The inspiration for this particular blog entry came when I received an email today from a Quest Magazine representative inviting me to the exclusive NYC premier of my own mother’s film called “Giving Back.” The email had the following flier attached to it:
and it was really cool to see that the NYC release of the film was happening so soon. I had the privilege of spending the past six months at home in Hong Kong, watching as my mom poured countless hours into working on this film. She had linked up with a famous studio in Bombay that produces all the latest Bollywood hits, and would make countless trips between Bombay and Hong Kong (much to my younger brother’s distaste) to meet with the scriptwriters, studio managers, etc. Now I was getting invited to her film screening and it was really exciting. Only problem is that my own band, City Folk, happens to have a killer show at U Street Music Hall that same night for the EPIC DANCE PARTY that the Civilian Arts Project is throwing:
We as a family seem to be experiencing new heights of creative flow, and my mom attributes it to Hong Kong. “It has a creative energy that I’ve never experienced before,” she once told me over breakfast back in January, “everything just seems easy and possible over here.”
Let me take a step back. My mother is a social entrepreneur and my father is an investment banker at Credit Suisse. Together they have always taught my brother (Kabir, 13), sister (Kanika, 17) and myself (Kiran, 21) that whatever we do, however hard we work, we have to make sure that we are giving back to something bigger than ourselves. That we focus our energies, talent and privilege to something that really impacts global-scale change. Noted for her motto, my mom always says, “We are to the universe only as much as we can give back to it.”
It is tough to have parents that offer you the world and expect it back from you, but after spending six months in Hong Kong with them, I realize that it is a motivating factor to keep in the back of my mind for future projects I hope to take on. It will be the metric by which I measure whether or not something I am interested in pursuing is worth it or not.
My mother’s inspiration for the movie certainly came from a lot of different angles, but the way I see it is that she was yearning for a creative medium by which to channel all the good things that are Meera Gandhi. Some people, at the end of the day, are awesome enough to have their existence be a good enough reason to go for something. My mother is powerful, intelligent, loving and understands people. She has used her personality to raise money for charity, meet the leaders of the world, learn from them and simultaneously contribute to them. The ways in which the people in my mom’s life were giving back, paired with the fact that they were from such a variety of backgrounds, were the source of inspiration for documenting their efforts in a film.
The movie Giving Back, is my mother’s way of highlighting the work of individuals whom she has had the privilege of meeting to the rest of the world. The end goal is to show viewers and followers that one can give back in so many different ways and that people from various backgrounds can be united under this simple premise.
My father is featured in the film. He sits on the board of the Grameen Foundation (www.grameen.org), a Microfinance Institute that aims to provide small businesses with micro loans in many developing nations. He uses his financial prowess and intellect to discuss why this is a model that has a positive long-term impact. He is really brilliant and the hardest working person I know period. “Shut out all the noise in your life, set a target goal, and go for it,” is what he is all about.
I got to spend the past six-months at home with my family, while simultaneously being abroad and being at college. A really beautiful, very fortunate set-up. The way my parents have been able to incorporate what they love and what they believe in with their work life is something I hope to embody as I embark on my own career path.
Please check out more about the film here: http://www.meeragandhi.com/GIVING-BACK-ACROSS-THE-GLOBE-340-article.htm