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Verve People
January 18, 2018

Their Fathers’ Daughters: Prerna Arora And Virender Arora

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photographed by Shubham Lodha

Just as Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogrammed trunks reflect the Maison’s heritage, we discover a beautiful continuity in the blend of the old and the new, as witnessed by these father-daughter duos. Here we speak to power producers, Prerna Arora and Virender Arora

Prerna Arora on her father

“As a child, I did not always want to follow in my father’s footsteps. He is definitely my hero, but I strongly feel that he had a lot of potential and could have done much more. He remained content with what he was doing. Perhaps, because he hailed from North India, he had his limitations — he compromised and adjusted. I didn’t want to be like that. As a girl, I defied social boundaries when I came to Mumbai to do what I wanted to do.”

“My father dons many hats — he is a farmer, an agriculturist and a film producer. He has worked hard all his life. I remember him being very protective about me. I look upon him as a god — not just as a dad. The hardships he has faced have left an indelible imprint on my mind.”

“Dad taught me to be fearless. He urged me to be wary of pity and sympathy. He told me to never get unduly influenced by anyone. Believe in yourself; believe in your dreams — a cliche, but he believed in it.”

“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt from him is how to conduct myself with dignity no matter what happens. Whatever arrows life threw at him, he always took them in his stride. Thanks to him I’ve learned how to be self-sufficient and unruffled by troubles.”

“My father opened the production house, KriArj Entertainment, with Arjun N. Kapoor who’s our business partner. He is not creatively involved, but he is part of the business aspects of the film. Though he is not a movie buff, my father is now working with me as a partner, and that is a big deal for me.”

“I take problems to my father only when I am at a breaking point. When we lived in different cities, I would seek advice from him when I was very tired and needed a second opinion on how to handle things. He’s showed me how to solve my problems.”

“As a producer, he has told me that it is not just about making films. He believes that one must back the right horse. He emphasises that it is necessary to do what works today and what is relevant right now.”

“Being a producer is tough — and as a woman I would say it is tougher. You first need to be accepted, as the industry is sexist. And you have to prove that you know your job and can do it well. It is only when your films begin to succeed that you gain acceptance.”

Virender Arora on his daughter

“Prerna as a child was very lovable. She was a sincere and emotional girl. She has carried some of these qualities into her adult life as well.”

“Living in North India, she was not exposed to much. Unfortunately, where we lived, girls were — some still are — not allowed to move into the working arena. I remember being strict about her studies and schooling, and watching over her.”

“She matured early because she saw me struggling. She grew up with a sense of responsibility and soon started helping me with my difficulties. By the age of 15, she was determined that she had to go out and become someone so that she could prove to me and the world that she had it in her to succeed and reduce my burdens.”

“I always wanted her to do something significant. So by being strict, I may have shaped her dreams and life goals as we would often talk about them. I didn’t want her to be a doctor, IAS officer or a district magistrate — I did not push her to consider any of those coveted professions. I wanted her to be a woman who commands respect. I did not want her to lead a mediocre life.” “Prerna is making good movies and addressing social issues through her work. She sticks to her commitment. She takes her job seriously and does not compromise on anything. Everyone she works with is important to her.” “I initially felt that the film industry was too harsh and not the right place for her. She is a very emotional person and I worried that it would affect her. Before Rustom (2016), she sat with me and we had a long chat. I understood that she would not do anything else. I told her, ‘Now, go out and do it, but make sure that you succeed.’”

“She is a big name now, and I am proud of her. This field is so competitive, so one has to be like a hawk, waiting to pounce on the right opportunity at the right time. There are some top actors and directors and everybody wants them, so it’s not easy. You always have to be on your toes, there is nothing called ‘taking it easy’ here.”

“She is a woman of character, power and dignity. What she has imbibed from me is the importance of being dignified. That is my basic principle in life. Whatever you do, in whichever field, no matter how small or big, conduct yourself in the right way and with dignity.”

“My advice to her today would be ‘Go ahead’. If she wants stability, she needs to work hard. Success here is ephemeral. The beginning is only the foundation. Build on that.”

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