Vinita Chatterjee – Biography
Claim to fame
Vinita Chatterjee is a Popular Indian Actress, a former Journalist (CNN Tv18), News Anchor (Asia Television UK), VJ (Zee Network), Travel Show Host, Singer, Rapper, Motivational Speaker and Content Producer. Yes, she wears many hats with elan.
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Her claim to fame is the popular Bengali serial “Mem Bou” (Hotstar /Star Jalsa) which made her a household name as the British girl Carol Brown. She is also famously known as Ritu, the bubbly Punjabi girl from Star Plus mega serial “Ek Hazaron Mein Meri Behna Hai” for which she bagged the FICCI and Cinema Century Awards. Vinita is also the leading lady of Bollywood singer Shaan’s super hit Music Video “Tu Mera Rab Hai”.
Her talent is not just limited there. She is the Producer and Host of the Celebrity Travel Show “Vinnie Diaries”. She recently got huge accolades as the first Bengali Actor turned Rapper for the Recreated Original Song “Apna Time Aa Gaya” which went viral and hit millions of views on Youtube. It was a tribute to the popular song of Gully Boy, “Apna Time Ayega”. It’s her production venture from her brand Vivacious Mediaworks which is set to produce music videos, travel series, short films, and web series. Her song “Proper Patola Remix” is the recreated female version of the popular Badshah and Diljit Dosanjh song has a fresh vibe.
She was also the first Indian Actor Singer to collaborate with international Pop sensation Akcent in VH1 Tour in India.
Early Life and Academics :
Vinita Chatterjee was born on the 19th of May in a small town in Sodepur, Kolkata. Born to Army Mother who was also a Bengali poet and writer, Vinita was always inspired to achieve her Dreams. Her father (a Chemist) inspired her to seek the unknown. She studied in St. Xaviers Institution, Sodepur, and pursued higher studies from the prestigious Loreto College with Post Graduation in Mass Communication and Journalism.
She bagged many scholarships in school and college, including UGC Indira Gandhi Scholarships for excellence in academics. She was a school reporter for Times of India and TTIS at the age of 14. At 17, she was chosen as the youngest journalist of CNN IBN while studying in the first year in Loreto College.
Social Welfare :
Vinita is a proud Vegan and an Environmental Activist, who lends her support to PETA, Greenpeace, WWF, and Animal Rights group. She wants to live an inspiring life and be known as “The Dreamer who Dares” which is also the title of her biography. The girl with a purpose, who aims to make this planet a better place for all.
After Guru Randhawa and Kapil Dev, she is 3rd celebrity in this interview series and first female celebrity, we have interviewed here. So you must read this fascinating interview on her vegan diet and life transformation after her accident:
Below, the exclusive interview with Vinita Chatterjee.
- When did the thought of becoming a vegan strike your mind?
I love animals. I always wanted to be the voice of these voiceless creatures. I have treated many animals, adopted and rehabilited them. I believed in the concept of ahimsa, i.e. non-violence. How could I ever be a hypocrite and eat them when I always fought for their rights?
I was born in a conservative Bengali family where fish is the staple food. As a child, when my mother forced fish down my throat, I would throw up. I recollect I used to rescue little animals from the meat shop, facing harsh punishments. Yet, I was resilient. I grew up as a Vegetarian.
Love for nature and the wildlife always kept me down to earth. As an environmental activist, I volunteered with the Centre for Science and Environment, BBC Earth, National Geographic, WWF, Greenpeace, and PETA. While partnering with PETA, I suddenly came across the documentary COWSPIRACY. I was intrigued as it sounded like some conspiracy. That opened my eyes to the harsh reality of the dairy industry. One after the other, I was exposed to the horrors of the Meat, Egg, Dairy, Leather Industry. If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a Vegan.
Baby male chicks are ground alive in a fast grinder in the egg industry. I challenge everyone to see those reality videos. We are paying for these horrors.
The milk industry is the meat industry which later turns into the leather industry. Imagine a woman raped serially, with artificial insemination, forced to be pregnant continuously to keep producing milk, their baby was stolen from the mother, the woman crying in pain and agony, tied to milking machines that suck her blood, pus and pain along with milk.
She is the mother cow. From living a natural lifespan of 20 years, her body breaks down due to exhaustion of continuous milking that she could now live for only 3 to 4 years, with growth hormones and antibiotics laden in her body.
Her baby is stolen and if it’s a male calf it’s sent for slaughter in the veal or meat industry and if it’s a female calf her life becomes another torture cycle like her mother. Sentenced to life imprisonment and exploitation, rape, cruelty and torture till death, that’s the life of these poor animals who are meant for our consumption of cheese, milk, dairy, beef, veal, leather, and gelatine.
