Kiran Rao credits advertising work over feature films for financial stability in Mumbai: ‘I bought my first car from my dad for Rs 1 lakh’ | Hindi Movie News

Before becoming a successful filmmaker, Kiran Rao worked as an assistant director on various projects, including Aamir Khan’s iconic film Lagaan. In a recent interaction, Kiran revealed that despite her extensive work as an AD on several feature films, she didn’t earn enough money to sustain herself in Mumbai. Advertising work provided the financial support needed to live in the city, the Laapataa Ladies director shared.
Speaking on the podcast Cyrus Says, Kiran said, “I used to be a gig economy worker. I would get a job, work as long as it paid, and then look for another job, worrying whether my savings would last and if I could pay rent.”
When the host pointed out her work on Lagaan, suggesting that it should have paid well, she responded, “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.” She also mentioned that it was through advertising gigs that she was able to afford “super expensive things” like a computer and a car.

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During the interaction, Kiran also shared that she bought her first car from her father for Rs 1 lakh. She said, “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.”

In the same podcast, Kiran recounted her challenging experience working as an AD on Lagaan. She said, “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.”

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