Rickshaw Girl (2021)

Based on the novel by Mitali Perkins, the Rickshaw Girl of the title is Naima (Novera Rahman), who may not have been much of a student yet is an incredible artist. Her father (Naresh Bhuiyan) encourages her to develop her talent by allowing her to paint his rickshaw, but seeing as how they live in a poor area of town and her father only pulls other and more successful men in his rickshaw, the chances of her escaping to become a fine artist are quite limited.

That goal moves even further away when her father gets ill and a loan shark (Nasir Uddin Khan) takes back the rickshaw. As her father needs medicine to live, she eventually finds her way to working in the very same business, hiding her sex under restrictive clothing so that her boss (Ashok Bepari) believes that she’s a boy. A boy with a brightly painted rickshaw that gets her noticed by movie star Siam Ahmen — playing himself — and a role in his next movie. Yet when her secret is revealed, perhaps things won’t work out.

Director Amitabh Reza Chowdhury’s film moves quickly and tells a story that is relatable to anyone, no matter where you are from in the world. It’s issues of class, debt and gender make sense anywhere.

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