I DON'T CARE ABOUT THIS INDIAN STUFF.
Usually, when I tell someone that isn’t Indian that I’ve made a film that topically looks into the history, stereotypes, and changes about the Indian-American community, the immediate response is some version of:
“Oh! you should screen it in [insert some location with a sizable Indian population], there’s a huge Indian population there”
The underlying belief there is, anyone with Indian background will immediately gravitate or be interested in a film like this.
And that reminds me of a story. A few months ago, someone purchased a DVD copy (yes DVD still exists!) of the film, and had played it when her 20 yr old niece was in the house. The niece just gave it a quick once over and felt it was something like, “just my parents watching some Indian stuff.” But, as the film progressed, she started to crane her neck a little bit, paying a little more attention here and there, and finally watching the film, and from their indication, gaining something from it.
As corny or lame as it may sound, stories like that are more important to me than having it screen at such-and-such festival. Ultimately, the film isn’t for anyone particular audience, it’s for anyone who’s interested, and more importantly, it’s a starting point for people to investigate answers for themselves. What it definitely isn’t is some kind of edict as to what anyone should or shouldn’t do. God knows I didn’t appreciate people telling me (whether subtly or not) I should or shouldn’t be involved in anything because of my ethnic origin.
But it’s an origin I happily acknowledge, and do think about, on a pretty constant basis. Many times I’m not thinking about it, and someone else reminds me. I distinctly recall explaining the film’s premise to an Indian actor I was considering including, and he replied with a “I know someone else who’s working on some Pro-Indian stuff.” Interesting, to him, any acknowledgement of our background was “pro-Indian.” I get where this comes from, because we’re American, picket fences, homemade apple pie, Monday night football, the whole nine. One of the questions the film asks is, in essence, can we retain all of that “American-ness” and still recognize our origin AND any implications that may have.
After hearing statements like this, I think we can.
“The film opened my eyes to many aspects of the Indian-American experience that I hadn't ever explicitly thought about, despite having lived them.”
This one coming from a university grad student. Not explicitly “caring about” this stuff seems in a way to be our defining characteristic, I’m not excluding myself, I just thought It’d be kinda cool to make a movie about it.