#PowerWomen: People are in Awe of our All-women Team - Nishita Patwardhan and Rajjo Mirpuri

Industry Watch | March 8, 2021 | Interview

PowerWomen Rajjo Mirpuri Nishita Patwardhan On Cue Productions

Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to our virtual forum at 4 pm today, we talk to Nishita Patwardhan and Rajjo Mirpuri, Founders, On Cue Productions about their journey.

Decades of experience have given them the opportunity to work with and learn from the best in the industry, from artistes, production companies and technical crews, at locations within India and abroad. With every event that they have managed, On Cue has achieved new heights of success and appreciation. Here, Patwardhan and Mirpuri share insights on their entry into the event industry, challenges faced, position of women in the industry, priorities and some advice for young women entering the events space.


Patwardhan: Totally by accident, I discovered that being a show caller and stage manager was my calling in life; I hadn’t planned for any of this. Right from school, I had been clear that I wanted to be a fashion designer and after my graduation, I enrolled at Sophia Polytechnic’s Fashion Designing course. Towards the end of my course, I started working as a dresser on fashion shows for extra pocket money. I loved the glamorous side of it, but I guess my skills in organizing things and thinking on my feet were first realized here. By the time I finished my course, I was moonlighting as a wardrobe manager on fashion shows and I did a short stint as an assistant to fashion choreographer Lubna Adams for work experience. I had no idea that this decision would change the course of my life forever. Meticulous planning and co-ordinating(in the days before cellphones!), crazy hours and serious lack of sleep were my ‘thing’ and somewhere, unknown to me, my passion for fashion had died a silent death. My mentor, Pradeep Guha, encouraged me and gave me several opportunities to realize my passion for events. Then came a point in 1994 when I had more work than a one-woman army could handle. It was time to grow bigger. I founded a company called On Cue Productions and that’s where RajjoMirpuri came in.

Mirpuri: I landed up in events by accident as well. I had started my career as an administrative executive at Arthur Anderson. I realized pretty soon that the 9 to 5 job was not for me and quit in under a year. In college, I had worked as a freelancer on a few fashion shows. So just around the time Nishita had moved forward from assisting Lubna, I filled those shoes. Nishita moved on to doing different kinds of events besides fashion and every time she needed an extra hand, she would give me a shout. We seemed to work well together so one thing led to another and before we realized it, we became partners in On Cue Productions.


Patwardhan: From where we see it, we have never faced a problem as women in this industry. We were well respected and treated as equals by our peers and clients alike. We were accepted right from the start of our event careers and today as an all-women company, it’s girl power all the way and that hasn’t had any adverse effect. Infact, people are in awe of an all-women team and that’s heart-warming. Today, we see more women in events - be it client servicing, production or design aspects. It would be great to see more women in technical roles like lighting designers, sound engineers, TV and show directors, etc – there is great scope for us as women to enter these predominantly male areas of the event industry.

Mirpuri: It’s important to treat people with respect. We treat everyone respectfully, focus on our work and in return earn the same respect back from one and all.


Patwardhan: Firstly, if you are joining events because you think it’s a glamourous thing to do, please don’t. Think again and think hard. But if you are willing to put in the hard work, long hours and late nights, it is a very rewarding industry, whether you are a woman or a man. I would strongly advise you to make the most of the perks of the industry like travel and exposure you get, and imbibe the most you can from it.

Mirpuri: The most important lesson to anyone who works with us is, be respectful, no job is too little. Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Team work is the only way to succeed on an event – it’s a combined effort of everyone on the event – don’t let your ego get the better of you. Choose a team and company that’s reputed and an environment you like working in, so you can flourish.


Mirpuri: Honestly, there’s no reason why we are an all-woman company other than the fact that it works for us. It wasn’t a conscious decision at first but along the way, we realised that it works beautifully. We had super chemistry and communicated really well, took copious notes, did team meetings, talked and divided the work. The team work and the overall vibe just worked really well as a team of women so we decided why fix what ain’t broke!

Patwardhan: Over time, our USP became being an all-women company and we got good resources as we provide a sense of security. Today, we are a work family and support each other through good times and bad. We believe that a team that works together, chills together, laughs and cries together, stays On Cue forever!


Mirpuri: In our journey over the last 27 years, we have seen the event industry in India evolve and to a large extent we have evolved with it. Keeping up with constantly changing times always helps us put our best foot forward and adapt effortlessly.

Patwardhan: We are always on the lookout not just to incorporate technology in making our services more efficient, but also adapt our services and skillset to meet different kinds of events that didn’t exist earlier. Initially, we would do only the live shows like award shows, fashion galas and pageants. Then came the revolution of television and reality shows and we tweaked our skills to floor management for reality shows. Similarly, we extended ourselves to corporate events.

Mirpuri: Now, it’s all about adapting to safe work practices in the midst of a pandemic. We have had to rethink the way we conduct events, shoots and manage backstage. Minimize teams on site and work in a new and virtual world of events, and ensuring you give your 100% always.


Patwardhan: Our immediate priority is to dive right back into full-scale events with audiences once this pandemic blows over – it’s something we miss immensely. Apart from that, our long-term priority is to ensure that Brand On Cue continues to grow in the industry.

Mirpuri: We have always attributed our success to hard work and consistency above all. At the risk of sounding pompous, I would say it is one of our greatest achievements that any client who works with us just once will always come back to us year after year. From our first big event - Miss India in 1994, when Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai won - to 2021, it has been27consecutive years that we have been part of the journey of the crown and title being bestowed on a new Miss India. That feels really special.


Mirpuri: When we look back at how we used to do events a quarter of a century ago, things are so much more organized and professional now. I’m very curious to see how they did the first Filmfare Awards back in 1954.

Patwardhan: I would love to go back in time to be present at the ‘Imperial Darbar’ of 1911, presided over by King George V. I can just imagine the pomp and splendour of the Indian Maharajas wearing their best jewels and presenting themselves. I can’t even begin to imagine its magnificent pageantry and show!

Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to our virtual forum at 4 pm today, we talk to Nishita Patwardhan and Rajjo Mirpuri, Founders, On Cue Productions about their journey.

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