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REELING: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival

Margarita, with a Straw

Directed by Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar

India, USA / 2014 / 100 mins / English/Hindi with English subtitles


After experiencing her first heartbreak, Laila, an aspiring writer at Delhi University, leaps at the chance to travel abroad on a scholarship to New York University, in spite of her mother’s anxieties. Refusing to allow her cerebral palsy to stop her, Laila embarks on an exhilarating journey of discovery. She meets Khanum, a blind Bangladeshi-American student activist at a demonstration, who challenges her beliefs and inspires her creativity. A close friendship eventually leads to love during which a multifaceted portrait of Laila emerges. Actress Kalki Koechlin’s buoyant personality, as Margarita, enlivens this infectious, inspirational portrait of a young woman that transcends the typical coming of age story.