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Arshia, Mridu and Fulwari are three entrepreneurs from Telangana, Assam and Rajasthan. While waiting for their venture funding event to begin, they find themselves opening up their hearts, sharing about their entrepreneurial journey, experiences and hardships. Despite their varied cultures, upbringing and nature of businesses, they find a connection with each other. They take home some learnings, maybe more valuable than just the funds they had come for to the event.

Pahal- An Initiative



Making of Pahal


For this film, we were looking to speak to women entrepreneur groups coming from various domains of businesses, especially non-gender stereotyped businesses, to know more about their experience, and the nature of difficulties they have faced on their journeys.

We interviewed over 35 women entrepreneurs...from metros and smaller towns, from 23 year olds to 65 year olds, from Rajasthan to Telangana, coming from affluent families to ones with very modest backgrounds, from successful serial entrepreneurs to those who felt that they had the potential but didn’t end up becoming one.

We also reached out to organizations that work with Tier II & III women entrepreneurs and understood ground realities from their field expert.

As a part of our primary research, we met with several women entrepreneurs at Her&Now's Entrepreneurship Support event in Bangalore and listened to their stories and experiences.

We gathered and learned from their experiences and the nature of obstacles they had to face, be it lack of family support due to gender roles, care-burden and safety concerns restricting their mobility, lack of access to finance due to discriminatory perceptions of, existing biases against women entrepreneurs, and how they overcame them.

The story and the characters were inspired from our interaction and conversation with these women. To ensure the film could speak to women all across India, we chose to have our characters rooted from different parts of the country- Guwahati, Jaipur and Hyderabad- and from different contexts.

Visual Development

To help ground the characters to the contexts they belonged to, we made the Art treatments different for the present narrative and the individual backstories for each of the three women.

For the present day scenes, this section was done in 3D animation with semi-realistic stylization that helped us emote the characters well in animation. We wanted the audience to connect with the characters despite their less exposure to the medium of animation for serious themes as ours.

For each region we looked at some traditional elements, ranging from art forms, Textiles, Food, Architecture etc and exploring ways to design a unique visual treatment representing the characters and space.

Mridu’s character is meant to connect with the young women (aspiring) entrepreneurs. Though confident yet despite her education she suffers self doubt.

So we planned for a flowy morphing style of animations with symbolic/metaphorical pop-art elements corresponding to the narration that the youth can relate to for its energy and dynamism.

Fulwari’s character is meant to connect with the women coming from traditional families who need to align all their family members and responsibility and yet dare to dream big.

We placed her in a smaller city of Rajasthan having a traditional house decorated with wall paintings.

We looked at mix-media execution and use of perspective in this animation. Also looked at how direct textures could be used for costumes in character design. We also explored how “food and/or utensils” can be integrated in the visual design as photographs.

The purpose of showing almost unbelievably and apparently problem free journey of Arshia is to subtly depict what a deadly combination “Positive solution oriented attitude and a supportive family” can be for a woman entrepreneur.

Her story based in Hyderabad also aspires to inspire women from Muslim families.


Recording with Voice Actors

Our script and characters were brought to life by the talented actors Ashwini Kalsekar, Dipannita Sharma Atwal and Namita Gupta. Through our recording sessions with them, they added the personality and earnestness to Mridu, Arshia and Fulwari that makes them easy to connect with.

Voice of Mridu | Dipannita Sharma Atwal

Voice of Arshia | Namita Gupta

Voice of Fulwari | Ashwini Kalsekar

Working with Actors

To help further ground our characters, we worked with theatre actors who added characteristic gestures and body language to each character. The young and expressive Mridu, the modest and hesitant nature of Fulwari and the modernity and grace of Arshia- their acting served as reference and inspiration for our animation.


Mridu | Payal Jadhav

Fulwari | Apurva Kulkarni

Arshia | Shruti Kulkarni


Since, we decided to go for a multi-treatment approach for the film, this not only helped us capture the cultural diversity India has to offer, but also helped us distribute the production pipeline between exclusive teams within the studio to meet the pressing production timeline.

