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2 Indian women won the Oscar today for best Documentary Short Subject category. Here's what we know about Guneet Monga, the producer.
“This is historic. First Oscar for any Indian production. Two women here won this. 1.4 billion Indians this is for you. To all the women – the future is audacious, the future is us and the future is here.”
This above is Guneet Monga’s speech upon winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Short film along with the director Kartiki Gonsalves.
What is so special about this award, compared to all other movie awards where India has been recognized on global platforms? Well two women did this!
In mainstream cinema in our country we are all too familiar, even as viewers, that it is clearly a male dominated industry. It speaks volumes where a movie like Pathaan, without any concrete storyline as realistic, creates sheer madness at the box office only because of the male star. While a leading lady is touted as looking fabulous yes, but nothing really about her role in the film. Clearly a male hero film from the get-go. I do not recall any female led movie having this impact, other than on social media or in real conversations.
And today when two women got their hard work, vision and sheer talent recognized, it would still be looked at as India’s win. No doubt. But let us not forget how these women have fought the odds to be where they are and stand tall and proud with much humility on a global platform, not for designer clothes and photo shoots – but for their sheer bliss at having their vision reach this magnitude.
Guneet Monga’s journey that led to this is not marked by having generational connections or otherwise in movie making. Today the CEO of Sikhya Entertainement, a production company started as a Delhi girl from a Punjabi middle class family.
As she says in a post on Humans of Bombay. she grew up as any other girl, however family conflicts over property soon turned ugly and even abusive. While living in a joint family, an argument escalated to a point where she reported that family members tried to burn her mother alive and it was her father who grabbed them and ran from there. While her mother harbored dreams of having a 3 bedroom house on the ground floor with 3 steps by the entrance, Guneet was determined to achieve this for her mother.
She dabbled in various jobs from being an announcer at PVR, DJ, selling cheese, and an anchor she did it all to get there. While in college she began frequenting Mumbai to work in movies, went from a coordinator to a production manager. And soon she had enough money to contribute towards booking a house but unfortunately lost both her parents within 6 months of each other.
William Shakespeare mentions “Tears water our growth”. And that’s what Guneet did. She moved to Bombay for work and continued working in films barely sleeping more than 4 hours a day. She recalled how her father sold his gold kadaa to send her to her first school trip to U.S.A., wanting her to see the expanse of the world, no matter what sacrifices it took for them. Today the same young woman stands on a stage in that same country, on one of the biggest stages in entertainment, receiving an award representing an entire nation and showing what its women are made of.
No longer on borrowed dreams, but fulfilling her own and helping so many others, knowingly and unknowingly achieve theirs. The Oscar might be gold plated but Guneet surely turned her grief to gold.
*Fact check – Humans of Bombay*
Image source: YouTube
Soul centric and free spirited all the while living life through travel and adrenaline junkie activities. Counselling Psychologist and Educator by vocation. And a life and laughter enthusiast by heart. Usually found daydreaming about her read more...
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