Loose Canons05.07.23
#loose canons#pijf

Loose Canons - Ankita Singh

Loose Canons is a series where we invite artists we love to share five things that have shaped their creative practice. Illustrator, producer and hot-shot screenwriter and playwright - Ankita Singh on the things that have powered her journey so far.

Loose Canons is a series in which we invite artists we love to share five things that have informed their work. Meet the rest of our Loose Canons here.

Ankita Singh is an Auckland-based screenwriter and award-winning theatre producer hailing from Chandigarh and Kirikiriroa. She founded Oriental Maidens, a creative production company specialising in discovering, developing and showcasing BIPOC creative talent in Aotearoa.

As a South Asian New Zealander, Ankita is passionate about diversity in the media and advocating for minority representation in front of and behind the camera. Ankita received the 2021 Piki Pitch development fund and will be developing her series with Piki Films.

Her play 'Basmati Bitch' debuts with Auckland Theatre Company, Oriental Maidens, and SquareSums&Co at Q Theatre 11 – 29 July, 2023.

In the neonlit streets of futurist Aotearoa, an ex-MMA fighter discovers you can’t ever really escape the past. A self-aware, neo-noir action-crime-comedy full of whacky fourth-wall-breaking characters, slick dance and stage combat.

Tickets available here.


I know this is really unhealthy and probably not a wholesome thing to lead with but it’s true - I get a huge amount of motivation from purely wanting to spite anyone who has ever treated me like shit or told me I couldn’t do something (you know who you are).

Does it get the job done? Yes. Do I have inner peace? No. Am I suggesting other people also use spite as motivation/inspiration? Absolutely not.

For your own sake do as I say, NOT as I do.

Call it trauma from a tumultuous childhood but there’s nothing like spite to help push you to finish a project at 3 am on a Sunday after you’ve spent the past 6 months locked inside, ignoring your family and friends and any hobbies which make you feel like life is worth living.

I swear to god I will unpack this in therapy one day - hopefully before I do irreversible damage to myself.


I’ve worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, video editor, producer and most recently, a writer. It’s never been easy but I will literally do anything to avoid getting a job which requires me to come to an office at a set time every day.

Routine drains the life out of me and I just can’t do the 9-5. I am more of a 10-12 kinda gal (I mean 10 am to midnight just to clarify).

The urge to sleep and wake up when I want has been a major factor in being able to persevere as a freelancer and jump from one creative endeavour to the next.

I get my best ideas at odd hours and honestly, I’d rather be up till 3 am toiling away in the comfort of my own home than wake up at 7 am to try and “beat the rush”.

I can feel some of you early birds judging me. Don’t worry, you’ve already been added to the list of people I want to spite.

Look, I know it’s not ideal. I’ll overcome this one day through a combination of meditation and yoga but for now, staying up late and sleeping in provides great motivation and inspiration.


I don’t know why people are surprised when I tell them I was born and raised in India for the first 7 years of my life. I guess it’s my quasi-American accent which you can blame on American-Imperialism and badly dubbed anime.

India is my motherland – it’s where I formed pretty much all my most important childhood memories, so of course it’s a major source of inspiration in my work. The kites in the morning sky, the crows at sunset, the eerie tapping of the chowkidar’s staff at night, the ruckus in my Nani’s home where three generations lived. These are precious memories I am thankful to hold in my heart.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt more about India and South Asia. The diverse histories and cultures of the subcontinent, its people and the diaspora are endlessly fascinating and humbling to learn about.

I think it’s a shame much of our history and contribution to the international community has been glossed over by imperialists, and now that I am a writer, I am looking forward to creating works that help shed light on our histories and how South Asians have helped shape the globe.

My Mum

I love my mum, we probably have a co-dependent relationship which has been great for mining material for my writing.

But more importantly, like many South Asian mums, she’s a great storyteller. Whenever we’re sipping wine together or on a long drive, she will tell me about her colourful childhood. The countless men who proposed to her, the doomed love triangles in her college friend group, that time her sister smuggled gold from Shanghai, the neighbours who went missing during The Emergency, eloping with my dad against her mother's wishes.

And sometimes she will go even further back, telling me about her own mother fleeing Lahore under the cover of night or raising three children as a single mother on a teacher's salary.

I mean, it’s like listening to an epic Shakespearian or Tagoreian tale full of forbidden romances, crime, political upheaval and family Drama (yeah, with a capital D). As I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to really appreciate these stories for what they are - treasures. They are our personal history, our family archive, a tale of resilience that carries us across continents and across oceans.

My mother was worried about me working in the creative industry at first, but she used to be an actor and was in a few films - so to be honest, I blame her. It runs in the family. So we can all thank her for me being here.

Also, she’s now supportive of my choices so that’s great.

My Mates

These bitches have been terrible influences in my life and have made me the depraved person I am today.

You all got the cool, glowed-up Ankita. These guys loved me when I was a massive weirdo in high school.

They supported my strange interests - maybe even enabled a lot of them. I remember the sleepovers: late-night dmc’s about life, playing horror games or reading some raunchy r-rated manga or webcomic. Ah it’s a shame, isn’t it? You don’t know you’re in the good old days till they’re over. But these were the good ol’ days for me and they made life as a teenager bearable - even enjoyable.

They’ve helped introduce me to some of my favourite things - and they never shamed me for my weird interests either, even if they didn’t get it.

Every time I make something, I think about what we would have liked to see as teenagers at those late-night sleepovers.

I love them and they continue to inspire me every day. I am blessed, and if it took crossing oceans and leaving behind everything I knew to meet them then it was totally worth it.

So all I have to say is thank you, friends.

Male Muses/Hot 2D Dudes

Sorry after talking to said depraved friends they told me I have to put this on the list.

I am so sorry but it’s true… these 2D dudes are a major creative (and life) force for me. Specifically, ones who can fight and have silver hair okay I am leaving now that I’ve exposed myself.

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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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