Bollywood movies often make an attempt to alter our approach towards things in life. Remember ‘3 Idiots’, the Aamir Khan-starrer blockbuster released in 2009? The film gave us two messages – one was to chase excellence and the other was to pursue own passion instead of being a part of the rat race. This message in the film seems to have been personified by Mahjabeen Fatima alias Sofia, a second-year engineering student and a creator on short video platform Likee from West Bengal’s Kolkata. Along with her education, Sofia decided to follow her passion and even took stride towards the same, overcoming herself from the conventional middle-class norms she hailed from.

Sofia was introduced to the world of Likee by her brother in 2018. Being an aspiring actress, the idea of creating own videos through an app appeared a boon to her. Positive responses to her initial videos by people she never knew deeply encouraged Sofia, who then decided to continue using the app. “I then started posting more videos, and after incessant attempt for almost one month, I started getting overwhelming response on Likee,” she says.

As the journey proceeded, her fan base on the global app saw a gradual expansion and as fate would have it, officials from Likee contacted her, following which Sofia became a recognized Liker. However, the battle was yet to be won at home, as both her parents wanted her to concentrate on studies rather than focusing on video creation. In Sofia’s own words, her mother made several attempts to convince her to give up the idea of becoming an actress, citing the constraints of hailing from middle-class. But things changed when Likee sent her an invitation to attend an event.

“I was thrilled when I got the invitation. Though my mother was apprehensive about it, but I managed to convince her, primarily because the venue was very close to my home. In fact, I took her along and the event was an incredible experience. I got to meet many new like-minded people and also got a lot of information about the app,” recalls Sofia, adding that the experience also enabled a change in her mother’s perspective.

The desires were still limited, as all that Sofia wanted was a Likee T-shirt. Little did she know that much more was in store for her. Likee became the source of her first income ever, thanks to her live streaming session on the app. “After hosting a few live streaming sessions when I got the message saying ‘withdraw’, at first I thought it to be a fake, but soon I discovered that it was all in real,” says Sofia. While this development was further encouraging for the aspiring actress, it also altered the thinking of her family members, who started supporting her to an extent.

“Likee has changed my life completely. Earlier I was under lot of constraints, but now after two years, my parents have realised the potential and scope of it. When mom went with me to a Likee event, that was a great moment for me as she felt proud of me when she realized that people recognized me and appreciated my work,” says Sofia.

Sofia’s live streaming sessions are particularly popular on Likee and she is among the highest paid streamers on the app at present. Owing to her skills and popularity, her fans have named her “Expression Queen”. When asked about her own role model and favourite actress, Sofia’s response was in sync with the same – “Madhuri Dixit, she too is known for her expressions”.

The journey of Mahjabeen Fatima signifies how choosing the right technology and platform can help common people pursue their passion and strive towards their fulfilment of their dreams. It is also an inspiration for many youngsters who have limited means but unlimited dreams. According to Sofia, such youngsters should use their mobile phones for more creative purposes rather than whiling away their time in games and other non-fruitful acts.