By Gayatri Everitt Bajpai

There is opulence to Preeti’s world. A well-to-do husband, expensive jewelry, and lavish parties. But underneath all that beauty, there is rot. Preeti’s husband hurts her. And she has been too afraid to do anything about it because leaving would make her a pariah in her community.

In some ways, this is a coming-of-age Romantic Dramedy about a middle-aged woman finding herself and her true passion. But there is darkness, too. The film will bring elements from the romcom genre, as well as character-driven study.

With a daughter to protect, Preeti has made herself small for many years. The light has gone out of her eyes.
What inspired me to tell this story was the character. Preeti seems the opposite of a rebel. She is polite, dutiful, and warm to her friends, but she doesn’t stir up trouble. She looks out for her daughter first. She doesn’t want to be cast out of her community or gossiped about. Yet, in a gentle way, she becomes someone who does exactly that.

Our film will begin in the status quo of her world, which we will paint with both richness and darkness, leaning into the golds, reds, and jewel tones of Indian celebrations in our production design, but finding the colder blue undertones and dark shadows that contrast with this richness in our lighting. Preeti’s world is small. We will show her boxed-in by compositions that keep her overshadowed.

But as Preeti begins to struggle to free herself, more and more warmth makes its way into our frame. Her world gets brighter. Camera work becomes more dynamic and the edit more frenetic. The rich colors and textures become liberated from shadows and pop. The lighting warms. It is as if the dark melts away.

Preeti’s frame starts to breathe. She becomes larger in it, taking up more space. Tentative notes of the jazz-inspired score will erupt into the more frenetic score as her husband engages in a manipulative game of chess to win over their social circle’s approval. Then it will start to string together into something bolder as she finds love with a man who owns a bar, and goes to her daughter’s concerts. Preeti finds inspiration in her daughter’s freedom.

As she laughs with new friends and makes her first sale, our cinematography will start to find smooth flow and movement. It will follow her into a world painted in warmer and brighter tones. The euphoria of true love and finding her passion takes over. Preeti steps into the center of our frame for our last image, with her chosen family fanning around her.