On Discovering Pistols
Her foray into sports was due to her father’s encouragement, who was an army officer. Involved with multiple sports at the school level, she finally took up Archery and went on to play the Nationals. She was awarded by the Governor of Rajasthan as ‘The Best Female Archer’ of Rajasthan for the year 1999. In 2001, her father got posted to Mhow, a small town in Madhya Pradesh. Since there was no facility for her to continue archery, she moved to Shooting at the Army Marksmanship Unit where she got best facilities and coaches. Pragya won her first medal in the 2nd Nationals that she played in 2002. “In 2004, I got into the Indian squad in Juniors and played my first international event, Meeting of Shooting Hopes, the Czech Republic in 2005. I chose pistol over rifle because I loved how pistol shooters would stand stylishly with one hand in the pocket and rifle shooters had to be loaded with their costumes”, she quips.
The Art of Living
During her shooting days, her counterparts would keep suggesting her to enroll in an AOL [Art of Living] course. Initially reluctant, she enrolled in a course after accidentally observing a satsang. Pragya shares, “The Sudarshan Kriya practice and meditation calms me. She alludes her intense focus while multitasking is because of these practices.
The Camera Story- Pahuna and Kajal
Pragya met a few talented filmmakers like Abhiram Vishwanathan and Gowrishankar Venkatraman, at Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore. They would make interesting short films there. “I felt filmmaking was a nice way to express your thoughts, to share a message that you want to convey and that’s when I decided to a course in it.”
Pragya was certain that she would be mistress of her own fate. She went on to pursue film-making at New York Film Academy. Upon her return, she and her husband co-owned a company, 29 Kreativ. “My new company Bonfire Tales was a very random decision. We were shooting for ‘Pahuna’ in Sikkim and I was the DA (Director’s Assistant) when one day the director, Paakhi A Tyrewala came up with this idea of having a company together. I liked the idea too and we became the co-producer for ‘Pahuna’ which has been produced by Priyanka Chopra’s production house, Purple Pebble Pictures”, says Pragya. The first look of the movie was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21. (Pahuna has been getting rave reviews and received a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival, 2017. (Source- Wikipedia).
Pragya had a vibrant film career even before Pahuna hit the screens. She has worked in a Hollywood production ‘Heartbeats’ as a DA to Duane Adler (writer for the popular dance film series – Step Up). Apart from this, Pragya and Paakhi are the presenters for a short film based on Women empowerment- ‘Kajal’, directed by Paakhi. The film premiered at New York Indian Film Festival, 2017 and has won ‘Best Film’ & ‘Best Music’ at Feedback Female Film Festival 2017(Source- Wikipedia). The aim is to take this film to various colleges, companies, and women-oriented organizations. They also plan to conduct a short one-hour filmmaking workshop which will be an introduction & overview of filmmaking from start to finish.
Future & Its Planned Trajectory
“My primary aim is to make a difference in the society at whichever level I can, maybe to an individual or to a community. I focus on what I can give back to the society. I want to make interesting films”, hopes Pragya.
The words that Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Indian politician and an Olympian, shared with her long ago, have stayed in her mind. “There is nothing that can stop you from coming first. The people who come first are not from a different planet or don’t have some superpower. They are just like us and it’s only their passion which makes them reach where they are”, Pragya quotes. They are as good a motto as any to live by.