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Tahira Kashyap Khurrana: Undoubtedly, financial independence is the most important part of women's empowerment The filmmaker and author Tahira Kashyap, who is riding on the success of her recently released film Sharma Jee Ki Beti, explains why financial freedom is the foundation of gender equality and that being financially literate and making wise investments in mutual funds, SIPs, etc. goes beyond gender

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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Tahira Kashyap Khurrana

While the conversation around gender equality should continue to set the narrative right, it is also important to bring a little more nuance to the discussion. Therefore, making women aware of their choices and their rights is as important as understanding the power of financial independence. In conversation with Entrepreneur India, celebrated filmmaker and author Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, who is receiving a lot of love for her latest film, Sharma Jee Ki Beti, explains better.

In the last five years, female entrepreneurship has gained momentum as many women started their own ventures during the pandemic that eventually became profitable businesses. Such success stories not only inspired many young girls as well as homemakers to live their dream but also provided financial gain that added to their confidence and empowered their voice.

Highlighting the correlation between women's empowerment and financial freedom, Tahira said, "There is no doubt about the fact that financial independence is one of the most important parts of women's empowerment. It is important for every girl to have financial security for their self-worth and a strong position in our society. Sadly enough, the homemakers are one of the sections of our female population who do not get any earnings, though they are the ones working around the clock every single day to run the house! They should be getting the highest salary."

Interestingly, she has a suggestion for all the homemakers out there. "I believe that every housewife should gain knowledge in finance, learn the investment policies of SIPs, stocks, mutual funds, etc., and start investing. One can start with small steps that eventually give them financial security," said the filmmaker.

But the question is, if we are talking about gender equality, is being a housewife an option for women? Tahira promptly replied, "It is not that black and white, really. It is not right for me to comment on that; I think it is rather important to understand that every family has a different set-up and different needs. When it comes to the upbringing of children, depending on the situation, one partner has to be the stay-at-home parent until a certain phase of their child. Now the question is: why does the woman always take the backseat, compromising on her dreams and ambitions? On the other hand, I know any stay-at-home fathers as well. That understanding has to be decided purely by the couple and no one else."

It is interesting to notice how Tahira has always chosen to tell stories that centre on women of all ages and young adults as well as teenagers, which get a special place in her films.

She was asked about her process of picking stories, and she revealed, "I think I gravitate towards the BTS of everything. In our cinema, we have seen the bigger obstacles women, especially working women, are facing and how they are navigating. But what about the small daily struggles of a woman that usually remain unnoticed? I want to know what is going on behind the scenes to put up a perfect day for a woman, whether she is a housewife or a working professional. So with the interest of knowing the small things of life that create the bigger picture, I find stories in everything."

Since her debut in 2017 with Toffee, she has always told stories of female teenagers. As we wonder why, Tahira revealed, "I think girls between the age groups of 10 and 13 are in an interesting phase because they are changing emotionally and physically; they are neither teenagers nor children anymore, and these formative years are so crucial that they create the foundation of their personalities. Girls develop their self-esteem and self-worth. So as a storyteller, I feel it is important for me to put forth their point of view in films and stories while at the same time making them understand that they are empowered enough within to live their lives to the fullest!"

She directed some of the memorable short films as part of a successful anthology, like Zindagi in Shorts and Feels Like Ishq. She also penned multiple books. She wrote her first book in 2011, titled I Promise. She co-authored a book with her husband, Ayushmann, "Cracking the Code: My Journey in Bollywood." She then penned two more books: Be Atmanirbhar, The 7 Sins of Being a Mother, and The 12 Commandments of Being a Woman.

Asked if she has any entrepreneurial ventures, Tahira replied, "I am quite busy with my writing stories, pitching, and making films because filmmaking is quite a full-time job. Also, I am raising two children. So my hands are quite full to explore anything else, be it investment in a startup or venturing into other businesses. Now, I am working on my next project."

The film Sharma Jee Ki Beti, starring Sakshi Tanwar, Divya Dutta, Parvin Davas, and Sharib Hashmi, among others, is streaming on Prime Video.

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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