'Skater Girl': Finding freedom in skateboarding

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'Skater Girl': Finding freedom in skateboarding

A girl in a remote Rajasthan village finds her true calling

'Skater Girl': Finding freedom in skateboarding

New Delhi: Skater Girl is an inspiring movie directed by Manjari Makijany who has worked on several American and Indian films and is widely known for award-winning shorts films. The movie Skater Girl recently released on Netflix and is creating a lot of buzz on the internet.

The movie opens with a joyous scene – a thin and woefully attired girl with a smile on her face is running through the streets, pulling her younger brother sitting on a rudimentary skateboard and drops him at school. However, she herself doesn’t attend the school and thus, when she sees other girls in school uniform, her face reflects longingness of what she can’t have. Her father wants her to do the chores at home and get some pennies in the house. The movie is set in Khempur village situated 45 km away from Udaipur.

It is clear that we are watching a tale of a poor girl who battles with socio-economic barriers to finally free herself and pursue her dreams. In a conversation between Prerna and Jessica, Prerna tells her that she doesn’t go school as she doesn’t have a school uniform. Jessica decides to help her to come out of her shell and be the free spirit that she is.

The screenplay of the movie is skillfully crafted. It throws light on the mindset of the conservative society we all are a part of. In a scene, Jessica asks Prerna what she would like to be when she grows up. Prerna was baffled because nobody ever asked her this question as she belongs to a place where a girl is not expected to be somebody someday.

The starcast includes Amrit Maghera (Jessica), Rachel Saanchita Gupta (Prerna), Waheeda Rehman (Maharani) and Jonathan Readwin (Erick). The actors have done a decent job, especially Shafin Patel (Ankush) as the little brother. Jessica’s friend, Erick (Jonathan Readwin), enters the village with his skateboard. The children are fascinated by it as they have never done anything like that before and as curiosity knocks, they want to know what that thing does and how to use it.

Skater Girl is Makijany’s first feature and she comes with a good team. Makijany wrote the script with her sister and wanted to show the rise of popularity of skateboarding in India, but they also  wanted to explore the issues regarding the resistance of girls participating in the sport.

Prerna sees the skateboard as a mode of liberation, however, her father resists her participating in a sport ‘meant for boys’, he wants her to marry as he couldn’t bear his daughter doing her own thing, he wants to put a full stop at her chance of having dreams.

As Jessica starts collecting funds for the skateboarding park, Prerna also attempts to carve out space in her life where she can skateboard. However, she hides her skateboard from her parents, especially from her father. There are various social ills that the movie subtly talks about like casteism, patriarchy, etc… but the main focus of the movie is all of the societal pressure girls face — particularly poor girls like Prerna and how they are never given the opportunities to rise beyond the life they have.

The end of the movie is predictable and might trigger your emotions. As Prerna’s parents see her skateboarding and winning at it, her father realises that his daughter is worth a lot more than he gives her credit for and claps for her.

Watch this inspiring tale on Netflix, here is the trailer of the movie.