News & Information From Northeast India

Playing Cheeni in Paatal Lok was close to my heart as I faced such things in real life: Mairembam

Mairembam Ronaldo Singh aka Henthoi has been able to win accolades for her role in the much-talked Amazon Prime series ‘Paatal Lok’. The transgender actor from Manipur is one of the first such actors to reflect the real to the reel in a web series.

In an interview with The News Mill, she shares her struggle as a transgender in society and actor.

Mairembam said that she could see her real life through her character Cheeni or Mary Lyngdoh.

“I played the role of a transgender who is abandoned by her family at a young age. I could easily identify with the character since growing up I faced a lot of difficulties surviving in this society. The role of Mary Lyngdoh was one that is very close to my heart,” Mairembam told The News Mill.

She added that they have always faced discrimination in the society. “The things that make me sad and unhappy are the negative attitude that society has upon people like us. Discrimination, oppression and isolation are the challenges that we, as transgender, need to overcome in our fight against injustice. As a vocal member of the transgender community, I hope to spread more awareness and achieve equal rights for us in the future,” Mairembam said.

A transgender, whose role in the mission was to pretend to be a woman and allow safe passage for the others, Cheeni’s story and struggles held up a mirror to society’s inhuman treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. Many hailed her role in the series.

“Though the experience was wonderful, playing such a tough role with a different background in terms of language and culture was very challenging. We had to hire a trainer to teach me Hindi and prepare me for my role. I am really glad people liked my performance as this is definitely the most unforgettable and challenging role of my life,” Mairembam said.

A self taught actor was chosen from a local theatre group in Manipur by the casting directors.

“Ever since my childhood, I have always been passionate about acting. I used to act in front of mirror and repeat dialogues before starting to act in local theatre groups. When I was auditioning for the show, never did I, it my wildest dream, imagine that I would be selected for the role. I am very thankful to the team for selecting me and giving me the opportunity to play such a powerful role so early in my career,” she added.

Sharing her experience working with some of the best in the industry, Mairembam said that it was a great learning experience.

“Being part of such a well-written story and acting alongside such versatile actors was a great learning experience for me. Knowing that this was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, I decided to soak in as much as I could about art and cinema from the director and artists of Paatal Lok. It will always be my most memorable moment in my life,” she said.

Now, after the success in Paatal Lok, she vows to continue to work for the transgender community, raising awareness about education and self-empowerment within the community.


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