I could not be a part of this torture industry. I was previously a cheese addict but thanks to the PETA videos, I feel happy to make ethical choices.
To cleanse my Karma, I have removed the blood, pain, and torture of the Sentient Beings off my plate. They ask where peace begins. Is it in the mountains or forest or seminars? I say peace begins on your plate.
Today Veganism is the only sustainable option. It reduces our carbon footprint drastically. Animal Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to Global Warming causing Global Catastrophe and Mass Extinction. Animal agriculture causes large scale Deforestation, Air and Water Pollution and ground water depletion and Climate change.
According to WWF and UN reports 60 % of Animals are already Extinct due to human consumption for food and fashion, poaching and rapid deforestation and only 40% is facing extinction.
Animal products also cause Osteoarthritis, Diabetes, PCOS, Cholesterol, Hormonal Disruptions, Heart Attack, Cancer and much other life threatening diseases.
So, in order to save ourselves, at this critical time, we all need to be aware, overcome our dependence on animal products and switch to plant based diet and alternatives.
What challenges did you face to become a vegan?
The biggest challenge I faced was the addiction to Casein. Casein is the protein component of milk. It is addictive as any other narcotics. It is as addictive as nicotine. When people quit smoking they get into a withdrawal craving. The same happens when they try to get over their milk addiction. Initially, I confess, overcoming dairy and cheese addiction was quite a challenge. But my subconscious mind would say, at least it is better to sacrifice your taste buds than to have a bite of somebody’s pain and torture. How cruel can we be for our taste buds?
Animal milk causes weak bones as they are acidic in nature and are loaded with unhealthy saturated fats. So in order to neutralize the acid, the body extracts calcium from our bones thus destroying the calcium in our bones. We get all the protein, calcium and other nutrients from plant milk.
I had to be my own watchdog. Initially, it was an active choice, but then I realized the cause of Veganism, was far greater than my addiction. Yes, I overcame my milk addiction, only when I replaced it with coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, soya milk, etc.
You will have to replace your milk with plant based milk rather than stopping the consumption of any kind of milk altogether. Or else we fall into the withdrawal trap. Initially, I used to have freshly grated coconut milk, which tasted far better than cow milk. So first the taste buds changed, and then my dairy craving diminished. I replaced dairy cheese with the yummy Cashew Vegan cheese.
While going out, I started snacking at cafes with Vegan meal options, like the Birdsong Cafe in Bandra, where they have fantastic cashew cheese pizza. I started looking at vegan cooking videos to prepare amazing home-made cheese and other vegan meal plans. I started going for vegan potlucks in Vegan support groups in different cities and started networking with Vegans of India group on social media. There I met Vegan Athletes, doctors, fashion designers, activists and felt at home with this Vegan family worldwide.
Even when I am shooting outdoors, where there are no vegan food options, it becomes difficult, I admit. That’s when I prefer fruits, veggies, juices, dal chawal, dosa or any vegan food without ghee or butter. They say where there is a will there is a way.
We all need to make conscious ethical choices and stand for our cause for saving the lives of billions of animals worldwide, ultimately our planet.
- What diet did you prefer before becoming a vegan?
I used to be a vegetarian all my life before Veganism came my way. My all time favorite was Punjabi food because of the delectable taste. I also love ‘Aloo Poshto’(Bengali dish), Kashmiri Dum Aloo. I was a crazy cheese addict, so I would swear by Italian food (pizza, pasta, lasagne, etc). Currently, my favorites are the humble Vegan Moong Dal Dosas and Rasam.
- What changes did you bring to your diet plan after you decided to become a Vegan?
I really started treating my body as a temple. Previously I was suffering from various ailments due to poor lifestyle choices and dairy addiction like PCOS/PCOD and hypothyroidism. The moment I discovered a well balanced Vegan Diet and a healthy lifestyle choice cures most of the diseases, I really wanted to give it a try. I am a firm believer in the concept “see it to believe it”. I stopped all prescription drugs for hypothyroidism and PCOD and switched to holistic Ayurvedic Therapies, which surprisingly also recommends removal of all animal products, including animal milk, from the system, in short, a healthy Vegan diet.
I started watching Ayurvedic health and wellness videos for my research on Self Healing. I came across Dr. Biswaroop Roychowdhury’s videos and I was amazed. He has been healing people with RAW VEGAN DIET with a formula called MRP (Milk, Refined, Packaged) Food Replacement Module. I learned so much about health and fitness through my research that today I don’t feel the need for a dietician.
