The Elephant Whisperers wins big at the Oscars: Producer Guneet Monga opens up on a difficult childhood, reveals she ‘sold cheese on the streets’ | Hindi Movie News

It is a historic day for the country as The Elephant Whisperers, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga, has won Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards. In a double whammy for the country, MM Keervani and Chandrabose’s ‘Naatu Naatu’ from the movie RRR has become the first Indian song in a Telugu production to win an Academy Award in the ‘Best Original Song’.

In an interview to Humans of Bombay, Guneet Monga opened that how it hasn’t been a smooth sailing for her, all this while. She said, “I’ve lived a life of borrowed dreams. I grew up in Delhi, in a Punjabi middle class family. To the world we were happy–but no one knew what happened behind closed doors. My family was allotted 1 room in a big house. Because of the fight between brothers over property- my mom was suppressed. They abused her… Once, the argument got to a point where they tried to burn her alive-my father called the police, grabbed us & ran out of there.”

She further went on to add, how she took she had to start contributing to the house as a teenager. She added, “At 16 I started working while balancing schoolwork–I sold cheese on streets, was an announcer at PVR, a DJ, an anchor…you name it! In college, I began coming to Mumbai to work in films. I went from a coordinator, to being a production manager. Whatever I’d earn, I’d give it to my parents for our dream!”
Guneet also opened up on how heartbreaking it was to lose both her parents within six months of each other. Taken aback, she packed her bags and moved to Mumbai, engrossing herself in work. She said, “Each film was a challenge. Crowd-funding, international sales- but I loved it! I wanted to hear my mom’s ‘you did well’ or my dad’s ‘proud of you’. I still remember my father had sold his gold kadaa to send me on my 1st school trip to USA- he wanted me to see the world, no matter how challenging it was for them.”
She added, “So in my happiest times- whether it was at the Oscars or when we produced Gangs of Wasseypur & The Lunchbox.. Or when I launched my production house… all I wanted was my parents beside me. But I know they’re at peace where they are. Someday I’ll see them again & get my ‘well dones.’ But for now, I’m going through life, collecting happy moments for them. I hope they can be proud that I’ve finally stopped borrowing dreams. I’m my own person now & maybe that in itself is a dream come true!”

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