In the August Company of Shweta Rohira

I would love to know how you have so much creativity? You’re a writer, an actor, a painter and so much more! Did it come naturally or were you pushed into any of these?

I call myself an expressionist and I use these three forms to express myself. I wake up every day and think about what form of expression I want to use today. It is just expressing in 24 hours and dividing it between these three forms. 

How did it start? Did you know you wanted to do this ever since you were a kid?

No, I didn’t. In fact, even today I don’t think about tomorrow. It is all about today. I think I know what I want to do but I don’t have long goals. I used to be a lazy kid who wanted to stay home all day. My hobbies would be reading and painting to express through it. My Nana actually inculcated in me the habit of writing. He used to send me all these competitions which he found on Newspapers and I used to apply for them. I developed painting as a hobby as I coloured all these World Book and Child Craft Books.

How about acting? How did that happen to you?

Ever since I was a kid, I am very filmy, I used to watch a lot of movies. I used to watch them all day as well as these Pakistani dramas on VHS tape. Although I was always crazy about films , in my case, I got into acting accidentally. Theatre happened by luck, short films happened by luck. I think that it is one of my day dreams coming true. 

You get inspired by movies. Even your book, it’s called the Filmy Chick. Tell us about that.

The Filmy Chick – This is actually a fictional story about a girl who believes she gets her answers from movies and songs. For her, film life and real life are the same. She doesn’t just like heroes, she likes characters. It is somewhat based on me as I am similar. I would go to movies and get inspired by dialogues. Performing with Ananth Sir, who is a veteran actor is scary. And then in the wing is Bharath sir and you want to keep up to his expectations. I would listen to dialogues from Movies like Chak De India to improve my confidence. 

Everyone deals with pressure and expectations in different ways. What kind of tools do you use to deal with pressure?

You can’t make everyone happy. You can’t keep up to others expectations. So do the best you can and if you choose to do something that you love, there is no way that you won’t give it your best! So, if some project comes up , I first see if it excites me, only then I’ll give my 100 percent to it.

You paint and you write and a lot of this is emotionally driven. If you’re not in a good emotional state, how do you bounce back?

If you’re dealing with an emotion, I feel you have to accept it. The more you try to resist, the stronger it gets. I’ll voice it out, if I don’t voice it out, I’ll write it out. I’ll work on it and accept it. Or else, there’s always a good book out there, or a good movie or good company that can really cheer me up.

The type of things you work on has its own deadlines. If you would be in such a state of mind, how can you pull through and meet deadlines, especially in a creative field like yours?

When you finish a project, you are meeting someone else’s expectations, and how can they be at fault because of whatever emotions you are feeling? It works for me whenever I think about the people I’m delivering the project to, or the ones I’m performing for, and if that makes them happy, somewhere I find it in myself to pull through. 

Shweta has her own LIVE Series. So how did that happen?

Again, by accident. One of my friends decided we’ll go live and we’ll go from my handle since it will look like I’m interviewing. It started out like that and today I have about 105 sessions. It feels good and I feel very happy as though I’m sitting and having coffee over a conversation. 

What are some learnings from these people and how do you abide by that in your craft?

There’s always something you can take away from a conversation and meeting someone always has an impact on you. Live sessions teach you a lot as well! When you interview someone you’ll learn a lot from them. The way they see life, the way they handle stuff, and it somehow answers some question of yours that you haven’t thought about. 

We all create a community around us. Like women supporting women. How do you do it?

There’s always some way you can help someone. Like today, I’m helping a little through this live session. But you take such good care of your community. You support women so much and that is something I love about The August Company. I guess we should just hold hands and help each other in today’s times especially. 

Tell us about Selfie with Police.

I realised that when Police catch someone and ask if they are drunk, they don’t respond well. We should understand that they are doing it for our sake. So, what do you do with a loved one? You take a selfie.It shows that you love that person and you had a fun time with them. Taking a selfie with the police was my way to thank them and make them feel important. It has been three years since and people still do that. It feels good to know.

And you have painted for a few Police Stations right?

Yes, I’ve painted for 10 Police Stations in Mumbai. That was before Covid. I’m just trying to put some colour into their lives because I believe colours are important. The colours you wear and the colours you see. It was a good experience and I’m looking forward to getting out there again.

Initially we stuck to painting Indian maps but one Police Station in Gurgaon asked if they could paint for women, since there were a lot of women police out there. And then we did paintings and illustrations regarding freedom for women in Gurgaon police station. 

What is your Mantra in life to live a happy, simple life?

Living one day at a time. I don’t think about “Once upon a time” and  I don’t think over “What about tomorrow ?”  I just wake up every morning and think about today. 

Any advice for a young brand like ours?

I think the way you adopted modern prints and improved on Ikat prints is amazing. It is definitely something that young people want to wear but Indian clothing is now restricted to occasions. The way you are fusing ethnicity and modern wear is amazing. It is simple, beautiful, nice, ethnic and at the same time, modern.