Pride of Jammu: Neha Lahotra- Dancer, Writer, Theatre artist and TV actor
Neha Lahotra- an eminent face of Jammu- has been associated with theatre from the past eight years. She began her life as a theatre artist in 2007 and has bagged many prizes and awards for her remarkable performances with various directors in these years.
Not only theatre, Neha Lahotra is also equipped in dancing, writing and singing. She has been an active participant in cultural activities during her school and college years. Her first ever play was when she was in 12th standard in ‘Display your talent’. However, she has always wanted to serve the society as a teacher and still aspires to be one.
She released her first debut video album with T series. Apart from that, she was the lead actor in one of the most famous Dogri serials- Chanchalo. She has worked in various Hindi, Dogri, Kashmiri, Pahari and Urdu and has bagged many awards. Her best play was Damini, scripted by herself, directed by Vikram Sharma- which was based on Nirbhaya rape case and she also won the Best Actor award for the play. She has worked with Channel V and Savdhan India. Most of her plays are women oriented, scripted by herself. She desires to unleash the exploitation and oppression faced by women in our society with her strong female protagonists and women empowering scripts. She has won the Best Actor award twice from the J&K Academy. Her theatre team Shivani Cultural Society is also an active theatre group in the region. Aspiring to be a director some day, she says Theatre is a great platform for the youth to learn and grow.
However, in Jammu the theatre sector is comparatively less active and the government also doesn’t encourage the artists. Abhinav Theatre is the lone platform for them and they don’t even get their payments in time. She says that they need support and motivation from the authorities but the careless approach of the government is discouraging for the artists. Jammu serials should be encouraged and the sector needs to be improvised. She expressed that the artists protest but nobody from the concerned authorities cares to attend their pleas. She said that DD Duggar should also be there to promote the culture and values of Dogra society, like DD Urdu does for Kashmir.
Her father is a businessman and mother is a teacher. “They wanted me to be a KAS officer, but they never discouraged me from my goals,” she shared, attributing her success to her parents and in-laws.
Theatre helps you learn from ground level and demands persistency and hard work. She advises the youth to associate themselves with the Theatre department as it helps you learn and grow in all spheres.