Meet Vancouver arts professional, Rohit Chokhani.
The 2016 Diwali Fest is currently underway, with events taking place around the region through November 30. Visit http://diwalifest.ca for more information.
Meet Rohit Chokhani
Born in Mumbai, home to Bollywood, he thrives in a vibrant performing arts industry. His childhood was surrounded by cultural taboo regarding artistic freedom and was exposed to religious conflicts, so he searched for a platform to express himself and turned to the arts, producing his very first event at the age of ten. He continued performing, producing, and engaging in the arts while pursuing an education in Computer Science and Engineering.
The cultural pressure of pursuing an education and his increasing passion for the arts finally came to a head so he took a leap of faith and left everything behind to fully commit to his passion. He produced and directed film and theatre independently and then worked with a collective to deliver his first theatre production at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, winning Talk of the Fringe Award and launching his theatre career in Vancouver.
Rohit is thrilled to be a part of Vancouver’s arts and culture community. Striving to make performing arts equitable and sustainable, he recently launched a sector development initiative called Project SAT (South Asian Theatre) to create a network for developing, touring, producing, and presenting national and international South Asian-themed theatre projects in Canada.
20 Questions with Rohit Chokhani
1 Your first job.
Computer test engineer. Don’t even ask!
2 The job you always wanted as a child.
I always wanted to be Bollywood actor and/or play for the Indian Cricket team as a kid.
3 Your pet peeve.
As a South Asian this might sound hypocritical, but being on time is a big thing for me.
4 Your hero.
He-ros and She-ros!? We need to start using gender neutral terms as a society. This changes depending on when you ask me. Bollywood Director Sanjay Leela Bansali and Hollywood Director James Cameron have always inspired me. Locally the work of Jovanni Sy at Gateway Theatre, Tetsuro Shigematsu / Donna Yamamoto at Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre and Margo Kane at Full Circle has been very inspiring. Ravi Jain in Toronto, Rahul Varma in Montreal, and Anita Majumdar in Toronto are worth mentioning as well.
5 Your biggest indulgence.
Samosas, Chai, Pav Bhaji, and Wada Pav.
6 One thing no one knows about you.
I would love to learn how to sing and play music for local Kirtan gatherings.
7 Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.
My partner Ashley Rose, spiritual books, and my parents.
8 The one word your best friend would use to describe you.
9 If you were not pursuing a career in the arts, what would you be doing?
10 Hero or villain?
Sachin Tendulkar, one of the worlds greatest cricketers, and Bollywood Icon Amitabh Bachchan.
11 Your life’s motto/mantra.
12 The song that gets the most play on your iTunes playlist.
“om namo guru dev namo” by Snatam Kaur
13 The last book you read?
“Shrimad Bhagavatam canto 11”, an ancient Indian Vedic scripture.
14 If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be and why?
It’s not cartoon in my world but is a god in South Asian culture and has inspired a lot of cartoon characters as well – Lord Hanuman – the greatest servitor of the world.
15 What will it say on your grave marker?
I am from India and so I won’t have a grave. My body will be burned and my ashes will be immersed in the sacred river Ganges and there would be a ritual for my ancestors with sacred chants of Haribol!
16 Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Ashley Rose, my partner.
17 Your idea of happiness.
Its a state of mind that is transient.
18 The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.
My parents and my partner Ashley Rose.
19 If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20-year old self?
Be crazy enough to be an artist sooner and don’t worry about money, social pressure, cultural pressure, etc.
20 To be or not to be?
Namaste – I see you! OM!