Remember the times when we used to convince our parents that it’s okay to be an artist — to be a musician, a singer, a filmmaker or a writer — and not be a doctor, an engineer or a banker?
Well, it took me almost three years to convince my mother that it’s completely fine to be a writer and not an engineer, although engineering was also my choice only, but back then who knew that it wasn’t the right choice!
We often make choices which, we later realise, aren’t the right ones — and all it takes is one more choice, that one very decision, that can fix things up. All we need to do is to accept that realisation and start doing what we truly love.
When Kanisha Malhotra, a renowned actress, decided to start filmmaking, it really didn’t fit her parents’ minds. And it took her a whole seven years to convince them that it was completely fine not to be an actor.
“I moved to Mumbai immediately after my graduation to become an actor. Little did I know that my real interest lies behind the camera,” says Kanisha, who is also a known social media influencer. “In 2016, I took up a job as an assistant director. I used to live alone, which didn’t fit well with my parents. It took me almost seven years to convince them that it’s okay. As far as my job was concerned, my first stint as an assistant director was not as easy as an actor. Actors are treated well, but the work of an assistant director is a thankless job. But when that film got released on Netflix, I felt a different pride. Within a year, I knew I am doing this for life. I wanted to produce and direct a short film written by me which made me start my own production house too. It’s been a long journey since then, and there is no looking back. In fact, even my parents have made peace with what I’m doing!”
Like many of us, Kanisha always believed that acting was her passion, but she never realised that creating content actually drove her, and it did take her a lot to reach where she’s today. And as she says, from being an actor to assistant director to creative head to a producer to now working as an influencer, she has donned all the roles.
Kanisha owns two ventures — Designerwala Lab Productions and Goal Digger — the former being her production house started in 2016, and the latter is a recently started customised gifting & merchandise store.
Recalling the stories behind them, she shares, “after writing my first film, I went to a friend of mine who was also a director and asked him if he would be interested in directing my film to which he replied, ‘you know what I would like to do the lead role!’ And when I asked who would direct it in that case, he firmly said, ‘you!’ He also suggested me to make it under my own production house as I was putting my money. I knew that it’s either now or never… and that’s how Designerwala Lab Productions was started.”
Kanisha’s intention behind starting this venture was to make a social difference with it. “The films we make always convey a message — a story which brings a difference in society. Stories impact humans in a different way, and as a filmmaker, I am trying to create better stories for the world to see and get inspired from,” she continues.
On talking about the investments, the 29YO entrepreneur tells Infano, “the first one year was entirely self-funded. But as the company grew, I got in touch with OTT platforms and sold my films to them. Then a few of the investors also started showing interest, and eventually, everything was sorted.”
Yes, I feel things eventually fall into places. But what about the initial phase? That’s the time when life tests us the most, and that’s the time when we really need to work hard to prove ourselves.
Lessons learnt so far
Kanisha suggests that one must be patient and believe in quality over quantity. She also suggests asking friends for help and not to overthink or worry much. “Collaborate & create. Have fun with your work. Take less stress and be consistent” is her mantra. “The more I work with ease, that particular project comes out well; planning is important but avoid overplanning. Also, do a SWAT analysis before starting a business. Do your research, be ready for funds, and get a hands-on experience by working under someone before you start on your own. Study the market well, and once you are done with it, don’t wait for long. Life is short, and competition is tough. So if you delay it, it might not ever happen,” she says.
She also believes that the constant support from her family, especially her brother Rohan, is what kept her motivated. Recalling her old days, she shares, “I was 10 when my mother took me to my 1st audition, She also enrolled me for acting workshops. Even now, whenever I make a new film, my parents support me the most. My dad finds it fascinating to go on film sets with me. Although they were not very keen on sending me to Mumbai initially, my brother insisted that I must go and pursue my dream.’
And among all these, the only regret that she holds is that she should have started working on this a little earlier. Things would have been different then as COVID-19 messed up a lot for entrepreneurs. “I literally had to take up a job as we had no work for almost 7-8 months. And the competition is so tough that even if you make a minor mistake, you can end up losing a client! Entrepreneurs are really vulnerable, and small businesses need to be protected, I feel,” she continues.
But as things are slowly taking up again, Kanisha is finally focusing on other aspects of the business. For now, she wants to focus on her newly started venture and a homegrown web show under her production house.
“Women are superhumans! They are powerful, talented and great at everything. They might need a little push, but they can inspire the world,” she concludes. “Everything feels great when your passion becomes your profession. No matter what job I was doing, I just knew I am good at this, and it feels so right now. This is what I’m meant for. It takes years to achieve what you want — for me, it took seven years. But in the end, everything was worth it. If you do what you love, life will be fun!”
You can get in touch with Kanisha via her Instagram handle or Facebook page or her website. You can visit her venture at this link. Write your #PassionToProfession story to us and let the world get inspired by your wonderful journey!