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Compiled by a Mayang, New Delhi
Esha Roy Indian Express August 17, 2014
Lin Laishram: a biography
Lin Laishram was born in Imphal, Manipur. She left home at very early age to pursue her studies.
“My actual name is Linthoingambi Laishram. But my non-Manipuri friends could not pronounce my full name. One day, one of my professors changed my name to Lin. Since that day I am known as Lin Laishram.”
Linthoingambi Laishram, daughter of Laishram Chandrasen of Palace Compound, Imphal
Brought up in a secular family, where her father was a banker and famed pro-sportsman and her mother, a nursing superintendent at one of the best hospitals in Manipur,
She has an elder sister and an elder brother. Her sister-in-law is a famous Manipur film actress.
Her father Laishram Chandrasen is a sports lover. He introduced archery in Manipur and was the President of Manipur Archery Association for many years. Being a daughter of a sports buff,
She is a B.A. in Sociology (first class) from Sophia College, Mumbai.
Studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, New York.
Lin was associated with sports since her childhood. It isn’t a surprise that Lin wouldn’t follow her sportsman father’s footsteps. “My parents introduced me to archery and I fell in love with it and played for Tata Archery Academy (the first Manipuri to get selected), Jamshedpur, and won many awards as Junior Archer “ She got training in archery from Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur.
“I’ve also represented my state, Manipur at the All India National Archery Championship in Rajasthan. My siblings were National Archers too. My passion for the sport went on to such an extent that the academy provided us with Home school for 3 years.”
She played the game up to national level. But unfortunately, an accident cut her career short from becoming an international player. In 1998 she got the Junior Championship Title in Chandigarh. She was also awarded with the Best Sports Person of the Year of Bihar when she was in Bihar. Apart from this she won a number of gold medals and silver medals as a player.
But it wasn’t long when Lin had to give up on her dreams- an injury (Due to many years of rigorous training) left her shattered and heart-broken, never to be able to pursue her dreams as an archer. “My future looked bleak,” she lamented. But they say there’s a woman behind every person’s success and it holds true even in her case because after the unfortunate incident, her mother stood strongly by her side and enrolled her in a school. “My mother has been there for me through out. She believes in me and in my hard work.” She then moved to Mumbai for her schooling and eventually earned herself a first class major in Sociology from Mumbai University.
Her height is 5’ 9 ½ “. She does yoga, gym and other exercises like running in order to maintain her body.
High points include
Modelled with Elite.
Was one of 12 models on the Kingfisher calendar.
Many of her films have been for the for Malaysian and Indonesian markets.
Walked the ramp for…
Early career as model
Lin is one of the top models of India, an actor and a sportsperson.
She was the first Runners-Up of Miss North East, 2008.
While at college, her tall stature dragged attention and, oh well, the clichéd ‘it happened by chance’ just had to come about. “At one of the college Fests, I was offered to do a L’oreal hair photo shoot. I did it and there was no turning back after that. Modelling happened by chance for me. Later, Elite signed me up here in Mumbai, so it wasn’t so difficult for me.”
When she was in Mumbai, L’Oreal approached her for a photo shoot during a college festival. Her photo was published in a magazine, and that marked her entry into modelling world.
At that time, she had little knowledge about modelling. After that she got a call from Elite Modelling Agency, an international renowned modelling agency. They asked her to prepare a portfolio. It was in 2007. Since then she has been doing modelling. After that she took part in various shows like Wills Fashion Week, shows of many renowned designers and other advertisements. Her exotic looks and her tall structure was an instant hit in the modeling world and soon became the center of attraction for all the big designer and photographers. She has worked with the top names in the glamour world including top designers like Tarun Tehiliani, Shantanu Goenka, Rohit Bal to name a few.
Later, Lin visited New York. When she was in New York, she received a mail from a diamond jewellery company for a photo shoot. At that time she did not have work visa. The company called Ozuro Jewellery sponsored visa for her and she continued modelling in New York.
In New York, she did a number of print modelling – hoardings, newspapers, magazines and catalogues. She also did some TV commercials. But she did fashion shows in rare case. The biggest campaign in New York was a print advertisement for a Spa. Big hoardings with her pictures were displayed in almost all the airports of USA – Las Vegas, New York, JFK, Chicago and even in Toronto.
She also took part in Nygard Fashion Show at the Times Square which is the hub of fashion and advertisement. Her posters were displayed in the show.
“New York was a complete ball game; I was mostly doing commercial prints, photoshoots for designers and makeup artists and have walked the ramp for the New York Bridal Week fashion show. I struggled keeping my weight in control since I have a tendency to put on weight easily. I had to exercise pretty hard since I can’t really follow a strict diet.”
She stayed in New York for about four years. During her stay in New York, she also did an acting course for eight months from Stella Adler’s Theatre acting school.
She also learnt acting from Atlantic Theatre. When she came to Mumbai she consulted about acting with her guru Niraj Kabi. Right now she is based in Mumbai however she travels a lot according to her assignments.
