Meet Rashi Bahri: Talk Show Host, Screenplay Writer, Producer, Director

October 10, 2008

I remember once, after a knock-down, drag-out battle about whether or not I should take a year off of college to travel the west coast — my corner said yes and my parents’ corner said no way — my dad stayed up all night and wrote a small-novel length e-mail explaining his position and concluding that he supported my decision either way. I moved to the West Coast, but I did it on a one-year university exchange program, the perfect compromise between my goals and my parents’ wishes.

My interview with Rashi Bahri, a 2002-03 International Fellow, reminded me how important family support can be. Over the past two years, Rashi has written two screenplays: one Indian wedding film inspired by her own family and one supernatural thriller set in India and the United States. She attributes her success to the support of her family. “[My family] gets excited about my projects, and I don’t want to let the family down. Their support and trust is my driving factor.”

This “driving factor” has taken Rashi far since her early twenties when she worked as a national talk show host in Delhi, India. As host of Morning with Celebrities and Subah Savere, Rashi met and interviewed many famous Indian celebrities, but she wasn’t happy in this position. She wanted to direct. To make this happen Rashi had two choices: she could either go to Bombay to study under a prestigious filmmaker or she could move to the United States to begin film school.

Rashi chose film school and applied for and was awarded a fellowship from AAUW. This fellowship was in large part used to make the short film Sarah (visit http://www.rashibahri.com/ and click on the Director tab to view some of Rashi’s work). The money was used for shooting and production costs such as sound, lighting, etc. While this short film is not directly based on personal experience, the Indian director said she feels she is “more sensitive to women’s issues and can relate to this experience a woman could have during her childhood.”

After graduating from film school, Rashi wanted to try out Hollywood to see “if what we were taught in film school was true.” She quickly landed a production job for a company contracted by Discovery Channel, Warner Brothers, and Lifetime, among others. However, Rashi claimed her biggest accomplishment was getting the two screenplays, which she is now marketing in India and the United States, ready for the market. Selling and directing the films are ambitious goals, as was writing two screenplays in two years, but with her family behind her, Rashi is able to forge ahead.

With my family behind me, I am beginning my journey to complete my master’s degree. With their support I will be following Rashi’s advice. “If you have a dream, you owe it to yourself to give it your best shot.” And to my mom and dad, thanks for all your continued love and support.

By:   |   October 10, 2008

6 Comments

  1. Ruth Wahtera says:

    Thanks for this story. I like reading about the wide range of women our fellowships support and the diverse careers they are pursuing. It makes all that fundraising seem all the more important.

  2. Leslie says:

    Very interesting profile. AAUW has certainly funded some remarkable women. I wish Rashi all the best.

  3. Dear AAUW:
    This email comes to you everyone at AAUW, as a THANK YOU NOTE! My name is Justine Rukeba Mbabazi from Rwanda. I am your 2003-2004 International scholarship recipients at Washington College of Law. I am currently stationed in Afghanistan as a senior legal and gender advisor with USAID in Afghanistan; I have handled projects ranging from; Transitional Justice, Legal Aid project that benefited more that 2000 women; becoming Legal advisor to the ministry of finance in charge of Appeals and litigations. Immediately after I graduated from American University Washington College of Law (WCL), I returned to Rwanda again; to work as Country Director for American Bar Association by which, I was engaged in reviewing children’s rights laws, Trained women countrywide on inheritance laws and worked extensively on Mediation laws. My biggest achievement on that assignment was to draft the first legislation to combat Gender Based Violence (GBV-LAW) in the country, which was adopted by the parliament and senator mid this year. I also worked with Women Parliamentarians, Supreme Court and Ministry of Justice (all these positions are spearheaded by women. I think you may be aware that Rwanda is the first country in the world with 56.25% women in the parliament and indeed this has helped the country recover faster from the aftermath of 1994 genocide; and it has indeed helped in peace and reconciliation process. Above all, I am among founder members of Rwandan Association University Women (RAUW) and, and I serve as a scholarship convener…I also serve at IFUWE board; representing Africa as a convener of girl child education.

    Nonetheless, I do believe that AAUW is always interested in knowing what your scholarship is and has achieved around the world. Please check my name in Google and see what I have done in last couple years. You can also visit my organization http://www.nextgenerationconnect.org.

    Once again, without your scholarship, I could not have managed to go this far. I often come to DC quite a lot and I would love to stop by the main office and share my experience particularly that of Rwanda, Sudan and Afghanistan. Thank you for your good work and please include my email justinembabazi@yaho.com back to your listserv. Let me know if you received this email.

    Yours truly,
    Justine Mbabazi –Rwanda
    2003-2004 scholarship recipients

  4. Stella Ajabji says:

    Hello,

    I am a 2008/2009 fellow and I am reading a Master in Sustainable Development with major in Development Economics in the World Learning SIT Graduate Institute, Vermont. I intend to use my internship to develope a microfinance scheme for women in rural and enclave communities of Cameroon.

    I am very impressed with your career path and I hope to get up to your stardard one day.

    I am interested in international development economics and I really want to do a PhD in development economics after my graduate degree. That is after working for about 2 years.

    I am proud of you and you are inspirational as an African Woman.

    Regards,
    Stella Ajabji
    ajabjong2003@yahoo.com

    Check me at google..Ajabji Stella

  5. Ryan says:

    Fantastic quote at the end! I absolutely agree.. we all owe it to ourselves to give it our best shot!!

    Thanks for the article!

    Ryan

  6. michael says:

    One of the better women scholarship programs is the AAUW scholarship. If you are a single mother you can apply for all the programs at once saving much of your time filling out multiple applications for each and every mother scholarship program. The AAUW is one heck of an organization for women to be a part of because they really to help by offering advice that is usable by many and not just a few. They can help moms who are single look for scholarships for
    mothers
    and provide guidance if you don’t qualify for them such as grants and so forth (which I took full advantage of).

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