At a young age, Archana, is told that she is cursed. After an astrologer says that she is Manglik (cursed due to the positioning of Mars in her horoscope), her family tries to counteract the curse in various ways. At 25, Archana is about to perform a ritual to cleanse herself of the curse, but finds herself in a position that might prove her horoscope true.

  • Meredith Koch
    Margo & May, The Deep End
  • Jhanvi Motla
  • Vidhya Iyer
  • Jhanvi Motla
  • Nitya Vidyasagar
    Key Cast
    Sesame Street
  • Vanessa Patel
    Key Cast
  • Sharmila Devar
    Key Cast
  • Sunny Virmani
    Key Cast
  • Abhimanyu Katyal
    Key Cast
  • Pramod Kumar
    Key Cast
  • Aurea Jolly
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 28, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    36,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Delhi International Film Festival
    December 15, 2017
    Indian Premiere
    Best NRI Short
  • Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival
  • Seattle Asian American Film Festival
    United States
    North American Premiere
  • Best of India Shorts Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    Runner Up
  • Chennai International Short Film Festival
  • Short to The Point
  • Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
  • Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival
  • LA Shorts International Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
  • Chicago South Asian Film Festival
    United States
Director Biography - Meredith Koch

Meredith Koch is a director based out of Los Angeles. She holds a MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute, AFI and a BA in Directing from UCLA.

Meredith is a director with a focus on unexpected characters in a visually stylized setting. Her thoughtful and meticulous directing style is inspired by characters' subconscious interference in everyday life. Her disposition for non-linear storytelling adds a unique and unexpected twist on any film, commercial, or music video.

Her film, RAKSHA received Best International Short Film Award at the Delhi International Film Festival, Special Festival Mention at the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival and has earned Academy Accreditation as a finalist at the Best of India Film Festival. Thus far Raksha has screened at 13 competitive international film festivals. Her other films MARGO & MAY, ROSIE REED THE BANDIT QUEEN and THE DEEP END have also gained traction on the festival circuit.

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Director Statement

I am honored to be directing a universal story about identity. Archana has been molded by her astrological reading that convinced her parents that she is cursed. In Raksha, we experience this abrupt loss of innocence in the opening of the film and ride along with Archana’s desire to for redemption and inclusion.

Her struggle to be accepted as an equal to her sister, Priya intensifies on the day that she is to be cleansed of the negative martian aspect. This day should be one of hope and relief, but instead it turns south after Priya puts Archana’s beliefs into question. Is she cursed with a dangerous temper or is her intensifying anger justified? This I leave for the audience to decide.

I believe Archana’s quest to be accepted is the ideal parallel to her internal journey; a quest to find her true self. The two objectives cross paths in the climax of the film when she chooses to protect the one person who sees her as complete, her sister Priya.

This film is important because it represents a universal struggle for people to have a real voice and identity outside of what society projects onto them. Archana’s desire to please her family ultimately puts her own beliefs into question. This nature vs. nurture story exposes the continuing struggle of identity that all people face.

With this film, I hope to challenge audiences to question their own belief systems and how they came to be. I also want all of us to think about what identities we place on others. Our own struggle for freedom and identity will not be achieved unless we liberate those around us to find their voice as well.

We live in a culture where anger is feared, fear is feared. We are told to smile, achieve goals society thinks are important, and to fit in. These beliefs create tragic results. I believe Raksha exposes the effects of such societal pressure.

The times in my life where I allowed myself to express my anger were by far the most liberating experiences I have ever felt. Navigating the human condition means questioning the conditioning and striving to be human in its rawest and simplest form. This frightful journey is a task I hungrily explore as a director and where I find the most rewards of the work.

Meredith Koch