Quickly onto the next release of the weekend and I have just finished the hindi film Skater Girl on Netflix. It was just last weekend where I had mentioned in my review of Kho Kho that sports as a genre comes with its own set of limitations. There is very little expansion that you could do with the writing without avoiding any cliches. This new film tackles a new sport Skating which is still relatively new to India. And with it being set in India that too in a rural village, I was curious on how the film eventually pans out. Its trailer looked promising, is the film as good, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Set in a rural Village in Rajasthan, Skater Girl follows the story of a young girl and her fascination for skating after she acquaints a foreigner who takes a liking to the kids in the village. The story is heartening as well as liberating. It gently tugs the strings of your heart thereby leaving a wide smile on your face. The screenplay compliments it perfectly. It is within the first 15 minutes that you get to know so much about the girl and her family. The subtext is so well written that it instantly grabs your attention. Right from those helpless eyes as she watches her brother go to school, to the pain of not having a uniform to attend school or being treated as an outsider due to caste differences not only in the village but also in school are some of the instances. The screenplay is so poignant that it makes us reflect on life in general. The small pleasures in life with the kids being introduced to the sport and them gleefully playing with that one toy for as long as they wish, really transports you back to your own childhood when life was easy(although the comparison isn’t true at all, we have had better lives than the kids shown here). The screenplay is packed with all these tender moments that by the time it gets to the sport, it is already beyond it. It is liberating in more ways than one! The end is a little cliched but I would blame the genre more than the writing. As mentioned before, it is difficult to look beyond the limitations of the genre without being a little cliched. But this is a minor blip in an outstanding screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are extremely well penned and they leave a lasting impression. The music is beautiful and blends well with the drama. The BGM is quite impressive too. Director Manjari Makijany has done a terrific job here. She keeps things tight and steers clear of the generally cliches of the genre for most parts. Also setting this story in Rural India and introducing an international sport was a genius idea that was very well executed too.
The performances are outstanding. Waheeda Rehman as Maharani is a delight to watch here. She adds a lot of star power in her cameo. Anurag Arora as Mahesh shines in a little cameo. So does Vinayak Gupta as Subodh in another cameo. Swati Das is wonderfully restrained as Shanti. Her helplessness is really portrayed excellently which gives a fair idea about how her early life was too. Jonathan Readwin as Erick is such an earnest and heartfelt character that you can’t help but fall in love with him. Top notch acting. Amy Maghera as Jessica is absolutely brilliant. She does a fine job and adds a nice vibe to the film. From the kids, it is Shafin Patel as Ankush who wins your heart. He has a perfect sense of comic timing which is for all to see here. And he excels in a few serious scenes as well. Rachel Saanchita Gupta as Prerna is the star of the show. She has so many layers and emotions to play with and she comes out with flying colours. She has a charming and disarming smile that probably hides much of the pain that she is going through. This is one performance that stays with you long after the filn has ended.
Skater Girl is a film that goes beyond sports. It is liberating and heartfelt and a film that will leave you with a wide smile on your face and maybe a little teary eyed. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.