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On World Youth Skills Day, watch stories where the youth strive to reach for the stars

World Youth Skills Day

These teleplays and films celebrate the indomitable spirit of the young

India, says UNFPA (The United Nations Population Fund), is experiencing a “demographic window of opportunity” with the world’s largest-ever adolescent and youth population. However, to optimize this demographic dividend, we need to honor the aspirations of the young and create a supportive environment for them to blossom. We cannot also underestimate the transformative role that teachers and mentors can play in changing lives for the better. This World Youth Skill Day (15 July), watch these stories that celebrate young dreamers as they bravely strive to chart their own path against all odds. Sometimes with the help of mentors and at times, all by themselves.

Shyam Ki Mummy

This Zee Theatre teleplay penned by Ashok Patole highlights the fault lines in our education with humour. Its central protagonist is an obsessive mother who is willing to go to any lengths to ensure that her son fares well in his Board exams. She even takes a leave of absence from her office to stay at home and monitor her son’s studies. In her ambition to see him achieve the top rank, she even deprives him of the joys of childhood. The story is a reminder of the stress that young students in India are put through. It asks whether they can instead be helped to explore a world beyond academics. The teleplay stars Nirmiti Sawant, Milind Phatak, Dharmaj Joshi, Rahul Kumar, and Sayali Sudhakar. Filmed by Dynanesh Bhalekar and directed for the stage by Purshottam Berde.

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

This Sharan Sharma directorial underlines the importance of a nurturing environment for seemingly impossible dreams to take wing. Empowered by the unconditional support of her father (Pankaj Tripathi), young Gunjan (Jahnvi Kapoor) dreams of becoming a pilot but is discouraged by her mother and mocked by her brother (Angad Bedi) who happens to be a soldier. But guided by her father, she trains to get fit and then after years of waiting, realizes the dream of becoming an air force officer. Based on the life of a young officer who made history by becoming the first Indian female Air Force officer to fly in a combat zone during the 1999 Kargil War, the film also challenges patriarchal norms at home and in society that make it tough for young women to chase their dreams. You can watch it on Netflix and ZEE5.


This 2010 Vikramaditya Motwane film sensitively depicts the impact of domestic abuse and parental violence on a teenage boy and his younger sibling. The film stars debutant Rajat Barmecha as Rohan, a young, troubled boy who wants to write poetry but is pushed by his abusive father (Ronit Roy) to work in a factory. Rohan writes poetry on the sly and dreams of a full life away from his father’s clutches, who often beat him and his brother in fits of hysterical rage. The film goes on to show how Rohan breaks free from this toxic environment and manages to protect his brother too from further abuse. ‘Udaan’ also stars Ram Kapoor, Manjot Singh, and Anand Tiwari. You can watch this coming-of-age film on Netflix.

Maya: Find Your Light

This Zee Theatre teleplay traces the perilous but triumphant journey of Maya, a 13-year-old princess who must protect her kingdom of light from the evil king of darkness with courage and fortitude. The story is a metaphor for the challenges often confronting those just starting their journey through the world. The teleplay follows Maya as she travels through treacherous forests, mountains, and villages to lift three curses on her kingdom and defeat the evil king. Her peacock friend and a snake with mysterious motives accompany her as she sets out on a life-transforming adventure to “find her light”. The plays stars Khushi Chauhan, Prasad Kela, Priyanka Patil and, Rutuja Bhoite, Shlok Sadlapurkar, Yash Agarwal and Aniket Sahani. It is directed by Laurent Festas and Sanaya Bharucha and will be aired on 25th July on Airtel Theatre, Dish TV Rangmanch Active, and D2H Rangmanch Active.