Celebrated Producer Guneet Monga who made India proud after winning an Oscar for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ at the 95th Academy Awards this year is back with yet another spectacular action film titled ‘Kill’ and winning audiences Internationally. Currently, at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival with her ‘KILL’ co-producers Karan Johar and Apoorva Mehta, along with lead star Lakshya, Guneet Monga chatted with Film Companion’s Sneha Menon Desai about ‘Kill’, her instincts as a producer, collaborating with Karan Johar and more.
Talking about her collaboration with Dharma Productions & Karan Johar, and how they teamed up for ‘Lunchbox’ and in 2023 they reunited once again for ‘KILL’, Guneet Monga said, “This happened a decade ago during ‘Lunchbox’ when Dharma came on and wanted to present ‘Lunchbox’, it was amazing because I tried to sell lunchbox before it premiere at Cannes, but there was no buyer for it and then at Cannes, Karan was with ‘Bombay Talkies’, the four films marking hundred years of Indian Cinema a decade ago, and that’s when I reached out to him. I crashed his dinner table, I am Guneet Monga, and I would love to speak to you about a love story, We have kind of sold off the whole world minus India. Next Karan said okay sure show it to me. We came back to India, we had a screening at the light box for him, he came out and had tears in his eyes. He said it’s a beautiful love, story and let’s do it. That was the first time and now a decade later, we are here for another electric film, again the first of its kind in India. A genre-defining and mad action film, non-stop relentless actioner never happened before.”
She continued, “Sometimes, in self-doubt, I would call Karan for advice, and there is brain smashing, eyes popping and he’s like go full out. For me, it’s been absolute faith, and I say this to both of them, Karan and Apoorva (Mehta), that it was beautiful to collaborate with this cinephile who’s seen the genre, who allowed this to happen and that’s how we are here in Midnight Madness.”
Opening up about how despite being popular as a producer, she makes sure to always listen in, Guneet said, “You always have to lean into your instinct and have to build your instinct in this business. From childhood, you have a certain conditioning and parenting, but this particular business of arts and creativity is the pure instinct of being aware and building knowledge. What I take back from Toronto will be different from what you take back from Toronto. The films that I’ve experienced, the impressions and life memories that I will have here will be different for each one of us. The ideas are free and everywhere, the magic lies in execution and the impact lies in distribution. What feels beautiful is a sense of being empowered. It’s not about the number, it’s about the faith.”
Further, when asked to speak about muting the noise of the world and staying true to the instinct, Guneet said, “There’s a deep sense of spirituality and gratitude I live in and thrive in. I’m grateful to be here, I don’t take any of it for granted. I’m very hard on myself, trying to give my best, constantly pushing and finding the audiences. Because there’s something out there and we are running in fog. Somewhere the magic happens and that comes from a deep-rooted sense of gratefulness and spirituality. If I wake up feeling empowered today, I feel I’m successful. Today I give my best, then it’s a success for me. It’s one day at a time and somewhere in that hustle, magic happens.”
Lastly, the ace producer spoke about how life has changed after the big Oscar win. She shared, “There is definitely a certain shift that happened post-Oscars in my brain. For some reason, I now think about legacy. I spend time thinking about what is it that we are leaving behind. Generations will join the dots on projects I’ve been part of and maybe think that I tried to do something, and that is legacy and what you leave behind. It matters to me what we put out there and I think about it.”
Speaking of ‘Kill’, the film is directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat and backed by Dharma Productions and Sikhya Entertainment, featuring Lakshya in the lead.