For more than 10 years in the past Labasa native, Sharon Chandra, went to India to study the traditional dance, kathak.
Today, she shouldn’t be only a professional classical dancer but a rising star, making a reputation for herself on Mumbai’s theater scene.
Her newest play, ‘Dhappa’, the place she acts reverse famed Bollywood actor, Puneet Issar, showcases her as a gifted stage star.
Sharon’s father, Chandar Yenkanna, and mom, Chandramma Kumaran, gave her their blessings to take up a Government of India scholarship to study kathak dance in 2011.
Little did they know their daughter would someday grace theater scenes in India’s industrial and entertainment capital.
People from throughout India journey to Mumbai to attempt their luck within the cutthroat world of acting.
Many fail and face disappointment.
Sharon’s rising success, subsequently, has been nothing in need of wonderful.
“From the age of nine, my father encouraged me to take up Kathak dance at the Suva Multi-Ethnic Cultural Center,” Sharon stated.
“It was incredible expertise to be taught and carry out Kathak dance throughout Fiji. I used to be then awarded an Indian Council for Cultural Relations scholarship for Kathak dance. That started my artistic journey to India.”
For three years, Sharon watched as many dance forms as possible, from theater to puppetry and dastaangoi, an Urdu oral storytelling art form.
She also heard as many folks and classical music as she could.
“It was like a carnival ride. I knew that I wanted to stick to this carnival forever. During my diploma days, I did much theaters plays on weekends which was not easy.
“I had to ensure that I learned and spoke Hindi very well. It was the demand of the script. I began to do as many plays as possible and after three years, I knew this was what I would like to do with my life.”
The 38-year-old first lived in New Delhi before later moving to Mumbai, where she started auditioning for films.
“It was crazy!” she reminisced.
I had to sidestep so many situations which involved casting couches.
“I can relate to so many actors who had experienced such issues. But no matter the hurdle, you also get a lot of support. You do find like-minded people in Mumbai who purely do work.”
Casting couches is a practice where film executives ask aspiring actors and actresses to perform sexual favors in exchange for a role in their production.
Sharon had her first break when she landed her role in the cineplay ‘Boichek,’ now available on Netflix.”
She considers Bollywood actor, Manoj Bajpayee as her mentor, alongside Amitabh Bachchan, and actresses Kalki Koechlin and Radhika Apte.
So far, her biggest role in theater has been in ‘Dhappa’, where she played the female lead opposite Issar, most famous for her role as Duryodhana in the Indian television drama series, Mahabharat.
“Puneet is very sweet and friendly. I loved working with him. He is the most professional actor,” she stated.
“Aum Theater Mumbai’s Dhappa is my hardest play up to date. It was bodily demanding however I have to applaud my director Akshay Mishra who had lots of faith in my work.”
Dhappa is a musical play primarily based on the 1950s and showcases classic costumes, music, and dance, units with intricate gentle design and addresses the problems confronted within the movie industry within the Fifties.
“I had around five dance sequences in the play along with dialogues.”
Ms. Chandra is single and works for the Deutsche Bank in Mumbai.
“My father was very enthusiastic in nurturing my dancing talent. He had pushed me a lot. Now that he isn’t with us, my brother has taken over that role and is constantly encouraging me to do better.”
Sharon started a performing artist’s life was a tough one and as such, she wanted all of the love and help she may muster.
“There aren’t any competitors amongst artists as all of us want one another’s Help to flourish in this field. Our Fijian rugby gamers have already made our nation proud. As artists, let’s collectively do our half in guaranteeing that our Fiji flag flies excessively.
“Now I’ve made a second house in India the place I’m very comfy and pleased. But Fiji will at all times be my first home.”