My morning meals include coconut water, freshly grated tender coconut and dry fruits. These are a great source of plant protein. Coconut water is alkaline and restores the PH balance of our body. I prefer to have vegetable juices of different colors especially, red, green and orange. These colors include vegetables like coriander, mint, celery, cucumber, beet, and carrot. I also eat my fruits in the morning with my own formula ANAC (Alkaline, Neutral, Acidic) module.
I follow a healthy green diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I prefer to eat organic food as most of the food in the market, is laden with heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, and other toxins.
There are organic stores online from which I order most of my food. But if we have to buy from the market, I suggest we wash the fruits and vegetables in baking soda infused hot water, and definitely removing the peels. The peel is laden with chemicals and pesticides. If not removed, the toxins go into the bloodstream and cause damage to the internal organs causing liver disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, PCOD, and even cancer.
I suggest we all switch to Healthy Organic Vegan food. I have a nice kitchen garden, and I grow most of the leaves that I eat. All these make me clean, green and happy.
- In the past, you met with an accident due to which you were unable to walk for a long period of time. How did you overcome that situation?
Yes, I met with a deadly accident way back in 2014 which almost made me paralyzed. I was the actress performer at an event where we were performing an aerial dance act, as you see in Bollywood award night events.
Along with two dancers, I was tied to a harness and a cable. During the rehearsals, the harness snapped, and we all fell from a height of around two storeys into the auditorium. The accident happened to incur a terrible injury to the three of us. I was semi-paralyzed. Three discs were completely torn apart (herniated) on my neck and two discs were completely ripped off from my lower back. I was bedridden in the year 2014, and I thought there was no hope, and I was depressed. I was an erstwhile gymnast, an athlete, a badminton player. I was utterly devastated because professionally, I was an actor, singer and dance performer, so everything about my career had to do with mobility and agility.
Doctors prescribed me complete bed rest and traction for 6 months. All physical activities were stopped. As a result, I was in a vegetative state. Stress and anxiety took over me as I was the only breadwinner of my family after my parent’s retirement. Uncertainty of the future led to sleepless nights and insomnia. Due to immense stress, I was suddenly diagnosed with hormonal imbalance, PCOD, and hypothyroidism causing sudden weight gain. In one go, I was struck with this critical condition. I gained so much body fat due to PCOD and hypothyroidism that I could not recognize myself. That’s when I felt the only way out is the only way up.
I believed I wouldn’t let anything defeat me as long as I have my breath. I took up the challenge of healing myself. I started researching about recovery from a herniated disc, practiced alternative therapies, and started the following yoga. The recovery was extremely slow, at the snail speed, but somehow I decided that this is not the end of my life. I started physiotherapy and recovery yoga therapy that included spine strengthening exercises, light cardio like swimming and slow walking. But nothing was helping my fat loss.
When the lightning strikes you, you get light, and you get a better life. That was the time, as a ray of hope, Veganism came my way. I gave up my dairy and cheese addiction. The raw vegan diet helped a lot. It healed my diseases naturally but gradually and I was filled with hope and optimism.
Today I am a resurgent girl. I have come back on my feet. It took me three years to strengthen my spine. Today I can do almost anything be it singing and dancing on stage, live performances, acting, action, and other activities. But yes, my doctor tells me to be cautious as the pain resurfaces from time to time. I wouldn’t say that I am 100% healed, medically. I am only 40 % healed but my will power leads me on.
- What routine did you follow before stepping into the field of acting?
Well, you may call me a destiny’s child because I never planned to become an actress. Destiny literally gifted me with the art of acting. I used to be a Broadcast Journalist for CNN IBN earlier. Alongside, I was the Anchor and presenter in many events across the globe. In one such Award show, I performed in a comedy skit called “Sholay Reloaded”, the modern comic version of “Sholay”. The head honchos of Star Tv who were also the chief guests loved my comedy so much that they offered me the role of Ritu, a bubbly, chirpy Punjabi girl in the ongoing Star Plus Mega Serial “Ek Hazaron Mein Meri Behna Hai” in 2013. Surprisingly within just three months, I was honored with the Best Actor Debut Award from FICCI Awards and Cinema Century Awards 2013.
Well, the critics in the film and television industry have called me a “Natural Actor” from the very beginning because my goal was to represent every character with honesty and conviction. So my preparations included learning about the character’s core and its value system. To become the character, I needed the time, imagination to not only get to the head of the character but to its heart. This required leaving the soul of Vinita and amalgamating with the soul and ethos of Carol Brown or Ritu to present their true emotions. I was humbled to be known as an honest, resilient and persistent actor among my critics.
