project has commenced. We hear that the projects they will back aim to tell stories that are rooted in the Indian ethos for a global audience. The first script to be green-lit under their banner is titled Girls Will Be Girls and is written and will be directed by debutant Shuchi Talati. Interestingly, it is the only Indian script invited to the prestigious Berlinale Script Station 2021 — a lab that selects only 10 projects from around the world each year.
Talking about the venture, Ali Fazal said, “This is the first time that Richa and I are collaborating on a film as producers, and the experience so far has been very rewarding. This film being our first is close to our hearts. I am also excited that we are making a foray as filmmakers with such a progressive, female-led story. We hope to be able to tell thought-provoking and universal stories with humour and love.”
The film is set in an elite boarding school in a small Himalayan hill-town. It follows the story of 16-year-old Mira, whose sexy, rebellious coming-of-age phase is hijacked by her mother, who never got to come-of-age. Mother and daughter grow up together through the course of the script, and their fraught, but loving relationship lies at the heart of the film. Shuchi Talati, the writer-director, who is based out of New York, says, “I like my work to challenge dominant narratives around gender, sexuality and the Indian identity.”
Richa says, “The world that Shuchi has created is relatable, often cruel, but never hopeless or nihilistic. Its honest awkwardness will make you chuckle, not weep. It’s full of relatable incidents, that one finds oddly satisfying — like popping a zit. The mother in our story routinely dodges the self-sacrificing stereotype of the typical Indian mom — she’s complicated, grey and not a martyr. The dynamic between mother and daughter is so under-explored in Indian and world cinema.”
Shuchi and Richa have been longtime collaborators. They co-directed a documentary about adults living with autism and Down’s Syndrome while they were students at Sophia College in Mumbai, as an assignment. Even as Richa became an actor and Shuchi became a director, the two remained close friends and often talked about making films together.