Synopsis: Upon hearing that her grandmother has passed away, Kaashi, a young Indian woman who left town to study abroad, returns to her home with the intention of performing the funeral rites herself, to honor the only family member who believed in her.
Kaashi’s scornful uncle Vishnu, the patriarch of the family, refuses her this wish, and instead insists that he will perform them, as is custom.
Strengthened by her confidence in herself, Kaashi will defy the century-old traditions to honor her grandmother’s last wish, and perform the last rites.
Ved Thappar (Vishnu)
Ajita Kulkarni (Jyoti)
Sulekshana Khatrri (Shaanti)
Rajesh Dubey (Priest)
For a long time, I struggled to determine which culture I belonged to. To put it plainly, when you come from everywhere, you feel and are made to feel as if you belong nowhere. Though I was born in India, I was raised in Dubai, and am now living in Los Angeles. And being a third-culture kid was great because I got to experience a variety of stories which influenced me as a writer. The downside to this is that finding a sense of nationality becomes harder to do, it’s always a struggle to find a culture that you fully fit in.
The journey of the film’s protagonist, Kaashi, is similar to mine. Having lived abroad for a while, she comes home to find her friends and family shunning her, treating her like an outsider. But the fact is that – whether or not she lives outside of the country – Kaashi feels and is Indian, no matter what her countrymen might say. For me, Kaashi coming from abroad means she’s representing a more modern point of view with regards to Indian traditions.
The Indian society is defined by its traditions because it has had so many invasions from so many cultures; so there is a need for our traditions and religion to stand strong, and they do. But a society’s duty is also to progress, and I’d define progress by how some traditions are updated. Despite what the men around her believe, Kaashi isn’t trying to be a
mouthpiece for women and social reform, she is simply trying to honor her grandmother’s final wish, like any family member would.
If, at any point after watching this film, an Indian woman is able to perform the last rites – which aren’t about tradition and social status but about family and love – then my mission is accomplished.
Aastha is an internationally recognized, award-winning Writer, Director and Producer based in Los Angeles, and brought up in Dubai.
She surrounds herself with stories that are built on ground reality and is a keen storyteller with female/underrepresented protagonists. Her vision is to bring out hidden realities of any given society, to tell stories which are entertaining yet heartfelt and produce something that the viewers take away from.
Being a Writer/Director, she strongly withholds the facts, experiences of ground realities of life when it comes to storytelling. Owing to her experience and co-existing in cross-cultural societies throughout her life, this comes more naturally.
Her motto, when it comes to making movies is that: “as the new face of cinema, it is in our hands to bring an impactful change through the powerful and evergreen medium of cinema – a language that is recognized and understood throughout the world and conjoins different cultures”.
Currently, Aastha works as a Freelance Film Writer/Director and Producer either creating her own films or creatively producing stories that resonate with her the most.