Like many other young girls growing up in South Asia, Snigdha Kapoor found herself navigating a world that expected her to blend in and fade rather than stand out.
“Coming from India, a subcontient still hurting from a traumatic colonial history, I grew up in an environment that promotes self-denigration and covertness,” said Kapoor. “And the rules were especially more complicated in the context of women. I lacked an objective representation of myself in books, media entertainment, films and just about any medium that reaches out to a wider audience.”
But blending is not Kapoor’s nature. Instead, she pursued journalism and advertising, and eventually found her niche in filmmaking. The medium provides the expression for which she searched since childhood.
Kapoor’s films focus on telling compelling stories about women and underrepresented communities. She’s currently working on a short film titled The Other Side, which tells the tale of a South Asian birth mother who meets her 8-year-old son and his Caucasion adoptive parents. The story finds the mother facing tensions about her sexuality, as Kapoor also explores the representation of South Asian LGBTQ+ women on screen.
Asked about her project, Kapoor said; “Through this film, I want to represent a South Asian character, a woman, as a complex and layered three-dimensional character and not just a one-dimensional sidekick character such as ‘Girl 3,’ ‘Friend 2’ or ‘Girl With An Accent.’ We are living in a polarized world, and one of my goals through this film is to bring together the diverging perspectives of suburban small town America and a more diverse urban America for a common goal; the child’s well-being.”
The Other Side is set to begin filming in April 2020, but already has received acclaim, earning a spot on the list of Top 10 Screenplays at the Screencraft Short Screenplay Competition 2019. Also, the Independent Filmmaker Project, which fosters the development, production and promotion of feature and documentary films, selected The Other Side for its Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2020, which enables crowdsourcing fundraising. This film will be Kapoor’s first as a both writer and director.
Kapoor’s other works include the film short Shattered Beauty, which won her an award for best cinematography at Asian American Film Lab and directing photography of the fashion film Rituals, published by Oyster Magazine. Her conceptual music video Aghor, premiered by Brown Girl Magazine, will be playing at the Delhi Art Gallery in NYC, as part of the India Centre Foundation’s Kaleidoscope event on February 13th. A short film she directed, (t)here, about an immigrant experience, is playing at film festivals around the world.
From films to music videos to photography, Kapoor’s work radiates with raw emotion. She’s determined to give voices to the quietest among us. And in doing so, is giving young girls like herself characters that they can not only look up to but also see themselves reflected in, messy flaws and all.