Photo by Simcha Moyal

A note from Rashmi Rustagi, Writer/Producer

Raised in the bustling heart of Lucknow, India, my childhood was steeped in storytelling, initially through the mediums of radio dramas and stage plays. This foundational love for narrative art propelled me into film and television, leading to roles in notable works like The Avengers, India Sweets and Spices, and television series including Grey’s Anatomy and Never Have I Ever.

My foray into writing and producing has been driven by a commitment to creating short films to foster social change. I hope these films inspire audiences toward a vision of a more equitable society. Among these projects is Unborn, a poignant exploration of female feticide within Indian American communities, now streaming on Amazon Prime.

My journey, initiated by an arranged marriage at the age of twenty-one, led me to the diverse landscape of the United States. Having lived here most of my adult life, pursuing acting, raising kids, and straddling American and Indian cultures, I deeply understand the longings, pulls, and contradictions of both cultures and the challenge of assimilation. 

These experiences have dramatically influenced Designed by Preeti. This film delves into the lives of Indian women across three generations as they grapple with the dualities of two distinct cultures. The film thoughtfully addresses issues like domestic violence and interracial relationships, providing a nuanced portrayal of a community that is at once contemporary and deeply rooted in tradition.

Designed by Preeti captures the multifaceted challenges, resilience, and struggles of the Indian diaspora. Under Gayatri Bajpai’s sensitive direction, our talented actors give a voice to the voiceless and shed light on obscured realities.

In Designed by Preeti, we give voice to the voiceless, shed light on the shadows, and, ultimately, inspire change. This film is not just a story but a journey of empathy, empowerment, and transformation.

Director’s Statement by Gayatri Everitt Bajpai

In Designed by Preeti, we explore the gilded cage of Preeti’s life: a facade of wealth and luxury concealing a darker truth of personal suffering at the hands of her affluent husband. This romantic drama navigates the complex journey of a middle-aged woman’s quest for self-discovery and passion amidst adversity, blending romantic comedy elements with deep character exploration. Despite her outward compliance and dedication to her daughter, Preeti harbors a quiet resilience that eventually leads her to defy the expectations that once confined her.

The film visually juxtaposes the vibrant hues of Indian celebrations against the cold shadows of Preeti’s constrained existence. Initially depicted within tight frames that emphasize her diminished spirit, the cinematography evolves as Preeti begins to break free from her restraints. The infusion of warmth and dynamic camera movements signify her growing liberation and expanding world.

As Preeti forges a new path, confronting her husband’s manipulations and finding love and inspiration anew, the visual narrative shifts dramatically. The oppressive shadows recede, replaced by a palette of warmth and brightness that mirrors her inner transformation. The once-muted score builds to a vibrant crescendo, capturing her triumphant embrace of life and love.

Through this journey, Designed by Preeti not only tells a story of personal awakening but also showcases the transformative power of self-expression and resilience. It also paints a visual masterpiece of color and light that reflects Preeti’s ultimate liberation.