Oscar Winner, Guneet Monga's Tragic Life: Working At 16 To Losing Her Parents In A Gap Of 6 Months

Guneet Monga won the first Oscar for an Indian film. However, in a recent interview, the ace producer talked about her heart-wrenching childhood.


By Monisha G Kumar Last Updated:

Oscar Winner, Guneet Monga's Tragic Life: Working At 16 To Losing Her Parents In A Gap Of 6 Months

Guneet Monga is a name that is shining bright and is leading all the headlines currently. The 39-year-old Indian producer, who is a BAFTA nominee, made her country proud by winning the first Oscar for Indian film production at the 95th Academy Awards. It was a surreal moment for Guneet, whose short film, The Elephant Whisperers won an Oscar.

Guneet Monga on her tragic childhood

However, life was never a bed of roses for Guneet, who had seen a traumatic childhood. In an interview with the Humans of Bombay, Guneet talked about how she grew up in one room in a middle-class Punjabi house because of a property dispute. She also revealed that her mother was suppressed so much that once their relatives tried to burn her alive.

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Recalling the ghastly moment of her life, Guneet stated that the family ran out of the house after the horrifying incident. Talking about the same, Guneet stated:

“I’ve lived a life of borrowed dreams. I grew up in Delhi, in a Punjabi middle class family. To the world we were happy–but no one knew what happened behind closed doors. My family was allotted 1 room in a big house. Because of the fight between brothers over property- my mom was suppressed. They abused her... Once, the argument got to a point where they tried to burn her alive-my father called the police, grabbed us & ran out of there.”


Guneet Monga did all odd jobs

After moving into a new house, the family began their second innings, and it was her mom, who dreamt of having a 3-bedroom house. To fulfil her mother’s dream, Guneet began working at the mere age of 16. Recalling the kind of jobs she did, Guneet shared:

“We built our life anew. Eventually, my mom started dreaming of having a 3 bedroom house on a ground floor with 3 steps by the entrance- So specific! I became determined to buy 1 for her. At 16 I started working while balancing schoolwork–I sold cheese on streets, was an announcer at PVR, a DJ, an anchor...you name it! In college, I began coming to Mumbai to work in films. I went from a coordinator, to being a production manager. Whatever I’d earn, I’d give it to my parents for our dream!”

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Guneet Monga lost both her parents in a gap of 6 months

After making some money, the family finally booked their dream house. However, as destiny had it, by the time the house was ready to be moved in, Guneet lost both her parents in a span of 6 months each. Being heartbroken by the tragedy, Guneet moved to Mumbai. In her words:

“Slowly we pooled our savings & booked a house. But by the time it was ready, I lost my parents within 6 months of each other. My mom had throat cancer & my dad’s kidneys failed... I was heartbroken. Needing a change, I packed my bags, sold the house & moved to Bombay for work. I channeled my energy into films. My dreams then became my director’s dreams. I was always on my feet & barely slept 4 hrs a day.”


Guneet Monga on missing her parents at every achievement

Filmmaking was something Guneet always loved, but the job was never easy. From crowd-funding to international sales, she faced every challenge with a smile on her face. But the one thing she always craved was her parents’ appreciation and their presence. Talking about the same, Guneet said:

“I still remember my father had sold his gold kadaa to send me on my 1st school trip to USA- he wanted me to see the world, no matter how challenging it was for them. So in my happiest times- whether it was at the Oscars or when we produced Gangs of Wasseypur & The Lunchbox.. Or when I launched my production house… all I wanted was my parents beside me.”


Guneet Monga’s win at the Oscars is a proud moment for every Indian. More than anyone, it is her personal victory against all the odds of her life.

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