Singer Kumar Sanu’s daughter Shannon K recently made her Bollywood debut with Vivek Dahiya and Sanjay Mishra in Chal Zindagi. The road trip film was released on May 26. The Free Press Journal caught up with the singer-actress for an exclusive interview.
Shannon made headlines recently for attending the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. “I never thought of being there. I was so excited yet nervous as it was my first time in Cannes. I was the last to walk before the legendary Harrison Ford. I could see him there and it was an overwhelming experience. It will be a memorable moment forever,” she gushes.
Opening up about her role in her debut film, Shannon shares, “I play an American music student who comes to India in search of authentic folk music. She convinces her parents to allow her to go on a solo trip and she explores places on her bike where she comes across other characters of the movie on the way. In the film, I’m also singing with my father, which is an honour. There’s so much to learn from him.”
She adds, “He’s like a school to me. It was a wonderful experience. I also learned Hindi for the film which was a challenge. I was conscious when delivering the Hindi dialogues but Vivek sir and Sanjay sir helped me during those specific scenes. Most of my dialogues are in English though."
Shannon then talks about her transition from singing in the West to acting in Bollywood. She says, “I had a brief call with Irrfan Khan sir a few years ago, he was so encouraging. I’d say the most selfless human being I’ve ever spoken to. He suggested that I get into acting. My dream to work with him was left unfulfilled but I pay my respects to him.”
Shannon further elaborates, “Later, I had interviewed Govinda sir for a US radio show and during our conversation, he too suggested that I try acting as he saw the potential in me. As I received these suggestions from such talented actors, I thought it was some kind of a calling from the universe, telling me to explore myself as an actor.”
Despite being the daughter of a legendary singer, Shannon says she grew up in a ‘middle-class mindset environment’. “My parents made sure that we had a normal childhood and not any celebrity kid treatment. I grew up in London and Los Angeles so I had to do my own work, no pampering like Indian kids. I think that taught me to value things I have and be humble and appreciative towards people. I am thankful to God that I’m the daughter of a legend and I’m so proud of my dad and his achievements. I literally worship my parents," she reveals.
Opening up about her struggles, Shannon says, "When I started my career in the West, it was totally like a newcomer, full of struggles as no one knew dad. The major struggle was to fight against racial discrimination. At every step, whether in school or at work, I realised that I come from a different country therefore I don’t fit in. It was hard to stand up for myself as a brown young teen and have people listen to what I have to say. I remember singing in cafes and family restaurants in the beginning. I started my career in 2017 and it was a gradual progression. Due to the music and achievements in the West I got the opportunity in India to sing for music directors. So it was through my past work which brought me more opportunities."
Shannon says she didn't know how to deal with bullying. "I was young and I didn’t know how to deal with bullying, racism and mocking criticism. I admit that due to my age and lack of experience, I ended up in hopelessness and depression. I was quite fortunate to have my family’s support who brought me back from the black hole and made me realise that I’m capable of doing whatever I want to do with perseverance. Gradually, I dealt with everything and now I don’t really bother about it unless it's constructive criticism coming from my loved ones or true fans which would help me improve rather than demotivate. I don’t think you should give anyone the power to affect you in a way where they are in control of your life," she concludes.