We’ve seen the movies about arranged marriages, dramatic weddings, spicy cooking, and mystical mango trees. We’ve seen the Indian-American identity crises, the call centers, and the repressive parents. South Asians in the media are often exotified, mocked with overwrought accents, or cast as geeks or terrorists – but the good news is that these perceptions are starting to change, and Troublemaker is part of that change.
Troublemaker is a universal coming-of-age story that happens to have a South Asian-American protagonist. It’s relatable to anyone who has ever been in dire economic straits, or been desperate to find a viable career path, and it also speaks to anyone struggling with the task of growing gracefully into adulthood while trying to come to terms with a dysfunctional past. It appeals, and applies, to a varied and diverse audience in an increasingly diverse world. The judgment of others, the depth of alienation, and the inability to cope with abandonment are all universally relatable themes, and we see this story through the lens of our protagonist’s distinctive, irresponsible, selfish, and ultimately compelling personality.
Troublemaker is a film that hasn’t been made before, and it tells a gritty, realistic story full of heart, humor, and hope. It doesn’t pull punches, and its raw sensibility is what makes it a unique experience in a progressively more savvy and diverse global marketplace.
Rekha and her friends live in Los Angeles. The road trip Rekha and Omar take is through California to Seattle, then to Reno, and back to Los Angeles.
Tone and Style
Troublemaker is a coming-of-age story, and so the tone is light but realistic. We used hand-held camera movements to emphasize Rekha’s confusion, and to convey the realism and grittiness of her situation and the long road trip. The camera is with Rekha at every step, feeling what she’s feeling, understanding the world from her perspective.
Troublemaker is a movie with both mainstream and niche appeal, similar to films such as Bend it Like Beckham, Better Luck Tomorrow, Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Each of these films featured minority casts, and each had relatable, universal themes. The same audience who watched those movies, as well as similar “indie” films such as Little Miss Sunshine, fit the demographic of Troublemaker as well.