Aakanksha Sardana is a graduate of the University of Delhi in New Delhi, India. With a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and awaiting to hear back from post-graduate institutions, Sardana has many accomplishments to be proud of. Her biggest accomplishment to date, however, is how she took her passion for Bollywood cinema, something that she has enjoyed and identified with since childhood, and turned it into a product, an online magazine called The Filmy Babe, that reaches out to many.
“My first memory of Bollywood is probably when I was 6 years old, and I took pictures of Kareena Kapoor Khan’s pink sharara from K3G to a tailor and demanded for an identical one to be made for me.” Sardhana said. “However, a teenager feels an incessant need to conform, and I did too. I started to reject Indian music, culture and films simply because I wanted to fit in, not stand out. Overweight and socially anxious, this seemed like another thing going wrong for me.”
However, she decided to change things around and embrace herself, her culture and her love for cinema.
What started off as just a Twitter name that she used, The Filmy Babe soon turned into a full-fledged website in 2016. Her small passion turned into a tangible idea, one that is now all over the internet.
“If you’re passionate about your idea, you will see it everywhere. Your mind will wander off to it sunny afternoons waiting for the bus, cool mornings when you set out for a walk and starry date nights,” Sardana said.
But The Filmy Babe is about so much more than just movies. The Filmy Babe attempts to give people of South Asia a voice. Topics range from entertainment to mental health to women’s issues, and everything in-between.
Starting any sort of venture is a feat, but it can be even more difficult when your project is something that is online; with the Internet and social media becoming so prominent and a part of everyday lives, putting yourself out there under the spotlight isn’t easy.
When asked about her path to starting The Filmy Babe, Sardana said that getting over her own self-doubt was probably the most difficult part.
“There’s always a nagging feeling while typing out my thoughts that is afraid of what the reactions may be. We’re so invested in our work, that we want it to be perfect.” Sardana said. “I’ve realized, though, that sometimes, all of us will put out poorly written content, but it’s constantly writing, reading and learning that will help us grow.”
Especially for a writing portal, there can be a lot of obstacles to overcome. There are barriers to overcome, and getting content out to people is not always easy.
However, it isn’t impossible either. If one’s determined and puts in the time and effort, anything is possible.
Sardana believes that the most difficult part is starting out, starting with the blank canvas. But once you get past that, you can and will succeed.
“I think we’re in a position of tremendous privilege where we pick up a laptop, and start off our own business ventures. But so many little girls and women have had dreams that they couldn’t fulfill – because of society, family or finances. And I think we owe it to ourselves, our idea and everyone who doesn’t have that privilege to believe in ourselves and go for it.” -Aakanksha Sardana
The Filmy Babe has taken off and become quite successful, but Sardana does not plan to slow down anytime soon. There are many new ideas that she hopes to soon incorporate into her website.
“We’re in the process of starting a series about Bollywood films called ‘The Filmy Feminist’ where we, as feminists revisit our favorite films and try to derive small lessons, inspirations and also learn from the mistakes our favorites make on screen,” Sardana said. “Apart from this, we hope to start a Self Care portal called ‘Dear Didi’ with which we hope to invite people to vent, share, listen and most importantly, care for themselves.”
To learn more about Aakanksha and The Filmy Babe, check out the following: