After Nitin Desai's death, producer Prerna Arora on mental health issues in showbiz

Arora advises against conformity in business dealings. “You can’t follow a set pattern. Everyone has his or her own destiny. What will work for me won’t work for you”

The art director of the movie, Lagaan, Nitin Desai (photo: Getty Images)
The art director of the movie, Lagaan, Nitin Desai (photo: Getty Images)
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Subhash K Jha

Producer Prerna Arora is not able to get over the death of Nitin Chandrakant Desai.

“Such a genius. What a waste ! Sab ke alag alag kisse hain. What I’ve learnt the hard way is to be extremely careful. My father says this entertainment industry is a jungle. The entertainment industry can really take a toll on one’s mental health. Globally, there has been a radical shift in lifestyles during three years. Celebrities too have their share of ups and downs. Fans of stars who follow their favourite stars on Instagram or Twitter tend to emulate both the good and the bad aspects of stardom. It’s up to the individual which side he or she wants to follow. This is why celebrities need to discourage any kind of thought expression that would encourage negativity. It’s a competitive and cruel world out there, and influencers must send out only the right signals.”

Arora has gone through her share  of ups and downs. “I went through a horrific phase which I don’t want to talk about. I got through it because of my family. To know that they are there for you is, a a great incentive. I strongly believe in the power of divinity. During my hard times I connected  my mind to Him and cut myself from what was happening to me. I surrendered to God. But it’s not enough to just trust in God. You have to push yourself out of the  dark place. You must read the holy books, the Hanuman Chalisa, etc when you are depressed.”

Desai’s financial debt is also something Arora can connect with.  “We  need to be sensitive to the pain of those who are suffering emotionally and financially. Those who troll the tormented should ask themselves, don’t they have pain of their own to deal with? But I guess journalists have to earn their living, and never mind you are talking about the life of an individual and family. Only the one goes through a crisis knows what a toll it takes on one’s mental and physical health. It is easy to say, ‘Be strong’  It is not easy being strong when your world is crumbling around you. When people lecture you during a crisis it anger you. They don’t know what you are going through.”


About the crisis that Arora went through she comments, “It was a fight between two producers. I would like to say on record that I’ve produced films like Rustom, Toilet Ek Prem Katha and Padman. A girl comes from the outside and produces three mega-projects. That’s three films which were made at a cost of Rs 300 crores. Then I went through a crisis of 30 crores. Shouldn’t I get a grace period of at least six months or one year to sort it out? I was trapped because I was a woman. If I was a man the situation would have been resolved in a much more civilized way. Women in this industry are often treated like dirt. I had no choice but to swallow my anger. Now I want to be a clever animal in this jungle. I have learnt to say no to what I don’t want to do. The power of no is important. I learnt it the hard way. My advice to people who are not getting what they want in life: be true to yourself, no matter it takes. It is like rush hour on the road. You have to know where you are going.”

Arora advises the suicide-prone to think of other options. “Think of your family. Think of what your action would do to them. God has given you much more strength than you can imagine. Sometimes you are disgusted and you want to quit.  If I start feeling depressed about not having produced Baahubali I would only be falling into a fathomless pit. Follow your dreams. But don’t be a slave to them. Sometimes people set goals they can’t achieve. It’s okay. I have accepted we are in the midst of a kalyug. Just go with the flow. Our world is transforming into a sci-fi film. Now I understand there are many shades in life. Take off your rose-tinted glasses and experience life in all its colours. I was vain about being destiny’s chosen one. Now I am awakened. I have stopped smiling. I can’t find anything to smile about.”

To want to better one’s prospects is not a bad thing, says Arora. “Greed is important. It helps you to strive for your best. I am a competitive woman. But now I know where to draw the line. I have gone back to the prequel of my life. I’ve gone back to the time when I was just a new producer. I will walk the path of righteousness. Yatharth, is my principle now. I am a student. I am beginning my life now.”

Arora also advises against conformity in business dealings. “You can’t follow a set pattern. Everyone has his or her own destiny. What  will work for me won’t work for you.”

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Published: 09 Aug 2023, 10:59 AM
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