Krishna Kothari led the animation for Mridu’s Story, Aman Luthia led Arshia’s story sequences. Anuj Kumar, co-founder at Girgit led Fulwari’s story sequences while Aditya Hegde Led the 3D animation coordinating with Crazy Cub studios who did the 3D character animations.

For the connecting segments in the story we used a 3D animation route restricting it to a single environment interview format camera work to ensure smart timely yet quality output. Like most of our films we shot acting references of theatre actors as per our storyboard. This helped us maintain a consistent body language and acting performance of the 3D characters. This also helped in speeding the 3D character animations.  

Releasing Pahal- An Initiative

The film is targeted towards the families of women entrepreneurs, their fathers, brothers, in-laws to help them see the added obstacles they are becoming in the paths of women who aspire to become entrepreneurs. If they change to provide a nourishing environment to women they can dream bigger and achieve so much more.

The film has been screened across the country, and shown in entrepreneurship cohorts. We hope it will continue to bring in some positive change in mindsets.

Directed by
Swarup Deb
Anuj Kumar
Avinash Medhe

Character Voices
Mridu | Dipannita Sharma Atwal
Fulwari | Ashwini Kalsekar
Arshia | Namita Gupta

Music Direction and Sound Design
Roto Shah

Creative Producer
Swarup Deb

Art Direction and Production Design
Anuj Kumar

Screenplay and Storytelling
Avinash Medhe

Technical Supervision
Aditya Hegde

Story and Screenplay consultant
Shilpa Das
Ranjitha Rajeevan

Swarup Deb
Anuj Kumar
Avinash Medhe
Smitha Sudhakaran

Avinash Medhe
Swarup Deb

Recording Studio
Studio 201

Scratch VO Recording
Mayur Mochemadkar
Akshay Chauhan
(MAD Frames Pvt Ltd)

Arshia's Backstory
Animation Direction | Aman Luthia
Storyboarding | Aman Luthia
Art and Character Desian | Aman Luthia
Coloring | Aman Luthia and Vaibhavi Venkatraman
Compositing | Anuj Kumar

Mridu's Backstory
Animation Direction | Krishna Kothari
Storyboarding | Krishna Kothari
Art and Character Design | Krishna Kothari and Anuj Kumar
Coloring | Krishna Kothari and Vaibhavi Venkatraman
Compositing | Anuj Kumar

Fulwari's Backstory
Animation Direction | Rishab Sharma, Anuj Kumar and Avinash Medhe Storyboarding | Rishab Sharma Art and Character Design | Anuj Kumar Coloring | Rishab Sharma and Anuj Kumar
Compositing | Anuj Kumar

CGI Production
Project Manager | Aditya Hegde
Character Design | Anuj Kumar
Animation Director | Swarup Deb and Avinash Medhe
Character Animation Producer | Kamal Pahuja
Animation Supervisor | Aarchish Jain Animators | Arpit Sachdev, Anshuman Dhyani, Avinash Medhe Lighting, Texturing and Rendering | Aditya Hegde
Character Modelling | Ranjit Rathod and Gunjan Saharavat
Character Rigging | Ranjit Rathod and Aditya Hegde
Set Dressing and Compositing | Aditya Hegde

Language and Dialect
Dipannita Sharma Atwal
Nidhi Saxena
Shatabhisha Ray
Mridusmitha Nath

Swarup Deb
Aditya Hegde
Anuja Kolhatkar
Nikhil Ghanekar

Acting Reference Shoot
Acting Director | Girish Datar
Mridu | Payal Jadhav
Fulwari | Apurva Kulkarni
Arshia | Shruti Kulkarni

Research Support
Stephanie Mumenthaler | giz
Neha Kanitkar | giz Sakuntala Kasragadda | WE Hub
Reshma Hajite | Excellence Shelters
Shilpa Das | NID



Pahal- An Initiative


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