Meet Rashi Bahri: Talk Show Host, Screenplay Writer, Producer, DirectorOctober 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.