Skater Girl on Netflix shows you what can happen when children are allowed to dream.
Directed by Manjari Makijany, Skater Girl on Netflix takes you through multiple barriers like caste, lack of education, and exposure that children face in rural areas like Khempur, a village in Rajasthan. These barriers keep them from dreaming and becoming something more than what they’re surrounded with and that’s precisely what Skater Girl touches upon by creating opportunities for children to thrive in. The skatepark created in the film is called Desert Dolphin Skate Park IRL and was made in 45 days and is still used as a training center for children who dare to dream.
Cast – While we have Prerna (Rachel Saanchita Gupta) in the main lead, Skater Girl is as much about the rest of the children taking to a new hobby simply out of fascination for the sport and being given the right opportunities by Jessica (Amrit Maghera) and Erick (Jonathan Readwin). Waheeda Rehman is seen in a special appearance in this movie in a tiny but mighty role as the Maharani.
Storyline – This movie starts off with Jessica arriving in Khempur and wanting to explore the village, where she bumps into Prerna and Ankush (Shafin Patel) and their wooden make-shift skateboard. She goes on to ask Prerna what she wants to be when she grows up. Never being asked a question like this in the past, Prerna is left speechless and just looks at her with a blank expression. The children in the village come across Jessica’s friend, Erick, and his fascinating skateboard and can’t wait to give it a try! Watching the kids enjoy this so much, Erick decides to stay back and help them learn this art on a single skateboard. Jessica feels the need to give back to this village, somewhere because her father was adopted from here when he was all of 7 years old. She goes on to buy skateboards for all the children and when met with resistance from the villagers, she approaches various officials to help her with funds for creating a skatepark in Khempur. Like Waheeda Rahman clearly explains, Khempur doesn’t do well with change, especially one that’s brought about by a woman. The villagers turned a blind eye when it was kids playing with wooden make-shift skateboards because that felt familiar. The Maharani then helps Jessica with the land where she builds a skatepark for these children and Jessica helps them train with Erick. Skater Girl follows Prerna’s ambition, helplessness, and courage as she navigates her way from mingling with another cast, child marriage to finally choosing her freedom by running away to participate in the skating competition.
What I loved – I loved the spirit of Skater Girl. This film tried to capture more than just the ambition of one girl, like what this sport meant to children across the village. The soundtracks across this movie are very moving and worth listening to. Prerna gazing longingly at opportunities she’s not entitled to like going to school like the other girls or making some quick money to help her father out, helps you understand her desire to feel free and alive. When she steps onto a skateboard, you can understand what she’s experiencing simply by the joy radiating off her face. I love these scenes throughout the movie. This movie is also a great skateboarding story. Right from the design of the skatepark to executing it in 45 days, Skater Girl captures the freedom and rebellion that this sport depicts extremely well.
Check out the trailer here –
What I didn’t quite like – While this movie makes a social impact, parts of Skater Girl didn’t seem realistic like some of the dialogues between Prerna and Jessica. Conversations around caste, poverty, education, and practices like child marriage were rushed over to an extent that the story felt incomplete.
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