Prerna Arora: Sushant was a true artist and, a man who had so many dreams

Published: Jun 26, 2020, 11:50 IST | Partnered Content | Mumbai

Prerna Arora in a candid chat declares that everything written about her during her absence was false where she declared every single allegation bogus, false and baseless, stating all of it was a lie.

Prerna Arora
Prerna Arora

A tete-a-tete where for the first time Prerna Arora declared that everything written about her during her absence was false where she declared every single allegation bogus, false and baseless, stating all of it was a lie. She said there was a conspiracy that was hatched against her and had no standing whatsoever anywhere. She candidly spoke out because she was all set to restart her work and needed to clear things out. She set the record straight by saying that Kriarj had successfully produced and released the films Rustom, Toilet ek Prem Katha, Padman, Pari amongst others. Post-August 2017 Pooja Films collaborated with Kriarj and took up the distribution of Pari along with a set of other films that followed. Below is a glimpse of what she said on the various facets questioned on.

What happed between Vashu ji and you?
What happened between Vashu ji and me was because of somebody else. This, somebody, conspired to ruin Vashu ji and my professional relationship to such a huge extent that our relationship became acidic. Kriarj has never done any wrong, wrong happened to Kriarj in that event. Vashu ji who was associated with Kriarj at that point also suffered the brunt of somebody else's wrongdoings, some from outside the industry and some within.

I deeply regret not listening to Vashu jis advice on a few things then, everything was in front of my eyes. I came across as an insensitive person in his eyes and lost his support but I was suppressed by immense fear and something very ugly which had happened. I kept quiet and that is something I regret, it became an act of selfishness and I became the bad person in front of Vashu ji. To top it few of my rivals who hated me and conspired against me took full advantage of the situation. It ruined our professional relationship which could have been repaired, ruined it to such a huge extent that it created a black hole between us, there was a huge misunderstanding and the truth was hidden. Today I sincerely and deeply apologies to Vashu ji, it's never too late to ask for an apology if you feel the need for it, I'm sure now he is also aware of the truth, he is a senior and respected producer of the industry, jaane anjaane mein unki feelings ko hurt kiya hain and once again I want to deeply and sincerely apologize to him.

What do you mean when you say there is a lobby working against you?
From the day I arrived, there were a lot of people who wanted me to fall, but I have really worked hard to make some of the biggest hits and National Award films. I do agree that I faulted when I took up a lot of films and did a blanket deal and that is when things started going wrong for me. I was new to the film industry. I am bound to make mistakes, but there was no one to lend support or guide me or show kindness towards me. During my lean period, a lot of people took advantage and tried to break me, but I stood like a rock. I did not give in and announced a set of four films under the banner of Five Elements, which included Karim Lala, Radh Kyon Gori Main Kyun Kaala and Woh Kaun Thi. I was ready to roll all over again. I didn't run away anywhere, so that means there has to be something I was doing right. I am passionate about movies, but I got backstabbed. The tragedy that happened with me made my partners in Five Elements and me suffer huge losses and all our hard work went down the drain. Right now, I can only say there is a political name involved in the problem I faced in the last one year. I am not going to name anyone here, because there is family pressure, but I will speak out at the right time and the right place. The whole episode that happened with me was life threatening, and if it were not for my family who supported me and kept me from doing anything wrong I would not have had the strength to come back. They encouraged me to come back and fight it out and I am doing exactly that today.

You are making a comeback with the announcement of two films. What about the films that you had announced before problems came into your life?
Those projects are parked for now. I'm starting some new projects as a Creative Producer under the banner of Mandiraa Entertainment Pvt Ltd. which is headed by Reshabh Saraf and my close people and close confidantes. The backbiting and lobbying against me will start all over again, but I'm determined to restart work without any fear as I have done no wrong, wrong was done to me. I will be fearless and without hesitating I will seek help and raise my voice as and when required. If anyone tries to demean me by talking about the past I will not hold back at all, I will openly show my bank statements which is my biggest weapon they say na dhoodh ka dhoodh panni ka panni. My victory lies there. Till Pari there was perfection, post that I worked on trust and blind faith and paid a very heavy price and suffered immensely because of trusting people blindly.

Going forward if required I will opt for a media trial and reach out to everybody but not live in fear at all. What happened to me was never about money, also there were loses that no one even counts. As a producer I have always given and if taken, taken what? Have I robbed anything of you? Kriarj did business of more than 400 crores. When you do such big numbers, having a debt of merely 15 crores is basic. There is a huge amount of money, in crores, still pending to be collected from individuals within the film industry, I have kept my dignity unlike others. We are announcing 2 films next week, both are in collaboration with 2 prominent actors as co-producers. One of them is a thriller and the other one is a psychological horror. Keeping in mind the given pandemic we are making smart films. I want to keep quiet and do my work as they say "saanp ke kaate hue ko rassi se bhi darr lagta hain." I have a simple principal "Live and let live." I never enter someone else's comfort zone and this time I will not let anyone enter mine.

Prerna Arora

Did you go through a phase where you wanted to take your life?
Who wouldn't think of it? A young girl, who had a great life and was doing extremely well in her career, maut ke mooh mein daala diya jaata hai... Mind you, I was dealing with such powerful people. I was a complete outsider who didn't really network, I wasn't part of any party, dinner groups. My only focus was my work and making/producing/presenting excellent cinema with no Godfather to watch over me.

