India’s Foremost Stuntwoman— Sanobar Pardiwala
I started doing stunts at the age of 12. Eventually, I realized that I could turn what I love doing into a profession. I have never looked at an obstacle as a struggle, so I’m not sure what my greatest struggle has been. But when I started, stunting was a very male-dominated field. It still is today. People wouldn’t know how to cater to a female being on set or how a woman would do the stunt. Everything was about how a man would do it. So there was this need of outperforming them. There have been a lot of changes. Women are accepted more today than they were, say, 10 years ago.
My only advice would always be to have an alternative profession. Even at 16, I realized that being a stuntwoman, anything could happen tomorrow. So a backup plan was always there. I was raised by a set of powerful men around me. They always taught me to be an independent person. My grandfather and father instilled me with the idea that being a giver is better than being just the receiver. And that changed my life ever since— being independent enough to help the underprivileged.
The best memories I have of my career is just getting the stunts done in one shot. It was a realization as to how to get it done right, right away. It also instills a discipline of doing it. But the most cherished moment of my life was receiving my Lifetime Achievement Award; on the same night, my school principal was awarded it too. I was just 23 back then, and she too had a lifetime body of work. She has impacted children’s lives and has been the best principal of the school. And we met there, after my school years, unknown as to why I was there at all. But I think I made her proud. It’s always incredible to be recognized with someone who one has always looked up to.