What Kiran Rao Said About 'Restarting' Her Career After 11 Years

In the new episode of the Rulebreaker Show, filmmaker Kiran Rao sat down with host Shaili Chopra to discuss her journey through motherhood, the challenges of returning to the film industry, & ongoing issues with the representation of women in cinema.

Ishika Thanvi
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Kiran Rao - 2024-04-06T131136.729

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In an engaging episode of The Rulebreaker Show, filmmaker Kiran Rao sat down with host Shaili Chopra to discuss her journey through motherhood, the challenges of returning to the film industry later in life, and the ongoing issues with the representation of women in cinema. This thought-provoking conversation sheds light on breaking societal norms and the importance of providing opportunities to women at any stage of their lives.


Creativity Knows No Age

Kiran Rao opened up about the unique challenges and opportunities she faced in restarting her artistic career beyond her thirties. Reflecting on the societal pressures that emphasise achieving success at a young age, Rao highlighted the unusual nature of her career trajectory. "There’s a lot of emphasis, I feel in this day and age, to achieve things young. There’s always this idea of giving young people a platform and young talent," Rao noted, emphasising the societal bias towards the elderly.

Despite this bias, Rao's journey serves as an inspiring reminder that creativity and ambition have no expiration date. "It’s unusual for most people, especially women, to kind of restart their career in a way," she said, acknowledging the rarity of her experience in an industry that often sidelines women as they age.

The Struggles of Returning to Work


Discussing her return to filmmaking after a significant hiatus, Rao shared the difficulties many women face when trying to re-enter the workforce after maternity leave or a career break to raise children. "Most women are not welcomed back to work after, say, they take maternity leave or want to raise kids and they want to come back to work," she pointed out. Rao's candid remarks represent a critical issue in many professional fields, where women often encounter barriers to re-entry after taking time off for family responsibilities.

For Rao, the journey back into filmmaking was not without its challenges. "I wasn’t taking a break. I was working all along, but as an artist to restart after 12 or 13 years... it’s kind of unusual," she explained. Her experience highlights the resilience and determination required to reclaim one's career after a prolonged period.

Rao also acknowledged the role of luck in her successful return to the film industry. "Honestly, I’m lucky to have found the space to do it," she admitted. This sentiment resonates with many women who struggle to find opportunities to resume their careers after a break. Rao's story is a testament to the importance of creating inclusive workplaces that welcome and support women at all stages of their lives.

Representation of Women in Film

Beyond her personal journey, Rao and Chopra talk about the broader issue of female representation in films. Rao's insights call attention to the appalling underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women in the media. Her commitment to changing this narrative through her work is a powerful example of how individuals in the industry can drive change.

Kiran Rao's conversation with Shaili Chopra on the Rulebreaker Show is a powerful reminder of the importance of breaking societal norms and supporting women in their professional journeys, regardless of age. Her story encourages us to rethink the way we view career trajectories and to advocate for more inclusive and supportive environments for women in all fields, especially in the creative industries. By sharing her experiences, Rao inspires a new generation of women to pursue their passions and redefine success on their own terms.

Kiran Rao women in filmmaking