Queer screenwriter Mrittika ‘Mou’ Sarin sheds light on what it means to have multi-culturally diverse identity

Mrittika ‘Mou’ Sarin delves into the various identities she lived with as she traversed countries and cultures. At HerStory’s Women on a Mission Summit 2022, she talks about the importance of writing screenplays from a queer perspective and establish diversity on and off screen.

Queer screenwriter Mrittika ‘Mou’ Sarin sheds light on what it means to have multi-culturally diverse identity

Tuesday March 22, 2022,

3 min Read

Born to an Assamese mother and a Punjabi father and growing up between Baltimore and New Delhi, queer screenwriter Mrittika ‘Mou’ Sarin delved into writing precisely to explore complex identities and emotions. Mrittika was constantly faced with the complexities of identity growing up having North-eastern features in New Delhi and then the fact that she was an Indian above all when she moved to Baltimore.

“And this process of forging my own identity – queer as well as Indian from the ground up was something that I wish I had references to in movies and TV, but I didn't. So that's something that I plan on doing myself as a filmmaker,” she said at HerStory’s Women on a Mission Summit 2022.

The Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting awardee, Mrittika shared that since childhood she had an “insane imagination”. She won the award for her climate-change feature script, Scarce – a crime-thriller set in the IT capital, Bengaluru.

“I remember the trees that I used to climb were my friends that I actually named. There was an abandoned guard house in the park and it was like my hideout. The roof of my house was my watch tower. I was very lost in imagination. And by the time I was nine, I started writing all these different fantasy worlds down as little novels,” she recalled adding that she was always drawn towards visual storytelling.

Mrittika stresses on how important it is to tell authentic queer stories. “Authentic stories sometimes can only come from lived experiences. So when a queer person writes their own stories, there are more opportunities for those nuanced portrayals of what only queer people go through. And when I say this, I'm not suggesting that straight people can't ever write queer people, it's absolutely viable. But it takes a certain understanding of someone's lived experience and that's hard to fully comprehend the nuances,” she shared.

However, she continued, I'm very proud of the filmmakers who are bravely and authentically portraying these storylines. “And I really hope it continues until we feel that we don't need to make a big deal of queer storytelling.”

Apart from Scarce, one of her most notable works include Criminal Justice (official Indian remake of HBO's The Night Of). She also won honourable mention at the Sloan Grand Jury Prize from the Tribeca Film Institute for Scarce. Mrittika also worked as a producer on The Office, India version which was the remake of the legendary show.

Mrittika’s favourite leisure time activity is to play video games and she wishes to get an opportunity to write screenplays for video games. 

“I find that video games are just another type of storytelling. And it's really interesting because some of the new games out there have outstanding character narratives. They are so engaging and have such important things to say and themes to touch on that they're almost like cinema. It's insane. That being said, if I ever got a chance to write for video games, I would definitely take it. It's just another form of screenwriting,” she said as she signed off. 

Edited by Ramarko Sengupta