A doctor-turned-entrepreneur and also a trained salsa dancer and a great chef.
An economics professor who is an adventure sports enthusiast with a penchant for wildlife conservation.
Doing multiple things is no longer fancy and unheard of.
Gone are the days when a person could do just one thing. Multi-tasking is no longer a skill, it is a necessity. But have you ever gotten so caught up with something that you lose track of your own self? Have momentary targets made you feel claustrophobic?
Kanika Batra, 29, felt all of this. But unlike most of us who get used to living with the feeling, she decided to change the trajectory of her life through art, music, theatre and entrepreneurship.
Speaking of her first tryst with the arts, Kanika says,”My first musical play was at the age of nine when I acted and choreographed the musical play Angelina that was written and directed by my Dad.” Ever since, she has always performed and pursued her creative interests parallel to her formal education, and most recently her business.
A lawyer by qualification, Kanika switched from law to business and did her master’s at King’s College London. She runs a niche Learning and Development company called Outperform that caters to the Learning needs of a set of premium clients.
Four years into her successful business career and she realised something was not right.
“The business ended up controlling me. I stopped dancing, stopped working out, stopped acting- simply because I never had the time,”she explains.
Multi-tasking her creative interests with a full fledged business was difficult but the joy of being able to do what she loved made up for all of it.
From acting to making
Kanika is popular in the Bengaluru theatre circuit and has essayed the lead role in several musical and non-musical plays like Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, All Shook Up and Keats was a Tuber, Lights Off, to name a few.
She has also acted in two feature films,both made entirely with a Bengaluru crew- Station and Joint Trip.
“Film is entirely different from theatre, though they both have their own highs,” she says.
So what prompted an accomplished actor to make her foray into filmmaking?
“A year ago, I realised that my dad was getting older, and I really wanted to do something with him, and spend more time with him. Around the same time, I had friends who were coping with the regret of not having said or done the things they wanted to do with their fathers, under the assumption that tomorrow would come. For me, it was three birds with one stone- one, make my dad’s dream of acting in a movie a reality at 60 plus years, two, pursue something creative and three, share this important message with the world,”she says.
Papa’s always got our back!
Kanika’s Project Papa wants to bring the connection between a fatherand daughter to the forefront. A bond that is cherished but seldom celebrated through an English-Hindi feature film called Project Papa. It is a 120-minute film that talks about the importance of living in the now, shown through the relationship between a 29-year-old daughter and a 64-year-old father.
Her passionate venture will be fuelled by crowd funding. The team has already raised an amount well above its target of Rs 30 lakh and will begin shooting soon.
Says Kanika, “Project Papa has already touched several hearts, and impacted lives. Daughters going home to take care of their ‘baba’, daughters taking their dads out on the vacation of their dreams etc. This is my biggest motivation, and my biggest driving factor.”
The road ahead
Irrespective of one’s profession, most of us strive hard to squeeze in as much as we can in a day’s time. But haven’t we all secretly prayed for some miracle to add a couple of more hours to the oh-so-insufficient 24? So what is Kanika’s secret sauce?
“The journey to understanding and learning it, is similar for all, once you crack the code to learning anything new.I’ve always been a multi tasker. What I did need to learn though, was the importance of focused tasking,” she says.
Lawyer, entrepreneur, actor and now filmmaker – Kanika is a great example of how everything becomes a cakewalk when you love what you do.
Inspired enough to take that plunge and do what you’ve always wanted?