Guneet Monga, the celebrated producer who earned India an Oscar for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ at the 95th Academy Awards, is back with another spectacular action film titled ‘Kill,’ which is making waves 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 shared insights with Film Companion’s Sneha Menon Desai about ‘Kill,’ her instincts as a producer, collaborating with Karan Johar, and more.
Reflecting on her collaboration with Dharma Productions and Karan Johar, Guneet Monga shared, “This happened a decade ago during ‘Lunchbox’ when Dharma came on board to present it. It was amazing because I had tried to sell ‘Lunchbox’ before its premiere at Cannes, but there were no buyers. Then, at Cannes, Karan was there with ‘Bombay Talkies,’ and that’s when I reached out to him. I crashed his dinner table and introduced myself as Guneet Monga, expressing my desire to speak to him about a love story. We had sold the film worldwide, except for India. Next, Karan said, ‘Okay, show it to me.’ We had a screening in Mumbai, and when he came out, he 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, a genre-defining and action-packed film, something that has never happened before in India.”
Guneet continued, “Sometimes, in moments of self-doubt, I would call Karan for advice, and he would provide brilliant insights. For me, it’s been about absolute faith, and I say this to both of them, Karan and Apoorva (Mehta). It was beautiful to collaborate with a cinephile like Karan who has seen the genre, allowed this to happen, and that’s how we are here in Midnight Madness.”
When discussing how she ensures to listen to her instincts despite her popularity as a producer, Guneet emphasized, “You always have to lean into your instincts and build your knowledge in this business of arts and creativity. What I take back from Toronto will be different from what you take back. The magic lies in execution and impact lies in distribution. The sense of being empowered is beautiful. It’s not about numbers; it’s about faith.”
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On the topic of muting the noise of the world and staying true to her instincts, Guneet shared, “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. Somewhere the magic happens in that hustle.”
Finally, Guneet reflected on how life has changed after the big Oscar win. She said, “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.”
Speaking of ‘Kill,’ the film is directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat and is produced by Dharma Productions and Sikhya Entertainment, featuring Lakshya in the lead role.