As of now she is associated with theatre most of the time. Since about one year she is involving actively in theatre. She is associated with the organisation called Motley of Naseeruddin Shah. As a production manager of the organisation she travels a lot and does many shows. An actor has to be an all-rounder in theatre.
She is also a member of Prabha Theatre which mainly plays Ibsen adapted plays. She is the main protagonist in a play of Ibsen called ‘Pillars of the Community’. She has been preparing for the play since last eight months.
She performed for Rangbaaz Theatre as well in Rudyard Kipling’s play the ‘Jungle Book’. She has performed in the play for more than twenty times.
Lin said, “I cannot guarantee that acting will give limelight, money and fame but I am sure there is a way if I love it so much. I really don’t care how people perceive it or what people think about me. All I care is what I get from what I do. The satisfaction I get from the applause I get from the audience.”
She said that she started her career in sports then moved on to modelling and then towards theatre and cannot predict the future.
“In modelling I am pampered. Everything is available for me. I will have spot boy, vehicles will be there to pick me up. Whereas in theatre one has to get up early in the morning, exercise, practice very hard. This is good balancing for me. Because when I started up modelling everything came to me very easily. I reached very easily so I didn’t appreciate too much. But when I do theatre I value everything and I balance it.”
She did a number of shoots for print advertisements in the USA, UK, Mumbai and other parts of India.
Fair and Lovely, Cobra Beer, Horlicks Biscuit, Café Coffee Day, Green Tea are some of the brands for which she did advertisements last year.
She feels that Manipur has the potential of modelling industry. Lot of good looking youths are there but they don’t open up to reach their goal.
Career in Hindi-Urdu cinema
2007 Om Shanti Om: she shot for a brief role while studying for college examinations.
2013 Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
2014 Mary Kom as the sparring partner of the Indian boxing legend.
2017 Qaidi Band
Chalo China (producer: Lara Dutta), in which she acts as a Chinese woman.
Film with Prateek Babbar: Lin Laishram plays a Nepalese.
Ticket to Bollywood She plays a northeastern youth.
Some notable films
Lin has also worked in some major films, having done a cameo in Bollywood flicks like “Om Shanti Om” (watch the music video of ‘Om Shanti Om’.) and “Hattrick”,
She has shot a small part for a Vishal Bharadwaj film, Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. “I shared the frame with one of the best actors in our country, Pankaj Kapoor.” She describes the shoot to be her most interesting one so far- “The sequence was where we had to drink beer. Since, I don’t drink beer and they don’t allow alcohol on set, they made some fizzy drink with soda bicarb to make it look like beer. After the shoot, I threw up the entire thing. It was interesting for me because I was playing the role of a Japanese wife wearing a Kimono in a Japanese head gear, make up, etc; and acting with Pankaj Kapoor was really cool,” says an excited Lin.
Rangoon was a big budget film set in Manipur and Bombay during the Anglo-Japanese war of 1943.
The film is about a love triangle between actress Jwala Devi Julia on the one hand and millionaire Rusi Bilimoria and Jamadar Nawab Malik on the other.
Malik is friends with Mema, a Maipuri Meitei girl, who is a nurse in the British Indian Army. Mema is actually an Indian patriot and INA agent who is sabotaging the British Army from within. She is in a relationship with Jamadar Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor).
This must easily be the most substantial role played by an actor from North East India in a Hindi-Urdu film. (The lead actress of Mary Kom, the film was from the Punjab.)
Laishram speaks to Khonjel about Rangoon
K: How was it to play the role of an INA Agent that too in British Camp?
Lin: It was hard. I was not playing only an INA Spy but also a widow and a mother. It was challenging to connect to that era since I do not know much about World War II in Manipur.
K: What was the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
Lin: To be mother. Yes, it was to be a widowed mother. It was already hard to fit the shoe of a British nurse of a different era. And I do not how to love a child ( since Lin is unmarried). It was a challenge to grasp all that body languages.
K: How did you prepare for this role?
Lin: I visited war memorials in Manipur including INA Memorial Complex in Moirang. I learnt about Manipuri women’s participation in World War II. I also met a British Army Male Nurse and sought guidance from him. I tried really hard to grasp the essence of this character and do justice to the role (sense seriousness in her tone) . I also talked to my sister about being a mother.
K: What do you love about this character?
Lin: Everything (speaking proudly). I love everything about this role. It was challenging to play the role but she is the strongest character and gives up her life for freedom. She even sacrifices her motherhood. That’s not an easy choice.
K: If you want to make some changes in the character, what would it be?
Lin: I want her to live. I wish her to live and fight more. To be honest, I didn’t want to die ( laughing 😀 ).
K: What’s your favorite scene?
Lin: It was my last scene when I was dying screaming and fighting. It arouses a patriotic feeling and defines the character. It was when Nawab Malik ( Shahid Kapoor) came forward singing a patriotic song. And I, Mema was filled with pride and patriotism and ready to give up her life.
