It’s always the success of a person which attracts us. But very few know about the journey and the road traveled to reach this success.
Guneet Monga is a path-breaking Indian film producer for whom the journey was definitely not an easy one.
To start with, no one showed up for her first film, Say Salam India.
The film is based on an unrivaled passion for cricket. It was sure to work in a country that is crazy about cricket.
But unfortunately, the film came right after India was out of the World Cup in West Indies. The cricket fans couldn’t come to terms with the failure. A film was which was made to be loved received backlash. Crickets fans were angry and the film failed at the box office.
It is a huge discouragement for anyone just starting out. She had to repay the investor.
She didn’t just give up and traveled across the country to sell the film.
Voila! She was able to do it. She went to schools in Delhi and Punjab and booked single screens. Ultimately, the film had 250 screenings and she recovered the money.
This groundbreaking incident made it clear that she is unbeatable and she knew her job well.
Guneet Monga – Recipient of Second-Highest Civilian French Honor
Life came a full circle for Guneet when the honor of Chevalier dans I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) was conferred upon her in April 2021.
Since she is born and brought up in Delhi, receiving the award in Delhi was an emotional and very special event for her.
She began her career with an Indian-French-German film, Valley of Flowers in 2006.
She stepped into the big shoes of a producer at a young age. When she produced the 2015 BAFTA nominee, Lunchbox, she was just 29.
“Anyone can make a film, passion, tears, and blood all withstanding but finding an audience for it is a different struggle altogether. Finding an alternative audience that is not restricted by region or geography and channelizing the right stream for the Indie effort at a global level has been Guneet Monga’s forte. A route less traveled in India. A definite new hope.”
That’s what a part of her profile on Anurag Kashyap Films says. She is truly a trailblazer opening the way for many female producers in India.
Guneet Monga: Winner of 2019 Oscar
Guneet Monga was in news for her historic win at the 91 Academy Awards in the category “A best Documentary short film for her ‘Period. End of Sentence’ highlights the struggles and challenges Rural Indian Women face during menstruation.
She is a producer, founder of a production company, Sikhya Entertainment, and has won an Oscar in February 2019.
Guneet Monga has won several applauds in the past for her exceptional successful movies like ‘Masaan’, ‘Gangs of Wassepur’ and ‘The Lunchbox’.
The Hollywood Reporter in 2012 voted her as one of the top 12 women international achievers. She has given more than ten successful movies.
Journey of Guneet Monga
In a post in the ‘Humans of Bombay,’ she narrated her story of struggle and hardships.
Guneet says, She has lived a Life of Borrowed Dreams
Ms. Monga says that she has lived a life of borrowed dreams. She grew up in Delhi and was born in a middle-class Punjabi family. Her family had one room in a big house and was a witness to abuse and fights from relatives, over the property.
Her mom was suppressed and one day her relatives even tried to burn her mother alive, her father preferred leaving the property and just ran away to save his family.
They started afresh. In order to realize her mother’s dreams of a three BHK house, Guneet would both study and work.
At the age of 16, she began doing random jobs to earn money such as selling cheese on streets or working as an announcer, anchor, or DJ.
She saved enough to buy the dream house. However, who knows what’s in store, her parents died within six months of each other before they could move into the house. After their death, she sold her house and moved to Bombay for work.
After completing her mass communications course, she worked as a production coordinator for many films.
She once said in an interview that initially she was not taken seriously because of her age, profession, and background. Many people are still not aware of what exactly a producer does.
When she did Lunchbox, she was expecting genuine appreciation for the film but many people just called it a fluke.
But as we know, she continued to work into what she believed in and made everything work for her.
She put her heart and soul into her career and ventured in 2007 with her movie Say Salaam India. From then to now, there is no looking back. She has literally built her career on independent films which speaks volumes about her courage.
As a producer, she has made 23 feature films, 75 short films, and five documentaries, including an Oscar-nominated short film.
Before Oscar 2019, she was also one of the fifty artists from the Entertainment Industry to be featured in Variety’s International Women’s Impact Report 2018. The only other Indian artist who was featured on this list was Deepika Padukone.
In 2018, Guneet became one of the first Indian producers to join the Producer branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Incredible, isn’t she?
And in 2021, she is the recipient of the second-highest civilian French honor. Hats Off to this braveheart producer.
The memories of her parents are fresh in her heart and she lives with an unshakable spirit. Guneet lives for the present making every day an ideal day.
She aspires to create content that resonates with audiences from India to the US. Being the exceptional woman that she is. she continues to inspire many.
Guneet, we salute your indomitable spirit and await to witness your magic on the big screen in the future.
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