Stain Resistant (Short Film)

This is a story of two women, former classmates from Delhi, who reconnect in Silicon Valley in their forties, after taking completely different paths through life. Sunny came to the US after an arranged marriage and raised a family in Silicon Valley. Tara, a single New Yorker, is a successful journalist content with fulfilling her career ambitions. After being ghosted for a decade, Sunny meets with Tara on the very day that her husband, a tech CEO, is caught in a sting operation. Unbeknownst to each other, both women were abused by the same man, and they had remained silent for different reasons. On this day, one has chosen to fight back while the other contemplates giving up. With words remaining unspoken, they recognize each other’s trauma and resolve to liberate themselves of their stains.

  • Shruti Tewari
    Trail Past Prejudice, Mum
  • Shruti Tewari
    Trail Past Prejudice, Mum
  • Shruti Tewari
    Trail Past Prejudice, Mum
  • Allison von Hausen
  • Ameerah Grover
    Key Cast
    "Young Sunny"
  • Anjali Bhaid
    Key Cast
  • Sareeka Malhotra
    Key Cast
    Bobby, Family Party
  • Shruti Tewari
    Key Cast
    "Mrs. Sharma"
    Love Aajkal, Bicycle Bride, Khazana
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 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:
  • DC South Asian Film Festival
    United States
    November 5, 2022
    DC Premiere
    Official Selection
  • BraveMaker Film Festival
    Redwood City
    United States
    July 8, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Shruti Tewari

SHRUTI TEWARI has spent over two decades in the creative arts with acting projects ranging from a Bollywood blockbuster to numerous award winning independent films. After stints in investment banking and tech, she, an MBA from Mumbai and MIA from Columbia University, changed course to authentically represent minority voices in the arts.

A member of Playground writer's pool in San Francisco, she has written several plays and screenplays. In 2020, she was selected for the Sundance Collab directors and producers programs to develop her first feature film, "Flares," the screenplay for which is an award winner at the Alliance of Women Filmmakers Scriptwriting Competition and a finalist at WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Screenwriting Lab as well as the Big Apple Film Festival. She was also a finalist at the Austin Film Festival Pitch Fest, 2020. Through her pilot and feature scripts, she has placed at the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, Big Break, 1497 Screenwriting Lab and the Atlanta Film Festival screenwriting competition, among many others.

This year, she was selected for the Women of Color Filmmakers Lab and made a female forward short film, "Stain Resistant," about overcoming suppressed trauma, with grant help from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and BraveMaker film festival. She made her first short film, "Trail Past Prejudice," in response to the spike in violence based on skin color in our country. It won the Silver Remi Award at WorldFest Houston and played at over a dozen film festivals worldwide. Her second film, "Mum," was inspired by teen mental health issues within Asian American communities. It premiered at the Silicon Valley Asian Pacific Film Festival and has won numerous accolades including an Award of Merit from the Best Shorts filmmaking competition. The film continues to be in festivals and played at the Bravemaker Film Festival in July.

She is also the recipient of a Certificate of Honor by the City and County of San Francisco for her mentorship in juvenile halls.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I made this film as a call to action to all women trapped in abusive marriages to choose self-preservation over self-sacrifice. Given the recent incident of an Indian American woman in New York, who ended her life of daily abuse at the hands of her spouse, my film is sadly even more relevant today, as the South Asian diaspora engages in assessing its collective responsibility in bolstering our patriarchal values.

Artistically, I’ve been inspired by directors like Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta whose portrayal of the feminine is, both, delicate and hurt; restrained by society, yet screaming to break free. My exploration of the female mind strives for similar balance between social constructs and independent thought, while also provoking reflection through artwork and ornamentations placed in frame.

In “Stain Resistant,” when my young protagonist is being coaxed to accept her fate in an arranged marriage, I use the crushing action of a mortar and pestle to emphasize the stronghold of society on this girl’s choices. The metaphor of stains and the festival of Holi are referred to throughout this film. During Holi, the vibrant festival of colors celebrated in India to mark new beginnings, one is accustomed to dealing with superficial stains on our skin, our clothes and even our homes. While these are easily glanced over and forgotten, the stains on our souls continue to impact every subsequent decision in our lives and have been put under the magnifying lens in this film.

I am also drawn to reflective surfaces, not just to showcase the inner turmoil within a character’s journey, but also to magnify the multitudes we carry within us as products of two different cultures. In my films, I like to include imagery that alludes to the endlessness of certain aspects of society, such as patriarchal value systems that have weighed upon women’s choices for countless generations. Through such depictions, my hope is for the audience to identify similar patterns of suppression of choice in their own lives and confront their own convictions in the process.

Overall, my filmmaking approach centers on gentle revelation of egregious occurrences and their impact on a character’s choices through poetry, metaphor, and cultural nuances defying stereotypes.