Who’s Sandra? If you saw her would you know her? Is she naughty or is she nice? And where is she anyway? This film takes a playful look at the figure of “Sandra from Bandra” – part covetous fantasy of the racy Christian girl from Bombay who works as a secretary, wears a dress and likes to dance; part condescending stereotype of a dowdy, religious girl from a minority community. The film searches for Sandra in Bollywood films, in the words of writers and poets, on the gravestones in Bandra’s churchyard. We encounter various claimants to the title – some who aren’t from Bandra and some who aren’t even called Sandra. Finally we find 5 women who really are Sandra from Bandra, each as different from the other as can be even if they are all a little bit the same.
Paromita Vohra is a filmmaker and writer, whose work has been widely screened at festivals and museums worldwide. Her films as director are Morality TV and the Loving Jehad: A Thrilling Tale) a documentary on moral policing and tabloid culture set in Meerut, Q2P, a film about public toilets and the vision of the global city, which was awarded the Best Documentary Award at the IFFLA and Stuttgart festivals, besides being exhibited at the Tate Modern,Where’s Sandra?, a film about sexual and community stereotyping of Christian women, Work In Progress (2004) about the World Social Forum which took place in Bombay in 2004), Cosmopolis: Two Tales of A City (2004), a film that probes the myth of Bombay’s cosmopolitanism through the politics of land and food,(Award for Best Film Indo-British Digital Film Festival), Unlimited Girls (2001), an exploration of what feminism means to different people in urban India (Women’s News Award, Seoul Film Festival; Best Film, Aaina Film Festival, Best Documentary, Bollywood and Beyond, 2004), A Woman’s Place (1998), a film about women’s legal strategies in India, South Africa and the USA (for PBS), Annapurna: Goddess of Food (1995) about an organization of women food workers in Bombay’s textile mill area which has been broadcast in 10 countries and A Short Film About Timei(1999) a short fiction about a woman with a broken heart, her therapist and his watch.
Her films as a writer includes the feature films Silent Waters, about a woman whose life is transformed by growing fundamentalism in a Pakistani village(dir: Sabiha Sumar), (Best Screenplay Award, Kara Film Festival, Best Film, Locarno Film Festival) and Khamoshi:The Musical (Additional Scriptwriting) (dir: Sanjay Leela Bhansali); the documentaries Skin Deep, A Few Things I Know About Her (Silver Conch, MIFF 2002, National Award for Best Documentary, 2002) and If You Pause: In a Museum of Craft.
She writes extensively for print, both fiction and non-fiction, including a fortnightly column for the Mumbai Mirror. She teaches scriptwriting as visiting faculty at various universities and has done considerable work with young people with a focus on radio.