The short film Bittu has made it to the Live Action Short Film shortlist for the 93rd Academy Awards. The movie, directed by Karishma Dev Dube, is set against the backdrop of the Himalayas and revolves around the friendship of two young girls hit by a tragic event . To ensure that the actors resonate with the narrative, the creators opted to cast two local girls, Rani and Renu Kumari from Himachal Pradesh, in lead roles. Indian Women Rising (IWR), a cinema collective by Ekta Kapoor, Guneet Monga, Tahira Kashyap Khurrana and Ruchikaa Kapoor Sheikh to empower women in the film industry, has stepped forward not only to promote the film, but also support the film’s lead pair. The cinema collective, along with an NGO, will hold a virtual event today to collect funds for Rani and Renu’s education.
Now, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, too, has stepped forward to extend support to the initiative. Talking about it, she says, “Bittu is moving, raw and real. It takes a devastating incident and presents it from a unique perspective. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to help and give it the attention it deserves. It’s a great example of how women supporting women can make anything possible. World over, cinema needs more women to bring their voices, stories and perspectives to the fore, and this is one step in that direction. This fundraiser will help these two young girls, Rani and Renu Kumari, continue their education and pursue all the dreams and ambitions they have. I hope that many will come forward to help make this a reality.” Karishma, who directed the short film, adds, “This film is as much Rani and Renu’s as mine, and we’re happy to have an opportunity to give back what they deserve.”