Shashwati Talukdar is an independent filmmaker whose recent films include ‘Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!‘ (2011) and ‘Wall Stories’ (2014).  Her work ranges from documentary, narrative and experimental and has shown at venues including the Busan International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Whitney Biennial. Shashwati worked as an editor in the film and television industry, where she got her start as an assistant editor for a TV show by Michael Moore. Shashwati has taught at NYU, Arcadia and Temple University. Visit Shashwati’s production company: Four Nine and a Half Pictures. Email Shashwati at: [email protected]

Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!

Over sixty million Indians belong to communities imprisoned by the British as “criminals by birth.” The Chhara of Ahmedabad, in Western India, are one of 198 such “Criminal Tribes.” Declaring that they are “born actors,” not “born criminals,” a group of Chhara youth have turned to street theater in their fight against police brutality, corruption, and the stigma of criminality — a stigma internalized by their own grandparents. Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir! follows the lives of these young actors and their families as they take their struggle to the streets, hoping their plays will spark a revolution. (75 min. 2011) [Learn more.]

Wall Stories

‘Wall Stories’ is about how a dispossessed saint, a newly minted gentry and generations of painters created a syncretic culture in the Western Himalayas.


‘Wall Stories’ is a pictorial journey through the Garhwal region in the Western Himalayas. Centered around Dehradun between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, it tells the fascinating story of the history and culture of its people through mural paintings found in the area, and the daily life that is lived around them.

Going from a portrait of Noor Jehan dressed as a Pahari lady, to depictions of the ‘Indar Sabha’ the first Urdu full length play, and one of the richest repositories of  illustrations of the Janmsakhi (the life of Guru Nanak),  these painting from the end of the 17th to the 19th century defy the boundaries of low art and high art, religion and received history.

‘Wall Stories’ uses imaginary conversations, treats the subject of the paintings as living subjects and plays with its subject matter to explore the space and meaning created in the everyday lives of the people who encounter these paintings. (40 min 2014)

The Girl

    Oblique, eerie and mysterious, ‘The Girl’ is about the violence and horror of childhood. The Girl lives in an isolated mansion in the woods in the mountains of India, with a woman, the ‘Mad Lady.’ This woman is her caretaker and watches her all the time.  Their odd life is disrupted when the Mad Lady can see something she was previously oblivious to.

    Inspired by Indian Gothic greats like ‘Mahal’ from the forties and the European avant-garde films from the twenties, ‘The Girl’ is a gothic tale about the resilience of children. (8 min, 2014)

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    Cartaxo International Fantastic and Horror Film Festival, Portugal, November 2015

    Baghdad International Film Festival, October 2015

    Festival de Cine al Carrete, Tolima, Colombia, October 2015

    Muestra Audiovisual Cine Sinú, Córdoba, Colombia, October 2015

    International Fantastic Film Festival and Terror of Navarra Horror Online Art, Spain, September 2015

    Ciclo de Cine El Páramo, Mexico, September 2015

    Festival de Cine de Paracho, Mexico, September 2015

    4th Chandigarh Cinema Festival, India, August 2015

    Feria Internacional de Cine de Manizales, Colombia, August 2015

    Zanzibar International Film Festival, Zanzibar, July 2015

    Rodinia Short Film Festival, Vallodolid, Spain, June 2015

    Azores Fringe Festival, Portugal, June 2015

    Festival Mundial de Cine Extremo de Veracruz, Mexico, June 2015

    7 Picknic Film Festival, Santander, Spain, June 2015

    Festival Internacional de Cine de Villavicencio, Colombia, October 2014

    FERfilm International Film Festival, Ferizaj, Kosovo, July 2014

    Salón Internacional de la Luz, Bogota, Colombia. May 2014