Lata Mangeshkar called me…
Written by: Nisha Shah
From a chawl in Mahim to an office in Nariman Point, Priyanka built her life on her own — with the bricks of hard work, persistence and determination.
“‘At 25, I landed my first client—Lata Mangeshkar!’ Growing up in a chawl, I couldn’t dream big. Mom and Dad fought constantly due to lack of money and I wanted an out. So I studied hard, topped my class and did well in extracurriculars too—at 13, I won a slogan writing challenge by ESPN!
And at 15, I co-wrote my first TV show—I got the opportunity through a theatre workshop I’d attended in the summer break. That’s when I realised my love for writing. I wanted to pursue it and Dad encouraged it, but Mom wanted me to take up Science. I did; for her. But my heart wasn’t in it—I went from being a topper, to barely getting by.
But writing was the only thing that kept me going. One day, there was a writing workshop happening in college. Being a part of it opened the doors of the world of entertainment for me! The writer, Kiran, mentored me, and together, we wrote several shows—I was enjoying the work! But my happiness was short-lived. Suddenly, my father passed away and I felt the weight of his absence.
But there was no time to grieve—we were four women in the family, and I had to provide for us. So I started scripting more TV shows and took up every opportunity that came my way—radio shows, annual day programmes and sangeet functions. And I even acted in a play by Bharat Dabholkar—it was surreal! He wanted a fresh face in his play; I just happened to be there.
And while those experiences helped me provide for my family, when I graduated, I had to make a decision— ‘What should I do next?’ That’s when I remembered a class that piqued my interest in college—Law. I thought, ‘Why not pursue it?’ So I did; and I enjoyed it so much that I’d study on sets whenever I could. And when I topped, Mom was the happiest!
Six months in, Kiran got in touch—a renowned singer needed a lawyer and even though I was in litigation, I took it up. When I heard her voice, I was flabbergasted—it was Lata Mangeshkar!
Word spread, and soon, I was representing other celebrities. And it was a big deal because back then, entertainment law wasn’t a thing. I simply was at the right place, at the right time—nothing else could explain this! And then I realised, for the first time, I had financial security. I thought, ‘Why not start something of my own?’ When I was sure, I informed Lata Didi and she said, ‘I have your back.’ That was all the assurance I needed.
And so, in 2014, Khimani & Associates came into being, with just a few interns. In fact, there was a running joke that we should’ve been called ‘Khimani & Interns!’ Fortunately, my clients chose to work with me either way, so I wasn’t completely starting from scratch.
A decade has passed running my own law firm—I’ve represented so many celebrities—Badshah, Raja Kumari, Sushmita Sen, Vir Das, AR Rahman, Shreya Ghosal, and it’s hard to believe that it all started with just one phone call with Lata Mangeshkar…
Today, I no longer live in the chawl I was born in…But Mom still does—she’s lived there all her life, and can’t imagine living elsewhere. Though she doesn't completely understand my work, she’s proud I’m giving more women like me opportunities—our firm is 100% female-led!
Starting from a chawl in Mahim, my never-give-up attitude and my hard work have today brought me to having my own firm in Nariman Point, and being called ‘the face of entertainment law.’ But I’ll keep soaring…Because even when the odds were stacked against me, I’ve always been relentless!”
Being India’s biggest storytelling platform, Humans of Bombay is all about bringing you extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Today, we bring you this inspiring story of a woman who has built her own future with her hard work and persistence, and emerged stronger with every challenge. If you’d like to read more such stories, check out our book and dive into the diverse tales of a country with billion beating hearts!