FarhanaJi_PostFarhana Farook, Managing Editor, Filmfare.

Farhana Ji shared her life experiences and valuable thoughts. Her incredible journey will surely Guide & Inspire fellow Indian Women.

फरहाना जी उन सेल्फ-मेड लोगों में से हैं, जिनके शब्द जब भी आते हैं, मार्गदर्शक अर्थ लेकर आते हैं…..


How do you see your journey from the perspective of skill development & personality grooming? Which skills do you treat as your key skills and how you have developed them? Do you still work to improve/upgrade them?

It’s definitely been an unconventional life and career. Because when a mother of teenaged children and someone confined to her home, at the age of 38, gets up to attend college and do a course in journalism, it only invites an unstated scorn. But because writing, perhaps, was my only interest and I had not lost the ability to wonder, learn and enjoy the process of understanding life and people, I took to this new creative world easily.

Through the years, it has only been a journey of growth because I was fortunate to get the right breaks (Cine Blitz, DNA and now Filmfare).  I guess my skill lies in taking my job seriously, enjoying the process and never ever viewing it as a burden to be done with. Also, it’s my interest in life’s quirks that keeps boredom at bay. In journalism, no two days are the same.

Could you brief our readers with the struggle, obstacles & issues that you have faced? Which of these obstacles, issues or situations, you still have to confront?

The first obstacle I faced was age. I was 38 when I rejoined college to study journalism. The second obstacle was finance. I found it hard to collect the sum of Rs 13, 000 as fees. So, I sold off my jewllery. The third obstacle was not a ‘problematic’ but definitely conservative family who could see no logic in my studying further. They thought it was just a self-indulgent whim. There are no hurdles as of today. In fact, I’m so immersed in my world that opinions of others do not matter.

Did they contribute to demoralise you or instead, you took them as challenges in your way forward and how did you handle them? Who inspired & guided you in your life path.

Yes, a few people did try to demoralise. They lend a false sense of sympathy as long as you remain subordinate and dependent. The minute you show promise of moving ahead… they cease being your well-wishers.

English takes precedence over skills, is it a major hurdle in development of India or a myth? Please share your thoughts and experiences on this?

No, English doesn’t take precedence over skills. Rather it’s a universal language. It has neutrality which makes what you express reach to a wider circle. Also, it has an inherent dignity and polish.

Should interviews be made more guiding/inspiring along with entertaining for youth by including clearly visible perspectives on Skills & Skill Development? What are your thoughts on this? Should such concepts be introduced in various awards as well?

Films are a creative medium first. That they are entertaining is incidental. Interviews of artistes should definitely highlight how talent is honed through hard work and also the human story behind the achievements. This will not only be inspirational but also bust the halo that surrounds them. That they are ordinary human beings albeit with extraordinary resolve should be the crux of the story.

What is the difference between a job & a career? Are the Indian women lot aware of it or are they generally allowed / encouraged to plan & pursue their career instead of merely doing a job? What is your experience and guiding thoughts on it?

A career is something you design which is in tandem with your interests and talent. It also means that you evolve at every stage, tapping your potential to reach its zenith. That you get paid for something you love doing is a fortunate deal. A job is limited in its connotation. In that your services have an economic evaluation. If you enjoy the process then you are lucky.

Is maintaining a good balance between personal sophistication and professional aggression important for working women and if so, how they can maintain it?

Balance is the key in every area. Professional aggression need not be volatile. It can be gritty yet gentle. But most importantly, it should not throw your mental equilibrium for a toss. Single-minded ambition comes with a heavy price.

What is the contribution of men in your life & career and what would you like to say to men?

The support from the men in my life has been muted. In that if they have not encouraged me vociferously, they have not bogged me down with unreasonable expectations either. Through time, they have learnt to respect my professional quest.

Some men generally treat women as just a live product for staring, abusing or not more than a house maid or a sex slave and even some women are also seen supporting or encouraging such shameful acts. Eve teasing or RAPE is just a by-product of such a dirty mind set. What are your thoughts on such a mindset and what is your message to your fellow women to safeguard themselves against it?

They say, a mother is responsible for the chauvinist mindset her son acquires. It’s for the mother to scuttle any kind of abusive behavior shown by her son towards a woman in any role or capacity. Also, financial independence is a must for every girl. Not for the shopping liberty it provides but for the dignity it accords to a woman. Rarely, have self-made women succumbed to indignities heaped upon by men.

A Woman’s personality is as broad as & as deep as Mother Nature. Then why she is always called & considered as a weaker sex or “Mardaani”? What’s your take on this? How you have helped other women in making them aware to stand their ground and to stand on their feet?

That’s the cultural conditioning we have been exposed to. It’s been witnessed across centuries, continents and castes. The only way to rise above that is education and financial independence. I always make it a point to tell girls/women that they have to earn their living and dignity. The minimum that a woman can do is have her pension/mediclaim plan in place. There’s nothing sadder than an aging, sick and broke woman. Respect yourself first for your family to respect you.

What would be your words of wisdom for the socio-economic upliftment, women empowerment and progressive development of the women?

Don’t worry about your daughter’s dowry. Worry about her education. Encourage her to be self-sufficient. Teach her young how not to allow any boy/man to treat her with disrespect. Caution her that a man/lover/husband/son cannot be the pivot of her existence. Assure her that you are with her, no matter what surprises life throws at her. And make it a point to bequeath a part of your inheritance to her.