Friday Film Review--"Skater Girl"
“Skater Girl” is not your average skateboard film. It’s about how the sport brought members of a rural Indian community together. Linda Jager tells us more in today’s Friday Film Review.
Skateboarding has always been somewhat of a rebellious sport. However, in the new coming of age film “Skater Girl”, skateboarding unifies - and divides - a rural Indian village.
First-time filmmaker Manjari Makijany tells the story of a young teenage girl Prerna (played by Rachel Saanchita Gupta, making her feature film debut). Prena lives in the small village and spends most days taking her younger brother Ankush (played by Shafin Patel) to and from school on a makeshift bearing cart.
Prerna herself doesn’t get to go to school often, as she helps support her family by selling peanuts in the village market and doing chores at home. On rare occasions, she does attend school, but the other students tease her for wearing an outgrown uniform because her family can’t afford to buy her a new one.
Things soon change with the arrival of Jessica (played by Amy Maghera), a young and ambitious advertising executive from London who comes to the village hoping to make a connection with her late father, who grew up there.
The two meet when Jessica finds herself in the middle of a mud fight between Ankush and his classmates. Prerna helps Jessica clean up at the nearest water pump designated for use members of her lower social class.
Jessica becomes intrigued with the shy Prerna, who is reluctant to engage in conversation. She sees an opportunity to connect when she notices Prerna and Ankush playing with the skateboard-like cart used to take him to school.
Coincidentally, Jessica has an American friend in town - Erick (played by Jonathan Readwin) – who happens to be a skateboarder. Jessica introduces Erick to the kids, who quickly become captivated by skateboarding, much to the chagrin of their elders who decide to ban the new pastime.
The film, co-written with Makijany’s sister Vinati, follows the story of how skateboarding becomes a means for the youth of the village – especially Prerna – to connect and explore freedom from the divisive social culture and norms inherent in their rural community.
Rated PG and running 1 hour and 49 minutes, “Skater Girl” is now streaming on Netflix. It’s an inspiring film worth watching for the whole family.
This is Linda Jager with the KPCW Friday Film Review.