People of India – Yasmin Kidwai

As part of my ongoing People of India Project, I would like to introduce, documentary film maker and fashionister,  Yasmin Kidwai. We first met eight years ago when she was making a documentary on expats living in India and more recently at the Indore Lit Fest where we were both speakers, but played hooky for a while to go and explore the culinary delights of the street-food at Sarafa Bazaar. She makes poignant films, fabulous clothes and has a wonderful sense of humour!

  • Who you are (naturally!)  

A film maker, stylist, municipal counsellor, mother, mule

  • What inspired you to create your particular business/join your particular industry?

Documentaries provided an excellent medium to tell stories that mattered in the words of those who mattered- it allowed me to peak into and be a part of  lives i normal would have no access to . People not only let me not their lives but in a strange sort of way they accept me -trust me-i like that feeling of belonging to something so alien to me. The other ‘career” I don’t know if right to call the clothes brand i started that – allows me to express myself -to make a statement for women who don’t belong 🙂

  • An anecdote which epitomises your India?

I was once shooting in a very small town in M.P-this is before the days of cell phones – and we some shooting reflectors in the guest house we were staying in – before we realised it -our jeep was stopped at a local paint shop and the owner came running to us saying that we had left a packet behind and if we would not mind waiting and having a cup of tea at his shop the packet would be there shortly. This for me is what India is – resourceful..helpful, ingenious , hospitable. 

  • One thing that you can’t live without? huge addictions here

  • One thing that you hate?

Lizards, dirty toilets, untidy beds.

  • If  you could change one thing about India what would it be?

Hypocrisy , judgments, procrastination .

  • Who is your greatest inspiration?

Shahrukh Khan ;))  No seriously-anyone who can reinvent themselves fascinates me.

  • What is your favourite quote?

Currently –  When I let go of what I am , I become what I might be – Lao Tzu

  • I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?

A lot of letting go of what we are to quickly embrace what we are not -without an understanding of either.

  • What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?

I feel our biggest challenge would be to cultivate empathy , to judge each other less, accept our differences more, to be more together while celebrating our differences, to keep our line of sight clear as smoke screens created all over.

  • Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?

Morocco and in India – Pondicherry.

  • What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?


  • Book or Movie?


  • I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?

Hmmm depends which part of the country am in – hot idlis in Delhi winters, Poha in M.P , Coffee on the go in Mumbai, Hot breads and Pink tea in Kashmir.

  • In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year old self?

Chill !! Have more fun -nothing is important but the fact that you have a good time 🙂

For more details about Yasmin’s Documentaries click:

For more details about her fashion label: 

For more people of India:

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