Komal Chautala or Chitrashi Rawat, two names often interchangeable, define one spunky girl who hails from the picturesque town of Dehradun. Not many people can taste success at the box office and applauds from critics and audience with their debut, but Chitrashi is one of the lucky few like her first co-start, the Badshah of Bollywood- Shahrukh Khan.
Chak De! India has been a landmark movie and the character of Komal was much appreciated. The National level Hockey player showed grit and raw emotions. Her portrayal of Shomu in Fashion was also lauded. Chitrashi Rawat is not only exceptionally talented on camera and the field, but she is a beautiful human being too.
Do you envy Chitrashi’s toned figure, well learn her fitness secret-the five-minute rule– and you too can feel fit and healthy. The former athlete talks about physical well being as equally important as mental health and that it is necessary to acknowledge one’s feelings and emotions to remain happy and positive!
The Voice of Woman had the absolute privilege of having a heartfelt conversation with the bubbly Chitrashi Rawat on her views about the current position of women sportspersons and women’s sports in India, as well as mental health issues, and much more.
Read on to find out:
How was the experience of working with the superstar Shahrukh Khan?
My experience of working with Shahrukh sir was amazing. I was young, naive, and playful- I used to make bets with him on who would score a goal first. He was so grounded that he would happily take the bet and have fun with me.
It was such a learning experience just to be on sets with him. His humility, his wit, and his experience of life- were quite an astounding thing that we all got to see and learn.
He never made us feel that we were newcomers and he always treated us as equals and made us feel so comfortable. It is an experience that is unforgettable because, despite being such a huge superstar, he made us feel respected and comfortable on the sets.
How was the transition from being a National level Hockey player to an actress?
My transition from being a national level Hockey player to becoming an actress was very organic. It all started with my debut film Chak De! India. I had gone for my national tournament in Madhya Pradesh and there Shimit Amin the director of the film was auditioning lots of girls and I happened to be there.
I just gave the audition without thinking much. I come from a sports background, we have an attitude of always going with the flow and trying new things, and I did that! They liked my audition and I got a callback and then next I know I am in Mumbai.
The filming process started and that’s how I learned most of my acting stuff, as earlier I was completely unaware about the entire process of shooting. But by the end of my first film and after I did a few more films, I started learning a lot- so, whatever that I have mastered, I have learned on the job.
Women’s sport doesn’t get as much attention as men’s sports, how do you feel that this can be changed?
When we talk about women’s sport not getting as much attention as men’s sports, I feel that when Chak De! India came out; we broke that barrier and played the role of a catalyst in this whole scenario. When the film was released it had an immediate impact and put the spotlight on the women’s Hockey team and in general on women’s sports.
Nowadays, women’s sports and players do get that attention that men get. The level field is balancing, it’s still not at the par but when we compare from where we were and our present scenario, the change is just fantastic!
Sports is the best way to promote women empowerment, but families often forbid girls from playing, what do you want to say in this regard?
I feel a lot has changed in the last few years relating to women’s sports. Earlier families would forbid their girls from pursuing sports as a career but if you see the ratio right now, the amount of women sports personalities that we have is amazing.
There are so many of these young girls who come from a humble background and villages like Dipa Karmakar, Hima Das, Phogat sisters, and Mary Kom- one of the first to break the barrier and is still bringing so much glory for the country. There are other amazing female sports personalities like Harpreet Kaur, PV Sindhu, and Sania Mirza, these ladies are the epitome of women empowerment.
So, I do believe that times have changed a lot yet it’s not much but I do feel that we are on the right path and women’s sports and sports personality are getting the spotlight that they deserve.
Your Instagram profile shows that you are a fitness aficionado, can you please share a few tips with our readers?
As a former National level Hockey player, fitness has always been a part of life. I come from Dehradun, Uttarakhand, so hiking, rock climbing or climbing trees is something that I have always done. When I talk about fitness I mean your entire being- mentally, physically, and emotional fit.
The easiest tip that I can share is the Five-minute rule. It is very simple and you can apply it at any time of the day. So, just give yourself five minutes and jump-start your work out and just decide that in an entire day I am going to set aside 5 minutes and I am going to do those 20 squats, 15 push-ups, or anything that you like- even if it is dancing.
Just keep it very simple and move your body. From there onwards, you will start enjoying it and you will be able to trick your mind that you have achieved 5 minutes of work out session. Gradually you will move to half-hour sessions.
How do you deal with failures and setbacks in life?
For failures or setbacks, I live by one mantra- that don’t let your failures go to your heart and don’t let your success go to your head. Just be neutral and move on with life.
You have acted in multi-starrer films, how can one hold their own in an ensemble cast?
It is quite amazing to work with an ensemble cast. I feel that if you fine-tune your mind and think of yourself as a student. If you are there on sets to learn from the people that you are working with because there are chances that you would be working with people who are far more experienced and knowledgeable than you are.
If you take it with a pinch of salt and take it as a learning experience, it becomes much easier and at the same time, you can hold your ground. You have to feel aware of yourself and you need to work on your craft. Always be prepared and do your homework and that helps in making your job easier to be on sets amid a big star cast and being around the other actors.
As a sportswoman and celebrity, can you tell us the importance of mental health in dealing with umpteen challenges of life?
We all have difficulties in our life and face different challenges and we can overcome them only when we are taking care of our mental health. To that, first, we need to accept that there is a concept of ‘mental health’ and we need to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally.
To do that we have to be aware of ourselves and address all the emotions that we feel. It can be either a positive emotion or it’s a negative emotion or even if you feel angst, angry, or even a feeling of jealousy, competitiveness, or anything else. But the first step I feel is to address all these emotions that you are feeling and accept them. As we are humans after all and we are capable of feeling myriad emotions.
Once you come to terms with that, the next step is to move on. First accept, second address, and third is move on. So, the idea is to face reality and not live in denial and it’s okay if you feel down and it is fine if you aren’t feeling positive. Always keep one thing in mind that what you are feeling today, you may not feel the same thing tomorrow because change is inevitable. That’s how I believe we can keep our sanity in check.
The most important thing is to reach out to your family and friends. If you share, there are people in this world who would care. So, never feel that you are alone in this world- you have family, friends, and there are so many different portals where you can pour your heart out. Never be ashamed of talking about your emotions and feelings- be proud of it. Keep yourself occupied, entertained, and do the things that make you happy. Find your curiosity, hobbies- just do what your heart desires and never stop learning in life!
Who has been the biggest inspiration for you?
Honestly, for me, I never had one person whom I can say that he/she has been an inspiration for my life. I truly believe that I get inspired by those people who are passionate about life and passionate about their passion. I get inspired by everyone that I come across and anyone who is doing well in their life.
I get inspired by the small moments that I share with people. I hear about inspiring stories and people from all over the world- no one person per se has inspired me. I feel there are a lot in this world that one can draw inspiration from.
My source of inspiration has always been me. I am quite good at giving myself a pep talk. A lot of time I see my old photographs and workout videos and check myself that this was an amazing time and I should do that. We all have that tendency and I feel that everyone can get inspired by themselves because we all have that certain quality within us.
Please share a message for our readers through the Voice of Woman.
The thing that makes us women strong is the guts that we have to be vulnerable. We can feel the depth of our emotions and we know that we can walk through the hardest things in the world. So, never feel ashamed of your emotions. I feel there is power in vulnerability. Every woman is full of hope and potential and never let anybody tame your heart.
Shine away, you are glory, you are power!
Lots of love,
– Chitrashi Rawat