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Nominated for Outstanding Debut Feature, Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor (Pranidhi Varshney)
New Jersey Independent South Asian CineFest, 2011

Director Geeta Malik makes a remarkable feature debut with Troublemaker, which twists and turns around the concepts of what relationships can and do mean in our lives. As no stranger to comedy, Malik (who made the viral hit Aunty Gs) inserts a healthy dose of humor into a heartfelt story about running away in order to find out what home really means.”

Brandon Coyle, Features Programmer
San Diego Asian Film Festival 2011

“Gone are the days of cliche American Indian films dealing with dramatic families, arranged marriages, and yogis…With promising performances by lead actors Pranidhi Varshney (Rekha) and Peter Pasco (Omar), Troublemaker offers a fun and emotional road trip. Geeta Malik marks a change in the stereotypical perception of South Asians by telling a story that anyone who has ever struggled with issues such as family problems, unemployment, or vague career choices can relate to.”

“Independent movie Troublemaker was an extremely entertaining film that had the audience thoroughly impressed with its truly original story of a non-traditional tough Indian girl struggling to make sense of her life…the movie gives a surprise ending while wowing the audience along the way with an amazing story line and good acting.  Troublemaker was beautifully directed by Geeta Malik and her cast was equally amazing.”

Sean Owens, India Post

“Troublemaker is a cinematic study in stark realism, populated with not only likeable, but believable characters coping with life’ s everyday travails.  No convoluted plot.  No gratuitous melodrama.  No overwrought sets and costumes.  Just a simple story told with pathos and purpose.”

Celeste Heiter,

“Recommended viewing: Troublemaker is an exuberant and honest telling of a tough story: an excellent road movie using a young woman’s relationship with her estranged father as the fuel that keeps things moving…With perfect pitch, director Geeta Malik’s poignant and headstrong coming-of-age story (which won a special commendation from Cinequest judges) shows us that the search for security extends far beyond material things.”

Roger Rose and Ariel Raz, CineSource magazine

Troublemaker is a celebration of independent filmmaking, featuring touching performances and a sensitive approach to a human story by director Geeta Malik.”

 Christina Marouda, Founder
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

“The dynamic and affecting Troublemaker follows the crooked path of a young woman trying to cope in immature ways with her difficulties, as she goes through an inner journey to reach an inner peace.  Covering somewhat familiar ground from a quite different perspective, writer/director Geeta Malik’s film is peopled by characters whose entire culture is in transition.  Troublemaker engaged audiences of all ages at the recent Cinequest Film Festival 2011, where it was commended by the Maverick jury.

The pitch-perfect script and realistically-drawn characters work seamlessly to create a fascinating paradigm.  And while other films may look at female central characters, Malik succeeds where others continue to fail – by showing us with such clarity and precision the confused young woman with a chip on her shoulder.  Because Troublemaker takes us so deep into her world, we root for her to escape the pain of her past.  In a rocky relationship with a longtime boyfriend, she is as surprised as the audience to find her heart opening to his love and support.  And even there, the authenticity of the story is apparent as she can’t readily accept what is happening to her:  love is indeed messy sometimes.  Malik’s actors turn in great performances, playing easily off of each other with the kind of palpable chemistry audiences buy tickets to witness.

Troublemaker will undoubtedly find a willing audience for its bravery, its successful portrayal of intimacy on many levels, and for sterling performances by its two stars.”

David Hakim, film critic and producer
Member, Narrative Jury, Cinequest Film Festival 2011

“Director (/producer/screenwriter/editor) Geeta Malik’s first film shows that even brand new filmmakers working on miniscule budgets…can produce fine entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed this character study of a young woman in hard times trying to make a connection with her estranged father.

Rekha (Pranidhi Varshney) may be experiencing tough times, but we can also see she is bringing some of her trouble on herself. In her frustration with her situation she looks to escape to a party lifestyle, and eventually ends up lashing out at friends and others. When we finally meet the mysterious father Dev Kumar (Ajay Mehta) we see the source of her independent (or rebellious) personality…

…The actors carried their parts solidly, the cinematography did not reveal the low budget, and the story fell together nicely, with an ending that shows Rekha beginning to turn herself around, but without showing more than it has to. Your 90 minutes spent on this film will not be wasted.”

Matt Bruensteiner, San Jose Metblogs

“If you want to break the laws of physics, give the director of Troublemaker, Geeta Malik, a small budget to work with. She transcends her budget…Troublemaker is well-polished and never once do you feel that you are watching a small indie film. Her directing is crisp and the story flows from start to finish.”

Geeta Malik’s extraordinary debut film, Troublemaker, marks a welcome shift in explorations of South Asian American female identity and father-daughter relationships. Rather than focus on the tired clichés of tradition v. modernity, or a clash of cultures, Malik allows her protagonist depth, humor, and foibles that are at once informed by the cultural fabric in which she moves and make her immediately relatable on an universal level. Thoughtfully written, brilliantly acted, and expertly executed, Troublemaker is a must-see for anyone interested in the new directions of South Asian American film.”

Dr. Priya J. Shah, Department of Women’s Studies
University of California, Irvine