My father who had just recovered from a kidney surgery and returned from the death bed which most of the industry is aware of, this ugly mishap that took place in my life changed my father as a person he turned to alcohol in a state of complete shock/ trauma and helplessness. Every time I thought of ending my life, I knew my family will also collapse the same day and only that thought kept me going . I knew I had to live for them. I held on to God. My family has suffered immensely and I had a lot of suppressed anger in me that turned into clinical depression. I have started praying a lot more now and with God on my side I believe I am the Prhalad of Lord Narsima and if need be Lord Narsimha will come down and tear apart all who intentionally wronged me.

Were you made to feel like an outsider all the time?
Being an outsider was always a challenge, but all my films became super hits and things changed for me, so it's success that matters here in this film industry. You have to go through the grind, where you'll find people who don't want you to come up. They don't want anybody to come up, for that matter. They may be sweet to you on your face, but will mock you behind your back. I got to see the amount of hatred people have during my lean period. People would say, yeh toh khatam ho jayegi before every film of mine and at any given point, there are at least 50 people wanting to see your film flop. Problems began when I took up a lot of films, but none of them have got shelved. I always kept my films before me. I went down, but didn't let anyone down.

There are good and bad people everywhere. When I started my career with Akshay Kumar, I was safe. Anushka Sharma too was a thorough professional. I should've stopped at Pari and taken a break to understand the industry better, but I thought everybody is Akshay Kumar and that was my fault. I rubbed a couple of actors the wrong way, and that's when the hate campaign began. All got together and attacked me, but I preferred to keep quiet and continue to work.

What is that one lesson you have learnt with your experience in the past?
Keep your mouth shut and work. Another important lesson was that I wanted to be a man in a man's world, but now I want to be a woman and seek help when needed. I regret not reaching out to associations and bigwigs, including a superstar who was ready to intervene but refused for the fear of getting misinterpreted. I am a changed person today and have no hesitation to go out and ask for work. Besides producing a film, I would even ask to give me a chance to write and direct too, but please don't try to strangle my talent. If I didn't have talent, I would not have made so many good films, including a National Award winning film.

Prerna Arora with Sushant Singh Rajput
Prerna Arora with Sushant Singh Rajput

You have worked with Sushant Singh Rajput on Kedarnath. What was your reading of the actor?
I shared a good rapport with him and could relate with him. He was a small town boy with huge aspirations, like all of us, so we really had a lot of things in common. I was completely in awe of him as he was a superbly intelligent actor, who discussed astrophysics to quantum physics and was not at all filmi. He was a true artist and at the same time, a man who had so many dreams. From whatever I saw of him in those two years, he definitely had leadership qualities, but a sensitive guy jo harr baat ko dil pe laga leta tha...

The director of Chanda Mama, Sushant and me were a trio and were very close to each other. At one point I was going to be associated with the film and so we had long chats and really gelled with each other. I feel a lot of pain for him and what happened to him has shaken me more to now speak and not to suppress my feelings. In my prayers I ask God to give his father the strength as he is not from the industry. My dad isn't from the industry and knew nothing about my work. I wish I had told him everything.

Did you sense any kind of restlessness in him?
I knew that he was obsessed with the film Chanda Mama Door Ke, which had a subject close to his heart. As we all know, astronomy was his favourite subject and studied it for the film too. I don't know if he was depressed, but he did seem hurt. I don't know what or who hurt him.

Do you think that the outsider syndrome will continue to haunt the newcomers in the film industry?
There is a mindset that only these four-five powerful banners can make your career or launch you, so new producers, directors and actors will always have a tough time. Having said that real talent cannot be throttled or stopped by the big ones and those encouraging nepotism, as it is the audience that makes you what you are because of the talent in you. Talent can never get wasted, and if you have your luck supporting you and the timing is right, there is no stopping you.

Having said that, I must add I had become arrogant and was not listening to my well-wishers, I had become over-confident and thought I had reached the pinnacle of my success and can do anything and everything myself. Mera dimaag kharab ho gaya tha. The biggest mistake I made was when I stopped listening to people, who were my well-wishers. I started believing that they were my enemies and those who were actually my enemies, I considered them my well-wishers.

I also remember Rishi Kapoorji, I knew him before Rustom and therafter, has always encouraged me and my work and was one of my biggest critics, but advised to go slow, which I didn't pay heed to. He will remain most special and I still can't believe he has left us, for me he is the biggest superstar and will live forever

When did you get a reality check that is where you have gone wrong?
During the lockdown period, when you are left in isolation and everything comes back to you, your past and present. You also start seeing the mask fall off of all those who didn't stand by you. We have seen family unko chhod ke bhaag gayee. It is during this period, you start looking at things beyond yourself. Prime Minister Modi has been my inspiration and gave me the courage to stand up again.

Where is your partner Arjun N Kapoor?
Lot of discussions and conversations are pending between him and me. I have parked it as I'm recovering mentally from a depression. Everything stands still for now. Will pursue it once I'm better about everything . Kriarj remains where it is and will start working on it soon.

What's next now that you are all set to take on the world?
I will stand up for myself and challenge people who try to trouble or question my statement. I pledge to pull them out by releasing the bank statement and it is going to be through a media trial. I am Prerna Arora and I would like to say that in the way, as Sir Shah Rukh Khan said in a film, 'My Name is Khan And I am not a Terrorist'. Last but not the least, if you try to push me to the wall I will take the help of the authorities, I strongly believe that my final destination is politics as I believe there is nothing better than serving the nation, serving the people of your country.

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