My second favorite scene is that of delivering a letter to an old man. I think I look pretty in that scene ( smiling). [There are two screenshots from that scene on this page.]
K: What’s your favorite line of dialogue?
Lin: Do not have one. The role was supposed to be mysterious. However, there was this scene where I smiled and was joking. I guess that’s only dialogue that I delivered casually. When the director told me to smile for the first time in that scene. I said no because I felt that it might throw the character of the chart. But he told me that I’d understand later. I guess he was right. That’s the only happy scene that I played.
K: Where was it filmed? Was there any challenges during the filming?
Lin: It was filmed mainly in Arunachal Pradesh and in a film studio in Mumbai.
It was shot mostly during the night. It was a challenge because we all felt tired and exhausted. Secondly, we had to travel to the remote regions of Arunachal and even to China border and that too for a shooting of 2-3 hours. But it was a memorable experience. I got to experience cabin life.
K: Any interesting story during the shooting?
Lin: It was the dying scene. It took 4 days to shoot that scene. It was also very hot, you know. I had to dress up and wear full makeup every day only for that. People started joking “ When will you die?”. That serious scene became a joke to everyone 😀 .
K: Last question, how did you feel about playing the role of a mother? Any comment on personal relationship?
Lin: I do not have any responsibility to take care of young siblings or a child. So, I don’t have any experience on motherly care or love. Mother’s love is way different, you know. It is unconditional love. I couldn’t adopt a child for just to take this role. It was very hard for me. When I went to meet Eche Sharmila ( Irom Sharmila) and asked how she could endure and survive all this long. She really motivated me to take on this challenging role. This character taught me a lot. I learnt how to love and care about my family and friends without any expectations.
No Comment on her personal relationship. She was laughing and declined politely that she could not comment on that
‘No whiff of a romance with Randeep Hooda’
Ever since Randeep Hooda was spotted with Manipuri model Lin Laishram at Vijender Singh’s recent boxing match, tongues have been wagging about the duo.
Randeep and Lin stuck to each other during the match. Later, the model also posted a picture with Randeep on Facebook.
But the two happen to be buddies and there is no whiff of a romance yet. Lin has done theatre with Randeep.
Support for Irom Chanu Sharmila
Manipuri model-turned-actress Lin Laishramsays human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila is a “superwoman” and she totally supports the ‘Iron Lady’ in her political career.
“I support her fully. No matter what she does, I support her full on. She has come a long way. No human has ever done that… she is a superwoman,” Mumbai-based Lin said during a special screening of “Rangoon”.
Lin, who plays the role of Mema in “Rangoon”, which released on Friday, has no doubt that Sharmila will be a “good ruler” (if she is elected).
“She will be a brilliant ruler. She will be the best politician we can ever have. Her is a mind so beautiful and so giving,” Lin said.
The actress met Irom Sharmila two years ago while she was still on her record-breaking fast.
“She is brilliant. I met her in Imphal with Vishal sir when his team was there as he wanted to make a film on her. We had to meet her in jail as she was still on fast. She does not want any film on her life because she thinks it’s a spiritual journey,” explained Lin, who has worked as a fashion model in New York and also studied acting there.
Would she like to play Sharmila if any film is ever made on her?
“I would love to play her and I like challenging roles and she is from my hometown,” gushed Lin.
Asked on the frequent protests and blockades in her state, the actress expressed faith in humanity.
“I dont believe in any protesting or anything. I think people need to understand that it’s time you spread love. World War II has gone, we are much ahead, we need to love each other rather than fighting,” she added.
“Keep dreaming and work hard. If you believe in your dreams they are bound to be true someday ”- Lin Laishram
Miss Arunachal // Chapchar Kut // Manipur: Fashion // Miss Dimapur // Miss Manipur // Miss Mokokchung // Miss Myanmar 2012 (there are many Indpaedia pages about Miss Myanmar and Miss Burma) // Miss Nagaland // Miss Nepal: 1994 (there are Indpaedia pages about every year of Miss Nepal) // Miss Tibet: The contest (there are Indpaedia pages about every year of Miss Tibet) // Miss North East 1995-2003 (there are many Indpaedia pages about Miss North East)// Miss Shillong // Miss Wokha, Miss Tokhu // …and many more.
Akuonuo Khezhie // Carol Humtsoe // Delphine Marbaniang // Esther Jamir // Ethel Konyak // Geetanjali Thapa // Karma Pemyang Saratsang // Ketho Leno Kense // Kethose Nagi // Lin Laishram // Moe Set Wine // Nibir Shabnam // Prabal Gurung // Sonam Pachey // Sophia M. Sangma// Zennyla Bhutia …and many more.
The link Cinema-TV-Pop at the bottom of this page will lead you to a fuller list of articles about the cinemas of North-East India (and other South Asian regions). Indpaedia has a large number of articles about Assamese and Manipuri cinema. Assamese cinema// Manipuri Cinema // North-Eastern cinema