By Sohel F Fidai :
Of late, Bollywood has been steering away from conventional movie plots to emotionally stimulating stories that offer good food for thought. Among the many game-changers who have brought about this trend is the young and aspiring producer Prernaa Arora. Hailing from the scenic city of Dehradun, Prernaa’s creative instincts have been ingrained in her from the beginning. Debuting as a Film Producer with the Akshay Kumar and Ileana D’Cruz starrer ‘Rustom’, Prernaa announced herself in the industry with a bang, raking in profits and praises for the film’s tremendous success. Later, with ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’, she helped break the orthodox chains that have fettered women for ages, and continuing her success streak with Akshay Kumar, she presented ‘Pad Man’, another barrier breaker that had a nationwide impact on the audiences. Over a mid-afternoon chat, Prernaa candidly spoke about herself, and her views on the significance of Women’s Day that just passed by.
Despite the streak of success in Bollywood, Prernaa, unfortunately, had to go through her share of strifes. But, the determined woman that she is, she refused to let these struggles waver her spirit, and rose above them all in a very dignified manner. She chooses not to dwell on the past and elaborate on those issues anymore. “At the start, every day, instead of being able to pick up the pieces and move on, I had to go through a long period of mental harassment because of some spiteful people,” she said. “Nevertheless, maintaining my silence and not taking names or throwing mud is a choice I made, because actions speak louder than words. There is something called ‘God’s timing’, which I truly believe in. All I would need to do is concentrate on my career and ultimately, the truth will prevail by itself. Despite all the hardships and the extremely unfair treatment I have received, I know that there is justice in this world and I will surely not be denied. My faith in myself and the supreme power is intact. Having said that, let people not take my quietness to be my weakness at all. I’m resolving things and my life in my way and doing the first things first. I’m here to work, bring my passion for good cinema to life, and be happy. I refuse to let my haters bring me down, however hard they try.”
Dismissing the miserable tale with a warm smile, Prernaa moved on to talk about a subject she feels passionately about. In the spirit of International Women’s Day Month, Prernaa shared her take on creating a gender-equal world. “Quoting this year’s theme – #EachForEqual – I believe that a truly gender-equal world is one where gender is not a conversation at all; where we can go beyond the labels of ‘man’, ‘woman’, etc. and just identify people for their abilities. I don’t want to be seen as the best woman in my profession, I simply want to become the best. The ultimate goal of #EachForEqual should be to remove the concept of gender altogether from the dictionary of recognition and capability.”
By this point, it’s been well established that women who work in films have a tougher time of it than men. And not one to shy away from speaking her mind, Prernaa Arora too reflected on the footing of female professionals in the world today. “It cannot be denied that the industry that I’m in, as well as all other professional spheres, is making significant progress to treat women right. The problem is that we’re starting from practically nothing – with rampant sexism, discrimination, and bias being the base. From that view, the progress looks stunning. Women can be confident enough to be seen for their work and not their gender in the workplace. But if we make comparisons with a truly utopian view of equality, we’re still quite far from it. There aren’t nearly enough women directors, producers, and leaders in all spheres. There still are cases where women who are as talented, if not more, than men, are still at the lower end of the gender pay gap. I’d say every small step taken is an important one, and kudos to all the reforms that have happened, but we do have a thousand miles yet to go.” On that, we couldn’t help but ask her if she has her own mantra that empowers her, and she replied, “Well, there are many, but the one that fits this context the most is – ‘Every time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all the women’. This quote seriously invokes my inner goddess who’s ready to take over the world,” she laughs.
It is amazing to see how a woman so young, having seen such hardships is as composed and strong-willed as ever. To this wonderment, she replied, “I was always inspired by the stories of Napoleon growing up, particularly the one where he talks about how a spider motivated him to go back and win a losing war. The tale goes that after losing all hopes of winning the war, he took refuge in a cave and happened to notice a spider weaving a web, and despite failing several times, it kept going till it weaved the whole thing. That being said, resilience is a value that I have always admired in those around me – from the people I know to mythical creatures like the phoenix, which can arise from its ashes. Thinking about these elements helps me feel empowered even in my lowest moments.”
Having geared up to work harder than ever, Prernaa Arora has already set sails for announcing her new film which will no doubt be another thought-provoking masterpiece. To know more about it, keep watching this space!