasina, who has done so much for the girl child and female education, to strengthen her wonderful work by making human rights education mandatory in beautiful Bangladesh. 

We also have a free online course that anyone can do to get detailed information about their rights.

You shared screen with Madhuri Dixit in Netflix series 'The Fame Game'. Tell us about the experience.

It was wonderful working together with Madhuri Dixit and i learnt so much from her. In one of the scenes, she got some bad press and I’m assuring her that I’m handling it. In one of my last films, Ant Story, I played a troubled super star, so it was interesting to be now playing the PR Manager of a troubled super star. It was incredible to be on the set - Netflix has taken the game to a while new level - it was very well organised and professional, the sets and crew were the highest possible quality. It was interesting to see how such a big company like Netflix operates and to be a part of that - Netflix actually streamed Ant Story for a couple of years, so it was nice to be back on their service again to such an international audience. 

How is Madhuri Dixit as a person on the set?

She’s very professional, kind, and talented - it’s not by chance that she’s such a super star, it’s very well earned and she’s a lovely person too. Very inspiring as an actor.

Tell us about your role in Disney + Hotstar's 'Lockdown Mein Breakdown' will be released in April.

I play a hard working tech professional who breaks up with her lazy care-free boyfriend, but just when she asks him to leave and experiences the relief of him no longer bothering her, lockdown happens, and she’s stuck in the house with him. It’s an 8 episode webseries directed by Vibhav Ameta who was a right hand man and AD for Anubhav Sinha for a long time. It’s a comedy drama that we can all relate to, with the difficulties that we all experienced lately, but it adds a lot of lightness to the whole issue, and all that through the lens of a troubled romance. 

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

Actually another actor from the Fame Game, Rajshri Deshpande, plays the other lead with me in a feature film called Justice that’s soon to launch to international film festivals. It’s by the Bengali director - Bappaditya Bandopadhyay, sadly it was his last film. I play a very unusual character, I really had to use all my theatre training to create this one with my director, because it was quite surreal - I’m a woman in search of a coffin with a strange obsession with death. We filmed it in the rainiest city in the world and the film has a really deep atmosphere and message, so I’m looking forward to sharing this character with the world. 

Have you talked for any new projects in Bangladesh or anything international coming up?

There are a few things in discussion. I’d love to make another Bangladeshi film. It’s hard to top working with Farooki, but I would so love to come back and see my friends in Bangladesh and shoot there again - I love the people and the culture and the food! 

You shot for a Hollywood film Nomad in the US recently. Tell us more about it.

It’s a record breaking film by a young genius director, Taron Lexton - it is a sci fi, time travel story, which was filmed on 7 continents and in 26 counties. I flew to Los Angeles for some scenes and then twice had to shoot in Florida, on the other side of America, for others. Actually Taron made the films that have made humanrights.com so famous - his films have helped spread human rights awareness to hundreds of millions of people, so I absolutely feel a deep connection to him and couldn’t be more pleased that my first Hollywood film was directed by him.

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