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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Inspiring story of Priyanka Khimani: A lawyer for some of  Bollywood’s biggest stars

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Priyanka Khimani is an attorney who represents some of the leading starts of Bollywood. She began financially supporting her family when she was 15 years old after the death of her father.

The narrative of Priyanka Khimani, a famous celebrity lawyer, media strategist, and businesswoman, will motivate you to never give up in life. She ascended like a phoenix from humble beginnings in a Mumbai chawl to managing clients like as A.R Rahman, Badshah, Shruti Haasan, Anurag Kashyap, Shreya Ghoshal, and Shankar Ehsaan Loy, among many others.

She founded her own business, Khimani & Associates (K&A), in 2014, just two years after graduating from law school, and has been the face behind some of the music and entertainment industry’s largest and most talked-about agreements. In an interview with FPJ, she discusses gender equity in her field, her disadvantaged upbringing, and her future goals.

What are the typical problems that women attorneys encounter, and how do you intend to set an example with your organisation, which has a female-led workforce?

We currently have 100% female leadership within the company. This is not to say that opportunities for male attorneys are not available. We have brilliant male attorneys in the firm and will continue to recruit qualified candidates to the team, regardless of gender. 

However, it is critical to recognise the difficulties that women face in any field, including law. Most women, I believe, had to continually prove themselves, either to clients or to top leadership in our organisations.

Because I had to learn to support my family early in life, the formative years of my profession were challenging. I had to choose a job route that would offer me with some financial stability at that age, when individuals strive to learn about their hobbies and passions.

It wasn’t easy, but my hardships helped shape who I am now. Discipline, persistence, patience, and, most significantly, the fortitude to face whatever life throws at you are some of the main skills I feel I acquired throughout those years.

How do women navigate male-dominated sectors, and what more can be done to inspire women to dream larger while also ensuring that the road they pick remains available for future women to follow?

I cannot speak for all women since our difficulties are unique, and there may not be a simple answer to your concern. However, I believe that it is our collective job as a community to ensure that we practise what we teach, in addition to women conquering their anxieties and standing up for themselves. From embracing flexible scheduling for working moms to not delaying promotions due to such changes to evaluating women based on their ability rather than their gender, these are some of the little adjustments we can make in our current organisations to enable more women to pursue their aspirations.

Do you attribute your legal success to your disadvantaged upbringing? Would you mind taking us through that period, as well as how and when you decided to become a lawyer?

My early experience in the sector has undoubtedly contributed to my career as an entertainment rights specialist. I started working odd jobs when I was 15 years old. I began writing for daily soaps, radio shows, unscripted television, and award shows while still in high school.

When I was studying to be a lawyer, I already had a strong network of supporters and mentors who knew me from my previous employment. There wasn’t much representation for artists at the time.

I realised and empathised with many great creative people who were being shortchanged just due to a lack of representation. It was also simple for me to comprehend the workings of the entertainment industry because I had dabbled in various professions for over ten years. I realised I had the chance to make a difference, so two years after graduating as a qualified attorney, I founded Khimani & Associates with that goal in mind.

Actors, authors, filmmakers, showrunners, screenwriters, songwriters, composers, recording artists, comedians, gamers, influencers, and digital superstars are among the clients represented by the firm today.

Your long-term aspirations include authoring a book and making legal education more accessible to everyone.

Do you want to talk about it?

Legal education should not be restricted to university classrooms or a four to six-week internship term. We need to rethink our educational system and include themes and dialogues that provide young attorneys with the fundamental information they need to launch their careers.

During the first shutdown in India, I launched the True or False series on Instagram to teach students and stakeholders in the entertainment sector the fundamentals of copyright legislation. This series was so well received that it inspired me to write a book about my experiences, which I hope to share with everyone shortly.

With your personal troubles as a child, what do you wish to do for people who cannot afford you or someone like you? We never decline to take on cases because of legal expenses at the firm.

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