‘Hollywood started feeling a bit like home’
Vidushi Chadha, who was a Young India Fellow at Ashoka University in 2017, narrates her journey of writing, producing and acting in the film that has made her dream come true
I was born and raised in New Delhi. I studied at Delhi University before setting on the incredible Young India Fellowship at Ashoka University in 2017. Since the very beginning, was deeply invested in theatre.
I had acted in a hilarious adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s black comedy, my first play in 2013. Somehow, I found a freedom in acting that I had never experienced before and I decided to devote my life to this craft. I started writing and performing spoken word during my time as a Young India Fellow at Ashoka University.
Academia opened my mind to hitherto unseen facets and I found a lot of inspiration from my gender, communication, film and critical writing classes.
As a student of Young India Fellowship, I had the liberty to incorporate theatre wherever I could. We did a production of the Vagina Monologues, performed my own adaptation of Shakespeare’s sonnets at the British Council and I even directed Art by Yasmina Reza for the art appreciation class. I also started performing spoken word pieces in competitions.
This was how I wrote Freedom, which is now called Neckline, the film I won three awards for.
Neckline is a cathartic outpour, an appeal to the world to listen to our voices and for us to embrace our innermost desires. It is an invocation to break from society’s expectation of an ideal woman and be free to slither out of our comfort zone. While we explore the stories of five women breaking through in an artistic narrative following the spoken word poem, we also see them in a dystopian land ~ in a warehouse that manufactures the ideal woman. It is bold, provocative and unapologetic.
Neckline is a women-led production with a racially diverse team of women. Through this film women from a plethora of countries have come together to tell stories that liberate us. We recently premiered at the iconic Chinese Theaters, Hollywood Boulevard as a part of the Golden State Film Festival, where we won Best Direction for Narrative Short. We also won two awards in the Women Filmmaker and Social Justice, Liberation and Protest Category at the Best Shorts Competition and are Semi – Finalists at the International Cosmopolitan Film Festival of Tokyo.
Being an actor comes with its immense challenges but victories like these make it all worthwhile! I appreciate each and every person who made my dream come true. The film was shot in Los Angeles and the TCL Chinese theaters on Hollywood Boulevard was the perfect venue. As I walked after winning our award that night, Hollywood started feeling a bit like home.