‘Skater Girl’ movie review: Lots to root for in this heartwarming drama

A still from ‘Skater Girl’   | Photo Credit: kerry monteen

Manjari Makijany’s Skater Girl tells a heart-warming story. While the film should be faulted for skimming over the atrocities of India’s horrific caste system, (and looking through the lens of privilege) it gets some things gloriously right, namely the spirited performances, the nurturing bond between the female characters and the uplifting music.

Growing up in Khempur, a little village in Rajasthan, is not particularly easy for teenager Prerna (Rachel Saanchita Gupta). While her brother Ankush (Shafin Patel) goes to school, her father would rather she helped out the family at the market and doing housework.

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All changes with the arrival of an advertising executive from London, Jessica (Amrit Maghera), in search of her roots. When her friend Erick (Jonathan Readwin) comes visiting on a skateboard, the children of the village are ignited with the love of skateboarding.

Rachel Saanchita Gupta in ‘Skater Girl’

Rachel Saanchita Gupta in ‘Skater Girl’  

Against the village’s disapproval, Jessica and Erick set up a skate park and the film ends with the big skateboarding competition on the same day as a wedding, and Prerna has to choose between following her dreams and acquiescing to the family’s dictates. Any echoes of Bend it Like Beckham are purely coincidental.

Skater Girl
  • Director: Manjari Makijany
  • Cast: Rachel Saanchita Gupta, Amrit Maghera, Waheeda Rehman, Shafin Patel, Jonathan Readwin, Ankit Rao
  • Storyline: A teenager from a little village in Rajasthan discovers a love for skateboarding
  • Duration: 109 minutes

Skater Girl is not as sharp as Betty, which underlined the subversive power of skating and asked uncomfortable questions on race and gender. Adopting the stranded goat, incidentally, was plain weird. However, newcomer Rachel Sanchita Gupta creates a Prerna we can root for. When Prerna says she feels free when she skates, we can see the unbridled joy in her face. Shafin Patel, also making his debut, makes for a cute-as-a-button Ankush. Waheeda Rehman is graceful as ever as the benign maharani.

Amrit Maghera as Jessica is sincere even as she wonders if she doing the right thing by introducing the children to the skateboard. Vinayak Gupta as Subodh the Brahmin boy Prerna forms a tentative friendship with, is earnest. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is on the right side of rousing.

The skate park created for the film is a community park now, where the girls are encouraged to dream according to the scroll at the end of the film. What was that about the path to perdition being littered with good intentions?

Director Manjari Makijany, who wrote the screenplay with her sister, Vinati (fun fact: they are daughters of Mac Mohan, Samba from Sholay) has created a likeable, airy film, which would have soared to greater heights like its protagonist, if only it had done a deep dive instead of merely skimming the surface.

Skater Girl is currently streaming on Netflix


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:16:07 AM |

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