Chohan with Madhuri Dixit in Fame Game.
Chohan with Madhuri Dixit in Fame Game. 

I use technique, not method acting: Sheena Chohan

Express News Service

Sheena Chohan is living one of her wildest dreams. She has a total of four releases lined up this year. The actress, who made her debut in 2011 with The Train alongside Mammootty, went on to work with some terrific actors and award-winning directors across languages. Her “biggest inspiration” is Sridevi. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

How was your 2023 journey?

It brought a fair share of challenges but I was up for it.

You are gearing up for the release of Sant Tukaram, where you play the role of his wife, Avalai Jija Bai. Radhika Apte has previously played the character in the Marathi film Tukaram. Does that put you under any pressure?

I made it a point to not watch the Marathi film, because you can easily get influenced. Secondly, when playing a historical character, much information is available online. So, I studied a lot. My director (Aditya Om) urged me to watch films by Smita Patel and Nargis for inspiration. In the villages of Bhor, near Pune, where the shooting took place, I spent time with the local women to understand their day-to-day life and their universe and brought all the learnings into my character.

You are collaborating with National Award-winning director Suvendu Raj Ghosh for a short film titled Amar Prem. It will mark your third collaboration with a National Award-winning director after Jayaraj and Buddhadev Dasgupta.

I am glad I got the opportunity to work with these great directors. Cinema, for me, has always been a director’s medium, and I am a director’s actor. I aim to bring their vision to life and create something magical.

This year, you will also make your Telugu debut alongside actor J D Chakravarthy.

I am an outsider in the Southern industry but felt very welcomed. When we were shooting together the last time, J D sir advised me to watch more films. He says, “If you watch films, you can learn new things as an actor.”

How was your experience of working as a debutant in a Telugu film?

It was very challenging. First, you have a language barrier for which I needed to be coached. I needed to understand my lines and improve my dialect. The Telugu industry also works differently, so as a newcomer, it was challenging to deal with different personalities and get along with them.

You have worked with some big stars like Mammootty in The Train (2011), Madhuri Dixit in Fame Game (2021), Kajol in The Trial (2023), and now Chakravarthy in your upcoming project. What were your learnings?

Kajol is a livewire, and Madhuri is a different personality on the sets. The two are very fun-loving. J D sir is an encyclopaedia; words fall short in describing Mr Mammootty’s aura, charm, and personality. I also observed their professionalism, the dedication and passion they put in their work, and the joy they bring to the set. Above all, they have been powerful collaborators and teammates. Hence, they make you enjoy the process.

In between all the positive characters you are playing this year, what prompted you to take up a negative lead in the OTT film She-Devil?

I am willing to experiment and take up challenging roles. For me, this negative lead in She-Devil is completely different from the characters I have played so far.

Having played four different characters in one year, does it mess up with your head?

The messing-up happens only when you are a method actor. I use imagination as a technique to create my characters. I can switch on and off, which has come with much experience. Over the years, I have learned to let go of my characters once the shooting ends.

(By Triya Gulati)