- According to you what is a ‘balanced diet’?
Well, the answer lies in the question itself. The word “balanced”. Our diet needs to have a balanced quotient in order to have its impact, on nature, environment and the planet as a whole. We need to have a diet that is sustainable, holistic, harmless, causing least damage to the biosphere; a diet that doesn’t add to global warming, or causes greenhouse emissions or create climate catastrophe or lead to the mass extinction of animals.
Unfortunately, Animal Agriculture is worldwide known to be the single largest contributor to greenhouse emissions leading to climate change. Well the UN has referred to 60% wildlife extinction due to rapid animal consumption, and non-vegetarian lifestyle, so it is an absolutely unsustainable diet. The only sustainable option for the future planet is a Vegan Diet.
For me a balanced diet is the holistic Organic Vegan Diet with protein, vitamins and all micro and macro nutrients from plant sources. Certain components to be eliminated in a balanced diet, includes animal products like meat and dairy, packaged, refined and processed foods.
I am recently exploring the organic, raw, vegan trail where due to the raw form; the enzymes are alive and have an address coding. Food with this address coding functions as a medicine targeting specific ailments in our body. Thus, diseases can be reversed, as food becomes our medicine.
Also in terms of food, I have a firm faith that food which is alive will also make you come alive. Dead food can slowly make you die inside. We are what we eat. Apart from the metaphorical aspect, it is so real.
It means if you are consuming a fruit that is fresh and has not changed its colors, it has got components that are alive, the address coding is there, as such, food heals your system. When dead food is consumed, the address coding completely disappears from the food, and as a result, the nutritional value of the food gets lost in translation, and the system is unsure how to utilize the food. Even due to over cooking and excessive frying, we kill the nutrient value, and hence food becomes junk, and the system goes into turmoil trying to take out nutrients from that food. Inside the body, this junk becomes dioxin which negatively impacts the whole body functioning.
So, we need to eat fresh fruits, vegetable juices instead of packaged juices, which are nothing but artificially concentrated sugar, chemically treated, and are harmful to human body. The organic mechanism of our body find it challenging to cope with such acutely inorganic food, so any kind of packaged or processed or refined food negatively affects the body.
That is why I believe, food that is alive will make your body a garden, rather than a morgue.
- Where do you see yourself after 10 years?
Well, it’s a difficult question. How do you know you will be there on this planet for the next 10 years?
That’s why, I live life each day to the fullest, with gratitude and joy of giving. I believe in having only short term goals. I feel Change is the only thing Constant so I embrace it whole heartedly. For me, life is a beautiful rollercoaster ride, an exciting, thrilling journey whose every chapter I want to savor. I am an eternal explorer at heart, on my voyage, venturing out for the sheer thrill of discovery. My life’s motto is to Be the Joy to See the Joy. We need to manifest what we seek. I feel I am born to seek, to share to nurture and to be an inspiration by living an abundant life.
The last 10 years of my life, I have changed dynamically, from aspiring to be a geographer and an Earth scientist to being a Journalist, a Teacher, an Anchor, Travel Show Presenter, to becoming a Lead Actor, Singer and now Producer.
My media house Vivacious Mediaworks will grow exponentially in days to come featuring Travel Shows, Music Videos, Web Series, Branded Digital Content and Reality Shows. I have a Dream series in mind called the “Vinnie Diaries”. Initially it will be a celebrity travel show. Later it will bloom into a classical saga, featuring books, movies, fiction and nonfiction series. It will include the adventures of a little girl, Vinnie. Vinnie is a fictional, magical character and is not really Vinita Chatterjee. She is a little girl who calls herself the “Dreamer who Dares” which is also the name of my autobiography.
Alongside, I have planned to author a few books, a few movie scripts which I have partially written for the Indian Bioscope.
Way back in 2014, when I met with the deadly accident, I had ample time, in a semi paralyzed state, to vent out my emotions through my pen. The pain was the mother of invention in my case, and I reinvented myself as an author. I started writing scripts, screenplays, short stories, and books. Hopefully, in the next 10 years, all my stories will emerge from script to screen.
I also dream of being a famous Pop Diva. I want to perform globally creating original music in my favorite genres like Caribbean, Reggae, Latin, Spanish, Jazz, and Blues. I want to give birth to fresh content, as a Producer, in the sphere of cinema, music, literature, fine arts.
Also, as an avid environmental activist, I would like to inspire people to switch over to Green Technology, Solar Energy, Bio Fuels, Rain water Harvesting, Reforestation, Plastic Waste Recycling, Smart Waste Management, and Sustainable Developmental programs.
