Monga’s ‘Out Of The Box’ Film-making

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Guneet Monga Kapoor, 

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Guneet Monga Kapoor is living proof that an outsider too can make it big in the Indian film industry. She has made history by becoming the first Indian to win an Oscar, for her Tamil language documentary, The Elephant Whisperers. Her father was a property consultant in New Delhi and mother a homemaker. Monga moved to Mumbai after her parents died in 1991 when she was 23. The name of her film production company, Sikhya, translates into ‘learning’. “I am a student of life,” she says, adding that much of her education involved self learning and picking up everything she could from mentors that included Anurag Kashyap, Vasan Bala and later Pan Nalin (Nalin Kumar Pandya) and Melita Toscan Du Plantier (Hollywood producer). The stories of how she funded her movies are the stuff of legend but she says they are true. The innovative fund-raising involved crowd-sourcing on Facebook to borrowing from friends and family and even selling her house. Did she always dream of winning an Oscar? “I manifested it in some ways. I always had these $5 (plastic) statuettes in my shrine at home and used to wonder when the real ones may land up,” she says. The upcoming projects include an action film, a sci-fi series called Gyaarah Gyaarah and a Netflix documentary on Yo Yo Honey Singh. “You can never put me in a box. I will always do something with a spiritual impact,” she says. Time will tell if Monga crosses over to other genres but what is unquestionable is that she has put India on the map with her particular brand of story-telling.