Sonam C Chhabra has been an Emcee for over a decade and her energy and love for the stage has only got stronger with time. Not just in India, Sonam has hosted events across the globe. She recently got back after hosting an event in Cape Town and will be heading for her next show in Tokyo soon. This vivacious and confident presenter, who was recently awarded with EEMA Best Anchor Silver Awards 2018 and 2017, has faced the camera for a Hindi feature film which will mark her debut as an actress. Here are edited excerpts from an interview.
What are the qualities one needs to have to become an emcee or an anchor?
In order to be an Emcee, it is important to possess a lot of qualities starting from wit, intelligence, humour, spontaneity to being a people’s person. One needs to be well informed and well read. On stage there are no retakes, therefore to be a confident emcee one has to be equipped with a knowledge base and the ability to take a curveball whenever it comes along.
You are a voracious reader, so how exactly has this helped you?
Well I feel imperative for an Emcee to read a lot. Reading broadens our horizons and fuels our imagination. I read extensively about the organisations and brands I represent on stage. It helps me connect with the brand ideology and represent them in a better way.
What kind of preparation do you do before getting on the stage?
I like to go to an event with my homework in place. I do extensive reading and research about the brand, organisation or family that I represent. I believe one should be abreast with the content of the event so that one doesn’t have to memorise everything by the word. I believe in being spontaneous and interactive on stage.
You became an emcee by chance. An emcee did not turn up for an event and you had to fill up for her. Would you like to share that incident?
I am from Hansraj College, Delhi University. We have this annual college festival which is really popular. Thousands of people gather for this event “They say the best things happen by chance, and that’s what happened with me too. I entered the world of anchoring by accident”, reminisces Sonam, akin to how Alice first stumbled upon Wonderland. “It was at my college festival when the emcee didn’t turn up at the last minute, that my friends urged me to fill up for her. That is how it all began, it was definitely the call of destiny,”
But, you had never thought about being an emcee?
Not really. Being an anchor was not the plan. During my college days we were all tuned to get a degree and pursue a full time job. But I guess life had other plans for me, and here I am!
Is there anybody you look up to or are inspired by?
Everybody has someone that they see as an inspiration, someone to look up to. For me, it’s Oprah Winfrey. She has revolutionised the world of anchoring and presenting. She is an institution and a very inspiring woman.
You are about to make your acting debut soon. Tell us something about your film.
I am fortunate to be playing the lead role in the upcoming Bollywood movie “Kirket”. Our nation is passionate about two things – Cricket and Movies and my debut movie Kirket is perfect combination of both. I have played the lead role which incidentally is of an Anchor so it came naturally to me.
Did you undergo any training before shooting for the film?
I stayed in Bihar for few months and we were a part of an extensive workshop with the rest of the cast and the crew. We travelled across different towns and villages of Bihar to understand the real life situation of sports and struggle of budding cricketers. There is a cricket stadium in Darbhanga. I used to go there, sit and observe the players and the game for hours. We have tried our best to keep the film a raw and realistic.
What are you going to do next?
Right now, I am happy being a live host. I was awarded the EEMA Best Anchor India (Silver) award recently. As far as acting is concerned, I am going through few scripts and will be finalising my next project soon.