Interview: Leena Pendharkar, Megha Kadakia on Raspberry Magic

Until three weeks ago, I hadn't heard of Raspberry Magic.  It's not the kind of movie that's going to get much mainstream press, as the term "limited release" is being too generous in describing its distribution.  It's been playing the festival circuit over the past year, where it's garnered pretty positive reviews, with most critics saying that it's a simple but heartfelt drama that isn't groundbreaking but is far from terrible.  I'd agree with that assessment.  It's nothing terribly original, but for a film produced with a very low budget it's extremely well-made, with solid performances by some relative unknowns and enough variety in the cinematography to make you think it cost a lot more than it did.

The plot follows Monica, an 11-year-old girl working on a science project for school about whether raspberries will grow faster when stimulated by human touch.  However, after her father loses his job, her family life starts to fall apart, and it’s soon clear that raspberries aren’t the only thing in need of a little nurturing.

I had the chance to interview the director of the film, Leena Pendharkar, along with the producer, Megha Kadakia.  Both of them were extremely friendly and open about the process of making the film, which was definitely a labor of love.  The budget was under $1 million, and as they mention in the interview, it can be hard to secure funding when you're a pair of South Asian women approaching wealthy male investors.  But they pulled it off, and the result is a charming little coming-of-age story about the importance of family and personal relationships.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a future film of theirs get a more substantial release, as it's clear they have a lot of talent and interesting stories to tell.

The interview is available in both audio and written form.  If you'd like to hear the audio, check out Episode #121 of MovieChatter.  If you'd prefer to read a transcription, the entire thing has been published over at CaryCitizen

Finally, if you want an idea of what Raspberry Magic is like, you can check out its website.  Or just watch the trailer below.