Bollywood couple Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal have recently turned producers and started their own creators lab. The work on their first project has commenced. Their newly christened company ‘Pushing Buttons Studios’ aims to tell stories 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’.
Written and to be directed by debutant Shuchi Talati, ‘Girls Will Be Girls’ 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. The film is set in an elite boarding school in a small Himalayan hill town in the North of India. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old Mira, whose sexy, rebellious coming-of-age 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 ultimately loving relationship is the beating heart of the film.
Talking about the film, Richa said, “The world that Shuchi has created is relatable, often cruel but never hopeless or nihilistic. It’s honest awkwardness will make you chuckle, not weep. It’s full of relatable, lived-in episodes, 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 that the possibilities of ‘Girls Will Be Girls’ presents are very exciting.”
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 our studio will enter the market with such a progressive, female-led story. We hope to be able to tell thought-provoking and universal stories with humour and love.”
He has been the lead in the Hollywood film ‘Victoria and Abdul’ and will be seen in Kenneth Branagh’s magnum opus ‘Death on the Nile’ later this year. He is also a member of the Academy. Richa Chadha too has traveled with her films to Cannes and been on the jury of international film festivals at Marrakech and Nara, Japan.
The writer and director of the film, Shuchi Talati is an Indian director based out of New York. “I like my work to challenge dominant narratives around gender, sexuality, and the Indian identity,” she said. Shuchi and Richa first presented ‘Girls Will Be Girls’ as part of the NFDC’s Film Bazaar co-production market.