TheGlitz ‘Super Woman’: Deepti Pillay Sivan, award-winning director and producer

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She’s absolutely gorgeous – in and out. Full of vitality and positivity, in fact, even a brief interlude with her gets you into an amazing zone. Meet TheGlitz ‘Super Woman’ Deepti Pillay Sivan. ….An actress par excellence who debuted with Mohanlal, an exemplary producer of superlative content in feature films and documentaries for international broadcasters like National Geographic channel and Al Jazeera. She was a Station Director who helmed the launch of Red FM in the South at the young age of 30 and then went on to become the Business Head/ Commissioning Head of Sun TV and Zee TV. Extremely creative and an amazing leader, she turned director with the documentary “Decoding Shankar” on the life of musician Shankar Mahadevan, which went on to win 25 International Film Awards.

Deepti Pillay Sivan
Deepti Pillay Sivan

Indeed, this lady is truly awesome – I should know! I have the good fortune of knowing Deepti personally so I can validate how amazing this beautiful lady truly is. Married to the multi-talented Sanjeev Sivan and mother of three children, she is indeed an inspiration. So put your hands together for TheGlitz ‘Super Woman – Deepti Pillay Sivan.

Directing Shashi Tharoor

What defines you to be the person you are?

A person who believes in the power of positive thinking and sees the hand of God in everything I do. …Who believes whatever happens- happens for a reason and for good. …Who faces every situation with humour.

Your journey has had many momentous milestones. Could you list some special milestones that have changed your life?

  • Debuting as an Actress, especially with Mohanlal, which brought me to the world of movies and which gave me the opportunity to be part of Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL), inspiring me to go behind the camera in the production of feature films, documentaries for International broadcasters like National Geographic channel, Al Jazeera etc.
  • Starting out at the young age of 30, donning the role of Station Director to launch the Radio Channel- Red FM in the South, progressing to Business Head/ Commissioning Head to India’s largest Television Network- Sun TV and later Zee TV.
  • Turning Director with the documentary “Decoding Shankar” on the life of musician Shankar Mahadevan, which went on to win 25 International Film Awards; making me the first female director to win so many awards for a documentary film. That has built my confidence turning me into a full-fledged Director and Producer launching my own banner Tripod Motion Pictures.

Could you list 3 of what you believe are your major achievements?

My ability to handle my career and home, giving equal importance to both. Having three beautiful children and a happy contented family life, and most importantly having found time to be with my parents whenever they needed me when they were alive when I look back that was most gratifying…

What are the setbacks you have faced? How did you tackle these setbacks or challenges? And what lesson have you learned from it?

  • I have faced so many issues in the course of my career- where people have taken credit for your ideas and presented it as theirs, the benefits of your hard work are taken by them and in return, you are harassed, humiliated, belittled in front of your colleagues so that you are oppressed and have self-doubt to raise yourself in the situation.
  • How I tackled the situation – First, I analyzed and believed in myself and my ability, wondering how I came so far, if I wasn’t so good. Second, I walked away from such people who were toxic to my well-being. I didn’t want them anywhere in my vicinity nor see their face first thing in the morning. Third, I ensured I was surrounded by people who love me, who reassured me to have faith in my abilities and power to craft my own destiny.
  • The lesson I have learned is that if you have confidence in yourself and your ability then “Be your own Boss”.

When you look back, what are the three qualities in you that have helped you become what you are today?

  • I love all, trust a few, do harm to none”. I never wish ill for anyone. I believe what energy you give out in the universe is what will come back to you. Hence I only wish the best for everyone; that’s because of my absolute faith in God. I believe if he puts me in a situation, he knows how to get me out of it too.
  • If I undertake a task, I leave no stone unturned to ensure that it achieves the best results and that no one else can do better than me.
  • The humiliation and insults I had to endure in my life; in turn, helped me to be determined, confident, set new goals, excel in what I do and achieve the impossible.
The wind behind Deepti’s wings: Family

Who are the people who have been the wind behind your wings?

  • My parents Lt. Col AVD Pillay and Vasantha Pillay, always used to inspire me whenever I had an important meeting or when I was at crossroads; they used to say “Have Confidence in yourself and bash on regardless”.
  • My Uncle Maj. Gen. C. Venugopal, PVSM, MVC- he drilled into my psyche “Remember you are the best and no one can beat you – Second to none”.
  • My filmmaker husband Sanjeev Sivan. His one sentence to me – “there is no hard and fast rule for anything, follow what your heart says but do it with your heart and soul, so that no one can do it better than you”
These philosophies drilled by these people are helping me to craft my own destiny.

Lastly, if there was a quote to define you, what would it be?

In simple 3 sentences: “I’m second to none”, “I am the Best” and “What you see is what you get, I have no hidden agendas”.

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