'Even After 14 Years In The Industry Nobody Has Accepted Me Here,' Says Laila Manju Director Prem Soni

Avya Sharma , 16 Jul 2020
Prem Soni (Source: Instagram | @prem_sonii)
Prem Soni (Source: Instagram | @prem_sonii)

Bollywood has started expanding its horizons to narrate the stories of the marginalised communities. And now director Prem Soni is all set to explore the subject of drag queens in his next directorial titled ‘Laila Manju’. The movie will feature Shashank Vyas, Abhimanyu Tomar and Nehal Chudasama. The movie will revolve around two Southall boys who take part in a beauty contest.

Prem will be coming back to direction after an eight-year hiatus. Talking to MidDay about the upcoming project he said—

Since I am coming back after a long time, it was important that my film offer a novel idea. It is India’s first mainstream drag [feature] film. Unfortunately, there is not much awareness about the subject in India. The drag culture has been embraced in the West, where they have stand-up comedians, singers and performers.

The director also revealed that the movie will feature Lulia Vantur in a key role.

Prem also spoke about his eight-year hiatus. He said that these long years were really hard for him and he battled with depression after his movies like Main Aur Mrs Khanna and Ishq In Paris didn’t do well at the box office. The filmmakers also spoke about being an outsider and how people stopped talking to him during this time. Prem also revealed that it was Salman Khan who supported him. He said—

Post 2013, I was in severe depression and went through a suicidal phase. These eight years were tough for me. So many people came up to me and said, ‘Your career is over. You can’t rebuild it now.’ I went through so many rejections. People stopped talking to me. They did not even have the compassion to understand that if a film does not work, it does not mean that the person is not talented. Even after 14 years in the industry, I have not been accepted here — it could be because my films didn’t work, or because I am an outsider. The only person who supports outsiders is Salman Khan and I am thankful to him for supporting me.Post 2013, I was in severe depression and went through a suicidal phase. These eight years were tough for me. So many people came up to me and said, ‘Your career is over. You can’t rebuild it now.’ I went through so many rejections. People stopped talking to me. They did not even have the compassion to understand that if a film does not work, it does not mean that the person is not talented. Even after 14 years in the industry, I have not been accepted here — it could be because my films didn’t work, or because I am an outsider. The only person who supports outsiders is Salman Khan and I am thankful to him for supporting me.

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