Art and the artist are life partners. It is significantly said by Thomas Merton “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Art is the true way of absorption within ourselves. True happiness gets into you in no time when you see shining faces in the audience. Today, it is a time for Scientific Nation to present a story of a talented artist from Sikkim who has her own story to tell because in the multiverse, local stories matter which gives life to the locality.
Shradha Chhetri, born at Sakhu, West Pendam, East Sikkim did her schooling from Govt. Syaplay, Sardarey, Secondary School, East Sikkim. This beautiful place has led her to understand the true value of pristine nature and wilderness. A girl from the small yet greenest state of India has her own thing to say. Art was rooted in her since her childhood when she used to perform Skits and Dance, she used to get appreciation from her elders and teachers for her skills. She Says. “Along with Acting, I used to go to Bal Bikash classes which gave me the true value of life because life is the most precious gift by Nature”
The first impression.
If we open up our inner vision, Nature, always makes us feel about the true talent within us. She felt her first best impression of the Art in her during the 10th Standard when she was given a lead role in a drama with the theme of “Women Empowerment” She was appreciated by almost everyone watching her on the stage. She was applauded by the locals as well as students and teachers. Soon after this, she had to opt for another school namely Govt. Senior Secondary School, Central Pendam, East Sikkim. This was because her previous School was only till Secondary level and her next destination was the High School.
The High School and the box of Art.
The High School was the place where the box of Art was going to be opened for her. True Talent is always followed by people in Higher Places. She was being noticed by one of the people who was going to give her the first role. Her talent was such that it wouldn’t have been ignored. She was approached for a Music Video where the singer was Prashant Tamang, the winner of Indian Idol Season 3. The person who noticed her talent applauded her and told her to opt for acting and modeling in the future. She says. “I was shocked, I never thought of modeling and acting as a career, I was a simple Schoolgirl who took an interest in art but never thought I would get more from it. She did her first music video in 11th Standard. This led her to get offers from the Doordarshan TV channel and many other places.
Life never gives more chance.
Soon during high school, she did work on a short film of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, along with it she got roles in Doordarshan TV Serials, Documentaries, and short films. She grabbed the opportunities and showcased her talent. She gave the best but more was to come.
She says “I never knew that there exists the thing called as National School of Drama, my friends started talking about choosing Honors in English, History, and other Social Science stuff in college but somewhere in my heart I was feeling that if I study all these then will it be fruitful? Fortunately, I came to know about one of our Seniors namely Birbal Subba who was very much into art, I came to know that he was ‘pass out’ of National School of Drama, I talked with him, he suggested me to watch a theatre show to understand more about Art” This theatre show made her realize about the greatness of Art.
This show was named “Ab Aur Nahi’. It was related to social dogmas in society. She was impressed by the professional 30 Artists who performed in the show. She immediately applied for the National School of Drama, Gangtok which was only the institute dedicated to the people of North East in Art and Drama.
The National School of Drama.
Soon after, she got a call letter for an interview. She says. “I was cool as usual because I didn’t know who the people were in the interview panel, I could see the people from different parts of North East who were panicking, soon my turn came, and I gave the interview without any fear. Today I realize, they were not ordinary people but famous Directors and filmmakers. It was probably why those students were afraid at that time”. She got selected for the interview and was invited to join the National School of Drama. It was a one-year course as usual but it changed her attitude toward Art and Acting. It became rooted in her and she started to feel the Art inside within her. In the same year, she got a chance to work in modeling with some of the national and international brands like Loreal.
The Other side of Coin.
There are always two sides to the coin, in one side she completed the training at the National School of Drama and joined the degree of Journalism and Mass Communication at Siliguri but on the other side, there are always other things going on. She says “One side of being an Artist is a very beautiful part of life but the other side comes with Anxiety in every step, I have always handled it with the values rooted in me, to never give up is my mantra’. Modern-day society, especially in smaller regions like Sikkim, has less promotion for the Arts and Theatre culture. The Theatrical support is limited and local talent is not considered as best by the people. It is tough for Art to survive in such a compact and limited environment. In reality, most Artists live the full life and go away from Earth without being noticed.
Life goes on.
She has currently enrolled for a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Siliguri. She funds herself through a small business started by her because as per her, business is a backbone of an Artist in the present time. She says. “I am doing a small business to fund myself and I aim to do Social Work in the future for the downtrodden, I am happily living in the Art but I feel there is a need for change in the thought of people, the Art of the Artist is to be valued and not the other stuff.” It is due to the values rooted in her, she is able to think about Society and do something for it in the future. The Scientific Monk urges people to support talented people like Shradha who never expect anything from the Art but it is their soul.
In the final line, she says, ” I and some of my friends have the aim of Promoting North East Culture across India, for which we train local people from this area and make the performances because the true art flourishes only through proper care and training just like a mother cares for her child. “
Currently, she is also doing a Bollywood flick titled “Sabri Ka Mohan” by Director Akashaditya.