Interview of Hira Mehta – Filmmaker, Actor, Writer & Blogger
Q: What inspired you to start your own business?
A: The firm belief that “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter”. I was always an entertainment buff and wanted to work in that space forever. I used to write short stories, host, and blog all through my working years. I always wanted to make films and act too. It was therefore not surprising, that I walked into the NIEM at the age of 48 and shocked the principal into allowing me to take up the one-year diploma course with students half my age. It was but natural that after retiring with 38 years of experience as Manager, Corporate Communications, ICICI Bank, I decided to pursue my passion as a freelancer in writing short stories/film scripts, acting, hosting events, interviewing, blogging and more. Today I am making good use of the event management diploma from National Institute of Event Management (NIEM) and the certificate in Voice over & Dubbing from Sugar Mediaz, Mumbai, I acquired alongside my working years at the bank.
Q: What hurdles came across in beginning?
A: Naturally for me, it was all about the age factor. Even with family and job responsibilities, I had managed to keep my dream and passion to work in the entertainment field intact. However, in the corporate world today there is really not much space that seniors can fill in after retirement, but to be honest I did not want to go there either. Though, I did go back for a brief period when I was invited back by my Bank as a consultant after retirement to archive the history of the bank for an in-house product since its inception. It was a project close to my heart that I always hoped would see the light of day and glad it did. The entertainment industry, on the other hand, is a ‘chakravyuh’ difficult to penetrate. Hurdles and stepping stones ahead won’t ever disappear, so my struggle continues as rejections are many. I am getting there slowly and surely with a hope to get my foot in the door.
Q: What is Your Struggle Story?
A: It took me four years to fulfill my dream to get my book published. Winning a contest in the short stories category organized by Lit-O-Fest 2016 fulfilled this dream. My short story collection “Twisted Tales and More..” is now published and available on Amazon/Flip Kart. I always wanted to write and direct my own film and YES Foundation’s YIAC 101-Hour 3 minute social cause filmmaking challenge, in September 2016 challenged the filmmaker in me. My first film “Selfless Soldier” ( https://youtu.be/aETnPu2FFXk ) was ranked amongst the top films at the challenge. Inspired I am now making another short film and of course many more in future. The struggle, however, to get my film script to the right door still continues.
Q: What is your business into?
A: Hosting events and interviewing people from all walks of life, Motivational speaker on living life as a senior, Storyteller, filmmaker and writer of short stories/ films
Proofreader (annual reports, etc.), Soft skills trainer for youth and women, Transcriber-audio/video to word document, Blogger, Actor, Voicing.
Q: How would you like to help your fellow members / or contribute towards society?
A: I am forever willing to offer my support and services to any cause just for that warm fuzzy feeling. I am Hon. Secretary and Founder Member of “Arunima” women’s forum, created to interact, actively address and create awareness on various issues concerning women in Lokhandwala and its surroundings. I have hosted several events, the last event being the launch of the first of its kind book in India on Dementia, titled “Remember Me-You, Me and Dementia” by Sailesh Mishra. I have been hosting UMANG- a free talent show by senior citizens created by Silver Innings for past three years now and it gives me immense happiness. I have been invited as a speaker to various forums to inspire through my experiences on living a fruitful life as a senior. I was invited to mentor the Fellow Designates of the YES Foundation Media for Social Change Fellowship on ‘communication skills’ in 2016 and 2017. I am the core team member – stage management and event flow in-charge of ‘BeHappy’, a community togetherness initiative by Be Happy Foundation to spread smiles and bring the neighborhood together at Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West wherein residents take over their streets from 7 am to 10 am on every third Sunday of the month
I continue to learn from people from all walks of life, make friends and keep them. Most of all, I love to motivate friends and revel in the success and achievements of others.