I am on the verge of creating awareness programmes on carbon footprint reduction, so that man becomes a responsible child of Mother Nature. Enough of extracting from nature, its high time, we give back or face extinction.
Let us gift Nature what it has been gifting us for centuries, the green cover. In order to fight the chocking pollution we need to Go Clean, Go Green. Industries need to switch to alternative sources of power and clean fuels those are sustainable, nontoxic and renewable.
I am a follower of Manoj Bhargava who inspires us with the concept of “Billions in Change”, an alternative form of energy efficiency and agricultural sustainability.
I dream of an organic movement in this country. 200 years ago, we practiced sustainable, organic, eco-friendly agriculture; as a result, we had a healthy life. Let’s rewrite history and recreate the dynamics of the ancient golden era. I feel the 1st chapter should be clean food and water. We need strict measures against the adulteration of food and water. Severe measures should be imposed for adding poison to our food and water through Fertilizers, Herbicides and Pesticides and other chemical pollutants.
Government policies need to change. Food adulteration causes cancer and other life threatening diseases. The biggest scam of modern times is the food adulteration. We need to grow organic non- genetically modified (non-GMO) food and have our seeds fresh and organically preserved, revive our soil from the toxic fertilizers through our traditional ancient bio fertilization techniques. That will raise the productivity level of soil and prevent farmer suicides. We need to stop water pollution with a smart waste management program in the country.
Air pollution is our primary concern today. We need to stop factories from burning pet cokes and fossil fuels. We need alternative sources of energy. Overall, for our own well being, we need to be energy efficient and eco friendly.
I feel if almighty has entrusted me with the responsible platform of media, as a journalist turned artist, I must strive to bring about a positive change in the mindset, through my awareness campaigns. Through Vivacious MediaWorks, I dream to create original content aiming at animal rights movement, environmental awareness, sustainability, global peace, and amity.
What tips would you like to give to all the fitness enthusiasts?
The 1st tip: Try not to burn out in your fitness enthusiasm. We need to burn the food steadily so that it gets converted into energy; instead of indulging in heavy exercises, which results in a total burnout. Fitness should be a lifestyle change. If it’s a short term goal, a lackadaisical attitude will soon settle in and you get back to square 1. Result? Zero.
I feel fitness is a renewed form of daily life. It doesn’t have to be excruciating. It should be comfortably in moderation. Which means, eat, sleep, drink in moderation. But when it comes to laughter, you should laugh out loud! The more you are happy, the more you burn out. So few diet tips:
- Eat raw organic vegan and healthy food.
- Eat more vegetable juices and fibers
- Eat the fruit
- Consume plenty of pulses
- Have a rainbow on the plate. Include multiple colored vegetables as every color has a specific nutrient.
- Workout 30 mins in the morning and evening in moderation. If you want to achieve a goal first do a blood test to figure out your body type. No one’s diet tip can work for another as all body types are different.
- I keep a lot of things constant like drinking coconut water, greens, papaya watermelon cucumber, include raw turmeric, ginger, garlic.
- Try not to be addicted to pharmacy drug. Try replacing them with healthy Ayurvedic food supplements verified from certified Ayurvedic doctors.
- If you can grow your own kitchen garden have food from them. See internet application and tutorial on how to have a kitchen garden. There is a Singaporean company that helps you to grow your own vegetation having greenhouse indoor facility
- Fitness cannot be achieved without good sleep. Workout turns futile with deprived sleep. I remember when I was working in “Mem Bou” on Star Tv, we were shooting for 20 hrs a day for 30 days month. Long schedules and lack of proper sleep led to many lifestyle diseases. Remember sleep detoxifies your brain, your brain works faster when you sleep deeply; you become sharper and smarter.
- Study in moderation, sleep a lot and revise your content. Fitness for your mind.
- Fitness should be a part of your mind, body and soul. If you are really stressed, go for therapies, meditation centres, prayer meetings, motivational seminars, laughing clubs. Fitness of mind and soul is very imported. Fill yourself with an all-around fitness program and this caters to your Fitness of mind, body, and soul.
10. What message would you like to give to the readers?
Well, I will only say one thing. There is only one life. Live life ‘haste khelte’. Life is too short. Play, have fun, enjoy every moment of your life. Be the change to see the change. Let’s be a blessing for the planet.
11. What are your views about our website Find Health Tips?
I really feel your website inspires a lot of people to step up and be a real-life motivation. You have featured people from all walks of life, revealing their challenges and journeys. and I feel really honored and empowered to be featured in your story. God bless u all and let’s keep up the good work. Let’s join hands and make our planet healthy, happy and roaring! Lets Hustle…!!!