A postgraduate in English and a lover of romcoms, Hashneen Chauhan’s passion to perform on stage led her to the world of entertainment. After having worked in various films and web series, Hasheen will soon be seen in Chaupal Studios’s films ‘Sab Fade Jange’ and ‘Hawa’, the actress shared with The Indian Express.
Born in Sunam, a city in Sangrur district of Punjab, Hashneen spent her childhood in Barnala before permanently relocating to Punjab’s Patiala district in early 2000s. Presently, she, along with her family, is settled in Patiala.
Hashneen’s father Sukhminder Singh Chauhan is a deputy superintendent of police (vigilance) in Punjab Police while her mother Tarpinder Kaur Chauhan is a homemaker. She has a younger brother, Palam Chauhan, who is pursuing a law course besides handling his own business. Hashneen’s grandmother, with whom she shared a close bond, passed away in 2020.
After matriculation from Our Lady of Fatima Convent Secondary School, Patiala, Hashneen joined Yadvindra Public School (YPS) and completed Class XII with humanities. For her college studies, she moved to Chandigarh where she did her graduation in English at MCM DAV College for Women followed by masters in English at Panjab University.
“A hopeless romantic”, she calls herself, Hashneen loves tuning in to slow romantic melodies. Not very fond of hip-hop or other popular music, the actor finds solace in music with sentiments. All songs of Bollywood film ‘Rockstar’ are her favourite, she says.
“I love watching romcoms. Films like ‘Queen,’ ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ are my top picks. Besides, the American TV sitcom titled ‘Friends’ is my absolute favourite. I am also quite fond of watching women-centric content and the kind of cinema Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu does. It’s amazing to see women pushing their boundaries in front of the camera,” Chauhan said.
Works till date
A novice in the Punjabi entertainment industry, Hashneen started her journey with web series ‘Yaar Jigree Kasooti Degree’ in 2018. The comedy series marks as one of the first successful web series in Punjabi. She has played roles in various films, including ‘Dakuan Da Munda’ (2018), ‘Yaara Ve’ (2019), ‘DSP Dev’ (2019) ‘Student War’ (2020), ‘Tunka Tunka (2021),’ ‘Chausar The Power Games’ (2022) and ‘Mahi Mera Nikka Jeha’ (2022). Besides, she has worked in Punjabi music videos such as Tarsem Jassar’s ‘Sangdi Sandgi’ and ‘Jodhpur’ by Dilpreet Dhillon.
“There are three projects in the pipeline. One is ‘Sab Fade Jange,’ a film by Chaupal Studios, where I will be seen along with artist Harish Verma. Next is a movie titled ‘Batch 2013’ by Hardeep Grewal Productions. The release dates of these projects will be shared by the makers soon. My third upcoming project is another Chaupal Studios film ‘Hawa,’ the shooting of which will begin soon in London (smiles gleefully),” she said.
How did you enter the industry?
“Honestly, I always wanted to be here even though I did not know the path or had no connection with people in the industry. Since my school days till my college life, I was actively involved in co-curriculars. Stage has always been an integral part of my life and performing arts my passion. While pursuing post graduation, I took part in Miss Punjab contest in Patiala and bagged the first runners-up trophy. It was after this event that the makers of ‘Yaar Jigree Kasooti Degree’ approached me for a role and I got the opportunity I had been aspiring for. I believe that when you are passionate about your dreams, the Universe responds to it in its miraculous ways,” Chauhan shared.
Claim to fame
“If I talk about people recognizing me, I think it began after the release of my first web series project itself. They usually recall me through the characters that I have played in films and web series. However, that ‘real fame’ is yet to come as there is a lot more skill that I have to showcase before my audience. I just wish I get more acting opportunities in the future so that I can bring out my talent,” Chauhan said.
Your secret sauce
“Nothing complicated. Do it if you like it. As an actor, if I like the script, I just go for it. Another thing is that I always remain positive about my work and it helps me deliver my best. Just keep working hard and stay motivated, the cosmos will guide you through it,” Chauhan suggested.
Thoughts about Pollywood
“I really appreciate how fast this industry is growing. We have moved on from period dramas to new story concepts like that of ‘Aaja Mexico Challiye’ and ‘Jal Vayu Enclave.’ Now, we also have our own regional OTT Chaupal, which is a breakthrough in Pollywood. Its emergence during the pandemic has provided employment to so many people in the industry besides giving a golden opportunity to filmmakers to execute their dream projects. With all these progressive changes happening in the industry, I just wish our audience becomes more accepting and supportive so we can tighten our grip in the world market,” the actor said.
She, however, added, “Despite all these positive developments, there are a few things that need to be worked on. Presently, the producers in Pollywood are focusing more on quantity than quality. Even though the number of Punjabi films being produced has increased, little has been done to improve the quality. Also, there is a lot of repetition of character artists in films and this pattern needs to be changed. Filmmakers should introduce new artists so that there is freshness and creativity in the projects. There is a lot of scope of betterment in the Punjabi entertainment industry and I am sure we will get there.”
“The biggest challenge was to stand up for myself. Choosing the life of your dreams is never easy and it wasn’t for me as well. Though I didn’t face any problem from my family, it was my relatives and friends and family who reacted on my decision and thought it was a stupid move to enter the world of entertainment. In those times of fear and confusion, the societal pressure made things way more difficult for me. It was indeed a constant challenge to shut those noises and follow my heart. However, I feel lucky that my father stood by me and supported me all throughout. Inspired by Amir Khan’s ‘3 Idiots’, he knew what it was to chase one’s dreams and follow the passion. Today, if I look at it, I can say that it was a fight but a beautiful fight as it strengthened my vision in life,” Chauhan shared.
From going to the gym regularly to following a workout routine at home, the pandemic has changed the fitness regime for Chauhan. “Now, I kick start my day with swimming and in the evening, I do physical training using exercising equipment at home. I feel I know my body better than any trainer, so I am my own instructor. One mantra I religiously follow for myself is no milk and bread after 5pm,” the actor said.
Mantra of success in acting
“Give it time. Some more time. That’s how I do it. Once I choose a project and get the script, I just immerse myself into it. I just start living the story, delving deeply into its characters, its background details, its history, its geography and everything. Engrossing myself into it and rehearsing my role is what helps me perform well. In cases, when there is little time to prepare and I have to act in a short span of time, I might just do as good, but I won’t feel satisfied. For me success is to feel content with your work and it comes to me when I am well prepped,” she said.