Q and A with Yamini from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
“There will be blockers, stereotypes, and difficulties, but don’t let anything stop you.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about filmmaking, but even before I explored this part of me, I was like any other woman who eats, sleeps, works, and repeats. As a kid, I was always inclined towards cinema, but coming from a non-film background, I never thought of pursuing my dream as a career. I admire creativity, and I put my soul into every little thing I do. I was always fond of perfection and aesthetics, and one day I wrote poetry on females’ journeys right from birth to all the important roles they play in our lives. All the hurdles they face because of gender discrimination. Recently, my film was released in cinema theatres on the 11th of November 2022, and before I get myself involved in the next project, I will be taking a break to spend quality time in solitude, and with family and friends. The last two years were a roller coaster ride for me with a lot of inhibitions, hurdles, and mixed feelings which also took a toll on my mental and emotional well-being as things were not working as planned. Most of the situations like the pandemic were uncontrollable. I will be taking learnings from 2022 and will be focusing on 2023 with another female-centric concept in the pipeline.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I grew up in a traditional and conservative family where, like any other Indian family, importance was given to education. Watching television and films was not encouraged, but I have always been a movie buff. I used to take permission from my parents and watch a lot of films and television series. I finished my studies with a degree in mass communication. I always wanted to do something in the entertainment industry, it was around two years when I got the idea of Badhai Ho Beti Huee Hai, and I realized that I had to tell this story. So, I wrote a script. The character Shakti Singh in the Movie Badhai Ho Beti Huee Hai was inspired by real incidents in my life. It took two years to make this film, I started on this journey alone as a filmmaker, director, producer, scriptwriter, and actor. The pandemic during movie making impacted me a big time, but I was determined and did not let any obstacle stop me. The day I was able to bring my movie to theatres was a very proud and emotional moment for me and my family. Indian cinema is mostly ruled by men, and females are just for show and glamour. But I wanted to change this mentality. Females are very much creative and all they need is determination and support to achieve what they aspire to.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: There is no such word as IMPOSSIBLE. There is no harm in dreaming, provided you should have the willpower and dedication to fulfill those dreams. When I started my journey as a filmmaker, I was neither trained nor proficient in this industry. But I was willing to learn and grow. I never say no to any skills that required me to learn. This helped me always, and I want people to have faith in themselves and their work—that is the base. Criticism should be accepted as feedback, but it should not lower your morale at any cost. As we all know, a critic can show the destination, but when asked to drive to that destination, they cannot. Please remember no one is perfect and we always have a scope for improvement, so don’t get disheartened at any stage of life with negative remarks.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: I think we have a long way to go before every woman in the country feels empowered. But I do think that with each passing day, some women are discovering their own power, so women’s empowerment is not just a national issue first it is just just a personal issue then a regional issue, then a national issue, and then a universal one. But, most importantly, I think it must start being a personal issue as we have to discover our own power.
The only person who can truly stand in your way is you. There will be blockers, stereotypes, and difficulties, but don’t let anything stop you. Fuel your own ambition, be yourself not who other people want you to be. You are unique, and we’ll always have a different perspective to bring to the table. Foster relationships, learn from others, and help others on your journey because if you fall or stumble, they will likely help to pick you up and dust you off.
My name is Yamini Swami, working in Indian cinema as a filmmaker, actress, producer, writer, and director.
Thank you for reading!