As part of the Star Plus Nayi Soch initiative, we unveil a series of father-daughter interviews that challenge gender stereotypes and give a glimpse into this very special bond.
Filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s contribution to the world of Indian cinema is immense. When he founded a leading film-making school with his daughter Meghna Ghai Puri, President of Whistling Woods International Institute, he discovered an entirely new world in her as a confident, intelligent young woman. Here, Ghai and his daughter tell us how conventional gender roles in society did not come in the way of building their thriving institute.
Daughters are a blessing
The emotional dad tells us that he cannot understand how people perceive their daughters any less than their sons as he says, “I never perceived Meghna with the thought that once she is old enough, I will get her married, and my responsibility will be over. I wanted her to study, to live up to her full potential and do whatever she wants.”
Meghna says that she was a very shy child, adding, “Growing up, my biggest concern was confidence. I have my parents to thank for the confident and successful person that I am today. They believed that I could do anything I wanted and when we started this venture, they were the ones who cheered me on.”
Exploring new territories
Meghna is grateful to her father for encouraging her to try new things. She says, “During my school holidays, my dad would encourage me to join him at the office on receptionist duty, to manage events and sit through writing sessions. I worked in various fields to discover what I truly love.”
Ghai also spoke about how far Meghna has come today. “In the last 10 years, she has built up this institute and has constantly surprised and impressed me. My daughter has proven that she is no different from a son,” he says.
Ghai strongly believes in freeing women from the various fears that shackle them. He adds, “Too often, our daughters are brought up with fear. People are always telling girls what they shouldn’t do and then they talk about women’s empowerment. How will women be confident and fearless if you put so much fear into them?”
Meghna believes that change is imminent in Indian society. “The young women of today are independent, strong-willed and know their minds. The time has come for us to teach our sons how to be more respectful of women and understand that they’re not entitled to everything their parents own,” she says.