Renowned northeastern actor Lin Laishram made her Bollywood debut in Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om (cameo appearance). After which she played a small part in films like Mary Kom, Rangoon, Hattrick, and Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. And finally, after sustainable years of struggle and hard work she has got her due. Lin's recent web film 'Axone' was released last week on Netflix where she plays the protagonist Chanbi who is from the Northeast, staying in Delhi. The film explores racial stereotyping and prejudice that is told through humour and food (Axone).
For the unaware, 'Axone' (pronounced 'Akhuni' is named after the fermented soya bean staple typical to some parts of North-East India and known for its pungent smell).
Directed by Nicholas Kharkongor, the film was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) in 2019, besides being feted at festivals outside the country.
In an exclusive chat with International Business Times India, Lin Laishram talks about her reasons to do the film 'Axone', the hardships and struggle she has gone through as a northeastern actor to sustain herself in Bollywood, how she deals with racism owing to the pandemic and being called 'coronavirus; and more.
Excerpts from the interview:
On challenges, she faced in Bollywood as a northeastern actor,
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I would like to thank everyone who has watched the film and written such beautiful, heartfelt messages and shared their personal experiences of discrimination and racism; I am glad that I could represent a part of what we go through everyday when we choose to live out of our states. This movie is very close to my heart and I have lot of sentiments attached to it. . . My hear is full of love and gratitude right now. . I am reading all the messages, DM's, emails, whatsapps and comments. Thank you everyone for taking out the time to write and appreciate my performance and the film. For those who haven't watched the film, it is streaming on @netflix_in. Please do watch it. #axonethefilm
There aren't great roles for a woman in Bollywood, and coming from a minority it's a great struggle for me, hardly any writer-director picks me up. I am glad Netflix has picked up this subject and the film Axone that talks about a subject that people haven't seen or heard about.
About the film 'Axone' which is a staple food of Northeasterners:
A South India food is different, Kashmiri cuisine is different, likewise northeast also has a portion of different food, their cooking style is different. The film 'Axone' is based around a real incident a lot of people in Delhi, their landlords have complained and called police as the dish (Axone) has a pungent smell.
Ever since the outbreak of novel Coronavirus began, northeast actors fell prey to racism some of them were also called 'coronavirus'. A few months ago, actor Meiyang chang shared his tryst with racism and now Lin too has faced it.
On being called 'Coronavirus',
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Throwback to my first modeling portfolio pic. It was shot on a film camera and I had to wait for a week to see these images. I sound ancient now. ??? I love me some film cameras more then the digital. Love the whole experience of developing, printing and all the tam jham.❤️ . . . Make up @namratasoni
I haven't faced anything on social media with regards to this, but yes, in my normal life people have stopped me and called me 'coronavirus'. On the 7th of February, I learnt that coronavirus is also part of racist. Yes, I get hurt, and I am sensitive about the issue when it is done knowingly or when an educated person does or says such words. I don't get upset when, a slum kid calls me something that is not to be called, because he doesn't have exposure and he isn't aware of it.
On work and payments issues that northeastern actors face,
There is no work, forget about the payment. If I get a project like an Axone I don't talk about payment, for us getting recognition and work is of top priority. Hope that with this film people will get to know more about our culture and background.
The trailer of the film 'Axone"