Thursday, September 30, 2004

more post-immigrant-generation blues

At one point in Raj Basu's Wings of Hope, a character uses the overloaded phrase "first-generation american". I have seen enough contradictory definitions to give up on trying to understand whether it referred to immigrants who decided to settle down in the USA or their offspring or their grand-offspring. That interesting nugget aside, this film is actually better (IMHO) than other flicks that recycle a stock of clichés about the confusion in the lives of youth whose parents have settled down in the USA but nurse a nostalgic sense of "Indian" values. This is not to say that the film provides fresh perspectives and interesting points of view. There are the unfortunate stereotypes, and the narrative is predictable. Where the film wins is in its stark look that adds a rawness (and IMHO natural touch) to the film. Other "ABCD" products have resorted to trite post-modern references to Indian clichés; along with cheap attempts at fitting in with some of the stereotypes here. The cast does fine, although fair arguments could be made for a tighter script and even tighter editing. However, given the film's budgetary and temporal constraints, what we receive is definitely better than most other claimants for the "indie" label. The almost predictable use of raags in the background (wonder what makes puuryaa dhaanashrii so popular) is unfortunate (predictable in treatment and not as a device, mind you). Although Deepti Naval and Suresh Oberoi have "special appearance" credits, Roshan Seth's role almost merits a similar credit. If you're tired of mainstream Bollywood product (who isn't), pick this off the shelf and give it a look see. It's short, and it won't hurt.

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