Indian actors Ali Fazal (“Death on the Nile”) and Richa Chadha (“Gangs of Wasseypur”) have launched production outfit Pushing Buttons Studios.
The company, set up with a view to tell stories rooted in the Indian ethos for a global audience, will kick off with “Girls Will Be Girls,” the only Indian selection of the 10 projects chisen for the Berlinale Talents Script Station program this year.
Written and to be directed by Shuchi Talati, the film is set in an elite boarding school in a small Himalayan hill town in northern India and follows the story of a 16-year-old girl, whose rebellious coming-of-age is hijacked by her mother who never got to come-of-age.
The script has also been selected for the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film Lab, and it won a New York State Council of the Arts Grant for development. New York based AFI graduate Talati has previously directed several shorts including “A Period Piece,” which was an SXSW selection in 2020.
“I like my work to challenge dominant narratives around gender, sexuality, and the Indian identity,” says Talati.
Talati and Chadha had first presented the project at the 2018 Film Bazaar in Goa, organized by India’s National Film Development Corporation. Indian company Crawling Angel Films (2020 Berlinale selection “The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs”) and France’s Dolce Vita Films (2019 Venice and Cairo winner “A Son”) boarded the project there. Crawling Angel’s Sanjay Gulati and Pooja Chauhan and Dolce Vita’s Claire Chassagne will produce alongside Chadha and Fazal.
Richa Chadha said: “The world that Shuchi has created is relatable, often cruel but never hopeless or nihilistic. Its honest awkwardness will make you chuckle, not weep.”
“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,” said Fazal. “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.”