In the short fictional film CHOL, Nalini has a seemingly average life, but underneath the surface, she struggles with something she cannot name.

Nandini Bapat grew up in the sun-soaked, Wonder-bread suburb of Newbury Park, California. The daughter of two Indian immigrants, she found sanctuary between the pages of coming-of-age stories like Harry Potter and The Boxcar Children and in the Indian mythology she read in the Amar Chitra Katha comics; carefully brought to her each year by her grandparents from India. Despite loving each of the stories, she desperately wished to read stories that acknowledged both of her worlds: that of the Indian and the American.

After receiving her Bachelor’s in animal science and a Master’s in education, Nandini was inspired to achieve her dream of writing and producing truly Indian-American stories. CHOL is her first short film.

She has also independently produced two comics, available on her website (, the most recent of which is a single-issue comic about an Indian-American girl’s relationship with her grandfather.

Nandini is 31 and lives in Los Angeles.

CHOL is screening as part of Shorts Block No. 4 in the virtual festival.

You can check out Nandini’s exclusive interview with Mental Filmness here:

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