Private Project

500 Rupees

Sarita, an innocent teenage girl who lives in a dinghy chawl of 1990s Bombay works as part-time prostitute. She seems oblivious to the grim reality of her job and focuses on the prospect of enjoying the car rides her rich customers offer when they pick her up. One day, three men pick her up in a car and try to make advances on her but more often than not the situation gets diffused with her charm. She is playful, fun loving and cheerful like any teenage girl and quite different from the stereotypical imagery of a sex-worker.

  • Shashwat Gandhi
  • Shashwat Gandhi
  • Yugshrestha Karpatne
  • Kashish Bharti
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    500 Rupay
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 20, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Shashwat Gandhi

Shashwat Gandhi is a Mumbai based Indian Filmmaker. He began as a student of science graduating in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay; moved to commerce to trade derivatives for an Investment Bank in Tokyo and Hong Kong; and finally settled into the arts making films back in his hometown. Shashwat holds a Diploma in Filmmaking from Whistling Woods International where he was awarded scholarships for exemplary
performance. At present, Shashwat runs a video production company Boathouse Media making commercials and corporate films. At the same time, he continues planning for his next blockbuster fiction film that he continues to be passionate about.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This film is based on a short story by Sadat Hasan Manto. Manto’s stories have always captured my imagination for their starkly real settings, characters with questionable morals and non-judgmental style of writing. In this particular story ‘Dus Rupay’ which I chose for adaptation, Manto described the character of a teenage prostitute in a way I had never seen or read before.
Stepping away from stereotypical depiction that often victimizes these women, Manto presented a fresh image for the character of Sarita who works as a prostitute. Grinding poverty had forced her widowed mother to send her daughter, for ‘outings’ with men in exchange for money. But personally, Sarita loved these adventures as they mostly involved visits to the beach and she enjoyed the car rides. Sarita is not just another victim of her profession; she is associated with unconventional attributes. She is cheerful and innocent like a teen and determined and righteous like a mature woman.
It is this ambiguity in her character that has been my primary interest. She appears to be a child at one time and a mature woman at another time but at no time does she judge herself or her profession. She is just happy to feel free and liberated and her profession is her vehicle to enjoy this freedom. This film is a celebration of her spirit.