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Is Skater Girl Based On A True Story?

One of the great benefits of the rise of Netflix Original films over the past few years has been the cultural attention afforded to titles that might otherwise not have had as easy a time finding it. "Skater Girl," a Hindi and English-language Indian-American co-production, is the latest example of how Netflix can help indie and international films find audiences across cultural barriers. In a traditional theatrical circuit, the story of Prerna (Rachel Saanchita Gupta), a teenage girl in a Rajasthan village who falls in love with skateboarding, might have been limited to arthouse screens outside of India, but the wide streaming availability is likely to allow countless teens around the globe to become acquainted with the universal elements in Prerna's story and connect with her inner conflict between tradition and adventure.

The film — which marks the feature directing debut of Manjari Makijany, a prolific Hollywood directorial crewmate who's worked as assistant director in the India units of "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol" and "The Dark Knight Rises" — is poised to draw a lot of attention to its real-life location, the rural village of Khempur, Rajasthan, as well as to India's budding skateboarding scene. And, given its degree of local specificity, "Skater Girl" is also bound to make some viewers wonder about whether its story is ripped from real life.

So, is Skater Girl based on a true story?

Skater Girl tells a fictional story, but it does have real-life inspiration

The screenplay of "Skater Girl," written by director Manjari Makijany in collaboration with her sister Vinati Makijany, is a wholly original one, based neither on preexisting source material nor on any one specific real-life story.

But, of course, that doesn't mean the film doesn't have any real-life sourcing. According to Scroll.in, the story of "Skater Girl" was sparked by Makijany's discovery of viral internet videos of teenagers skateboarding in Madhya Pradesh and other Indian states. Inspired by the vigor, community spirit, and social consciousness of India's young skaters, Makijany went on to take "a journalistic approach of meeting all the skate communities across India and understanding what it is about skateboarding that creates change, disruption and social impact," as she explained in an interview with Mint Lounge.

Eventually, Makijany and the crew of "Skater Girl" landed on Khempur as the ideal setting for their story, as they wanted to show that the skateboarding wave wasn't limited to big cities. This led to a rare and incredible instance of the movie serving as the basis for real-life events instead of the other way around. In an effort to give back to the community and put their money where their mouths were, the producers of "Skater Girl" built an entire skatepark in Khempur to use as the movie's set, and then handed it over to residents once the shoot was finished. The 14,500 square-foot Desert Dolphin Skate Park is currently one of India's largest and most popular skateparks, and even an Olympic training ground now that skateboarding has joined the Summer Olympics program.