Kiran Rao Reveals Advertising Helped Her Afford Living in Mumbai: ‘Was Worried About Paying Rent’ – News18

Kiran Rao shared that her career in advertising and not feature films helped her afford a living in Mumbai.

Kiran Rao shared that her career in advertising and not feature films helped her afford a living in Mumbai.

Kiran Rao recalls that advertising and not feature films helped her afford a living in Mumbai.

Before her rise to a successful filmmaking career, Kiran Rao’s journey was marked by her role as an assistant director on numerous projects, one of which was Aamir Khan’s iconic film Lagaan. In a candid discussion, Kiran disclosed that despite her experience working as an AD on several feature films, her earnings were insufficient to sustain a living in Mumbai. It was her work in advertising that provided her with the financial stability she needed.

During an episode of the podcast Cyrus Says, Kiran shared, “I was essentially a gig worker. I’d take on jobs as they came, working as long as they paid, then I’d scramble to find the next, all while stressing about whether my savings would last and if I could cover my rent.” When the host mentioned her involvement in Lagaan and suggested it should have been financially rewarding, she explained, “Feature films didn’t pay. It was advertising that paid me the money to live in Mumbai. With Lagaan, the first AD system kind of started coming in.” Through her advertising jobs, she managed to purchase “super expensive things” like a computer and a car.

Kiran also recounted buying her first car from her father for Rs 1 lakh, saying, “I bought my car from my dad. He sold it to me for Rs 1 lakh. Have you ever heard of that? My father was like, ‘This is the only way you will save money.’ We drove it from Bangalore to Mumbai on the newly minted expressway.”

Reflecting on her challenging times as an AD on Lagaan, she added, “I used to get coffee, get shouted at if anything went wrong. I was constantly being yelled at. Reema Kagti was a tough secondary AD; she would constantly be on my case. She did all the running around. We were just four ADs running around on a giant set. The film was shot with live sound, one of the first big films to do so. It was all outdoors, and we were far away from everything.”

Meanwhile, on the work front, Kiran Rao’s Laapataa Ladies earned critical acclaim. The film, set in the fictional state of Nirmal Pradesh in 2001, follows the story of brides Phool and Pushpa whose paths cross during a train journey. The film, produced by Aamir Khan Productions and Kiran Rao’s Kindling Productions, has recently completed a successful 50-day run at the box office and was even screened at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).