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WATCH | Meet the filmmakers going beyond Bollywood to showcase India’s diverse stories

Since the 1930s, Indian cinema has been synonymous with Bollywood. The industry has defined perceptions of cultural values and traditions, but these narratives don’t capture the nation’s diversity.

Today, filmmakers and sisters Manjari and Vinati Makijany are depicting the unique array of stories that are present in India.

“There’s so much more to Indian storytelling than colourful costumes, music, and high melodrama,” Vinati says.

Recognising the growing skateboarding movement empowering kids in the country, they filmed Skater Girl.

The Makijany sisters grew up in their father Mac Mohan’s shadow, a prolific actor who appeared in over 200 Hindi films and inspired their passion for the industry.

“Manjari and I gravitated towards storytelling,” Vinati says. They’re focused on telling local tales that have the power to reach audiences worldwide.

Released on Netflix, Skater Girl was produced by Vinati and directed by Manjari. Set in a rural village in Rajasthan, it tells the story of a young girl and her desire to break away from tradition by pursuing her love for skateboarding.

Instead of constructing a movie set that would be demolished once production was complete, they decided to build a skatepark for children to use.

“They’re continuing skateboarding now even after we’ve finished filming,” Manjari says.

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Today, youth in the community and surrounding areas can practise their skills while connecting with peers over their shared enthusiasm for the sport.

“India is so diverse that it’s very hard for just one story to define India,” Manjari says.

Productions like Skater Girl showcase the spectrum of narratives and creativity found in a nation.

These stories can have a ripple effect not only in their communities, but across the globe.

“Feelings of hope, courage, and aspirations cannot be limited to a culture,” Vinati says.