SRINAGAR: A Kashmiri Pandit girl, currently residing in Delhi, has made her mark in the film industry. Eleena, originally from Kokernag and belonging to a family that migrated to Jammu, has recently appeared in the film “The Kerala Story” as the character ‘Husna’. She has also played the role of ‘Roohi’ in a short film called ‘Idli Amma’ (2023), a biopic about M Kamalathal. Eleena is hopeful that ‘Idli Amma’ will achieve national recognition and win a prestigious National Award.
Eleena attended the Institute of Home Economics (Delhi University) in New Delhi and pursued a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She took acting lessons from The Indian School of Acting in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication (2021-2023) from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
“I wasn’t aware for a long time how to get into movies, but when I came to Delhi in 2017, I got in touch with many well-known people associated with films and theatre who guided me on how to become an actor. It was my maternal grandfather’s dream to see me in films. He would always make me watch great films from the golden age. Bollywood, Hollywood, world cinema—you name it. He was all about sophistication and class and tried to instill that in me,” she said.
She mentioned that she was suggested to take acting classes as every profession needs proper training. “It took me about two years to decide. Later, I joined the acting school where I learned acting for one year,” she added.
Soon after completing her training, Eleena got a film titled “Idli Amma” where she worked with veteran actress Sarita Joshi, and the film is going to be released soon.
Eleena said that she later received many projects, but she rejected them as she prefers to play characters with great artistic merit and likes to be satisfied with her work rather than doing anything substandard or something she isn’t proud of.
“My message to aspiring actors from J&K would be to learn the art, study acting, go through training, watch films, study books on acting techniques, read short stories, develop a great imagination, and practice mindful listening to become a good actor,” she said.
“J&K has a lot of talent, but most of them are stuck fulfilling the dreams and wishes of their parents, and they aren’t allowed to choose their fields and pursue their dreams, which needs to change. We don’t want unhappy adults stuck in a robotic life, each day drowning in the abyss of unfulfilled dreams. Regrets of never having tried are heavier than the remorse of having tried and failed,” Eleena said.
“The Kerala Story” is a movie focused on the contentious topic of love jihad, involving the conversion of women in Kerala to Islam and their alleged abduction to ISIS-controlled Syria at the peak of the group’s power.
In November 2022, the teaser of the film ‘The Kerala Story’ was released by director Sudipto Sen, claiming that around 32,000 girls were converted to Islam and forcibly plunged into the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, where they are either turned into suicide bombers or sex slaves. The trailer faced backlash for allegedly depicting the state as a hub of radical Islamic terrorism. Tamil Nadu-based journalist B. R. Arvindakshan filed a complaint seeking a film ban unless the director substantiated the facts. He argued that the movie could disrupt peace, unity, and integrity, leading to communal tensions.
A case was registered under sections 153 A & B of the Indian Penal Code, which addresses promoting disharmony and enmity between faith-based groups. Sen, however, addressed a press conference and said that the film itself would address all questions and concerns upon its release and he would later further substantiate the other questions. (KNO)