Selvi, like so many girls living within India’s patriarchal culture, is forced to marry at 14, only to find herself in a violent and abusive marriage. One day in deep despair she chooses to escape, going to a highway with the intention of throwing herself under the wheels of a bus. Instead she gets on the bus, choosing to live… and goes on to become South India’s first female taxi driver.
We first meet 18-year-old Selvi in 2004 at a shelter for young women in Mysore, Karnataka, shortly after she has left her husband – timid, soft-spoken, a fresh runaway from a difficult life. Over a ten-year journey, we see a remarkable transformation as Selvi finds her voice and defies all expectations – learning to drive, starting her own taxi company, leading seminars to educate and empower women in rural areas, obtaining her license to drive a passenger bus, and much more.
This character-driven story highlights the harsh realities that millions of devalued women and girls in India face while simultaneously exposing their humanity and breaking down the stereotypes too-often associated with those facing desperate circumstances. In a society where women are often considered expendable or worthless, Selvi refuses to accept this estimation for herself, moving beyond the pain she’s experienced to create an entirely new life.
Selvi is an exception and an inspiration. Her unmitigated desire to triumph over the cards that have been dealt to her, her refusal to accept the role of victim, and her evolution into an empowered working woman, happy in life and surrounded by supportive family and friends, is a hero’s journey, offering hope and inspiration.
Through Selvi’s eyes, the audience is taken on an intimate journey of healing, overcoming obstacles, and fulfilling dreams. And throughout this journey, her unwavering spirit shines through. Wildly charming (without even realizing it), remarkably strong, and utterly courageous, by the end of the film Selvi speaks almost as a sage or our wisest teacher, sharing important, hard-won secrets about happiness and life.