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. Today’s interview is with Manmohan Shetty and his daughter Aarti Shetty of Adlabs Entertainment.
Shetty, acclaimed filmmaker and Chairman of Adlabs Entertainment, is also famous for being a father who has empowered his two daughters, Pooja and Aarti, to shine successfully in an industry that even today is largely a male-dominated one. Shetty and his daughter Aarti, Creative Consultant at Adlabs Entertainment, tell us how they transcended gender stereotypes to create such a powerful brand in the entertainment industry.
On building independent thought
Aarti tells us that her father always encouraged the girls to think independently. “I remember even when I was a child, he never told me what I should do and I always thought that he should offer more advice. But now that I am older, I understand it was his way of empowering my sister and me to form our own opinions and build our own personalities,” she says.
Commenting on his parenting style, Shetty says, “I was always cautious about what advice I gave her. I never wanted her to be influenced by my opinions. I always told my children that this is their life and the decisions should be their own. As parents, we never wanted to create boundaries that would restrict them.”
On thriving in a male-dominated industry
Shetty reminisces about the time Aarti and her sister Pooja decided to enter the world of filmmaking. “Back then, the filmmaking industry was never really an ideal environment for women to succeed, unless they were actors or directors. I tried to encourage them to think of doing something else but both my girls did join the movie industry and are successful, I am happy about that,” adds Shetty.
Aarti says, “I always felt at home among creative people and the filmmaking fraternity. The fact that I was a woman never made me feel like a misfit. When I started my career, there weren’t a lot of women working as assistant directors. Over the last five years, it is great to see many successful women in the business.”
Talking about gender inequality, Aarti adds, “In today’s world, whether you’re a man or a woman should not matter. Free yourself from gender stereotypes that tell you what you should and shouldn’t do as a girl. If you keep thinking you are lesser than the other sex, then you’re placing an obstacle in your mind.”
Shetty too has a word of advice to fathers who are overprotective as he says, “The very thought of nurturing girls differently, protecting and sheltering them is wrong. The Star Plus Nayi Soch campaign is doing an excellent job of showcasing that girls have the same potential to succeed as boys do.”