Sheena Bhattessa is making a name for herself as an actress, having just completed the play The Great Game at The Tricycle, which is to tour the USA later this year, as well as ITV’sThe Fixer. Sheena’s Bollywood blockbuster roles include Love Aaj Kal and Jhoom Baraber Jhoom.
What training have you received?
Throughout my academic education, I trained part-time with LAMDA; never at a full-time drama school. But I would grab every opportunity to act, from weekend acting courses to summer RADA semesters to local theatre productions. After university, I escaped to New York to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for a year, where I focused on screen acting. This was a full immersion into acting, which I loved. My classical theatre training in London and screen acting in America really developed my versatility and, I think, combined with my academic education, gave me the confidence to stick it through thick and thin. But I’m still training. It’s an ongoing process, never quite complete, along with the life experiences I have and use, and learning from other actors which helps along the way.
What kind of roles attract you?
I don’t shy away from any opportunity. I love meaty roles, where the role I am playing really has a journey to go through. A character which is very different to me as a person would be a tremendous challenge. The opportunity to transform myself so the audience doesn’t recognise me, that gives me the chance to take them on an incredible journey. I am also a fan of languages and am very keen to explore different cinemas, French and Spanish films being some of my favourite. That’s the great thing about acting–you can be whoever you want!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an actor?
Aim high and stand out from the rest. And always justify your character’s actions to get into their shoes, whether they’re in love or a murderer. Oh, and don’t ‘act’!
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far
An incredible play in London called The Great Game with which I will be touring the US from September to December 2010. I am a beginner in this wonderful game so look forward to many more significant moments.
You’ll die happy when…
I know I won’t be forgotten. But why die happy when you can live happy?