Family, culture remain focus of NRI films
A dysfunctional family grappling with its identity has become the leitmotif for Indian and NRI directors making films on Indians settled abroad - with two more films on the same theme ready to hit the theatres here.
On the footsteps of 'Bend it Like Beckham', 'Bride and Prejudice', 'American Born Confused Desi', 'Where's the party Yaar', 'American Chai' and 'One Dollar Curry' come two films on similar themes -- It Could be You, a comedy by Mumbai-based Taranjeet Singh and American Blend a 'dramedy' by US-based director Varun Khanna.
The former is a story about an Indian family based in Southall, UK. The protagonist Dhillon (Naseruddin Shah) is a middle-aged, first-generation immigrant from India who works as a baggage-handler at Heathrow airport.
Dhillon's life is struggle, until one fine day the tables turn as he hits the jackpot. Dhillon then decides to settle scores with his family including his wife played by Kirron Kher, who have been disrespectful to their provider.
"It's based on a true story of an Asian who hit it big with a lottery and then branded a lunatic as his family wanted the fortune for themselves," says 34-year-old Singh who has assisted the likes of Aditya Chopra and Rajeev Rai before deciding to make his first feature film.
The film, shot in 55 days, is expected to hit Indian theatres towards the end of August or beginning of September.
With wife Kirron in a cross cultural movie, how can husband Anupam Kher be behind. In 'American Blend' he plays a cook who migrates to the US in search of a better future.
The film looks at what can go right when culturally diverse families come together in the redefining of a new America, says Khanna.
"The movie is a rap-tap-hip-hop, 90-minute music and dance celebration of a cross-cultural, part-Indian, part-American family living in Los Angeles," says Khanna of his movie that has fetched him the honour of the Best Director at the Riverside International Film Festival, 2006.
Raj Chadha (Anupam Kher) passion for food and Bollywood come together in a restaurant he owns called Bollywood Cafe.
Jayme, an American, is Raj's second wife. Their children have been raised in the traditional way. Raj has two children from his first, deceased wife. However a secret threatens to rip apart the family bond.
The movie has music by 14 original tracks by Abu Mallik, composer Anu Mallik's brother sung by top rung singers like Daler Mehendi, Sonu Nigam, Sukhwinder and Bali Brahmabhatt.
The movie is Khanna's second after the stark 'Beyond Honour' that dealt with mutilation of female genitals in Egypt. "This film is meant to balance the first and the need to find happiness in life after I lost my sister to breast cancer," he says revealing that his next film will be Bollywood potboiler on the underworld.
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