ANNUAL SIKH FILM FESTIVAL 2006:
MY MOTHER INDIA
This lively portrait of the mixed marriage between a scholarly Sikh husband and his red-headed, freckle-faced Australian-born wife, is told from the point of view of their slightly bemused daughter, the filmmaker. Growing up in India, her eccentric parents were a source of embarrassment. In this conservative society, her mother would line dry her underwear to the horror of neighbors. Her father proudly collected "kitch" calendars in the name of anthropology. Her outspoken Indian grandmother hated all men, especially her ex-husband. Although Safina was teased by her classmates for having light-colored skin, she remembers a happy childhood.
What begins as a gently humorous portrait unfolds into a complex commentary on the social, political and religious events of the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 which tore this family apart. My Mother India touches on complex issues with sensitivity and balance - when, for example, the ethnic violence during the 1947 Partition is described briefly to provide historical context. It has what I would describe as "intellectual rigour", though that may seem a strange phrase to use of a film. And its engagement of our emotions is similarly honest. This is a powerful story of love and hate, exile and belonging, loss of identity and return to faith.
Produced in association with SBS Independent and financed by the Australian Film Finance Corporation.