My Mother India
Details: 52 mins, Australia, English
Synopsis: My Mother India tells the story of a mixed marriage set against the tumultuous backdrop of modern Indian history. With an Indian father who collects kitsch calendars, an Australian mother who hangs her knickers out to dry in front of the horrified Indian neighbours, a grandfather who was a self-styled Guru and a fiercely man-hating grandmother - it is no wonder that Safina Uberoi made a film about her family! What begins as a quirky and humorous documentary about an eccentric, multicultural upbringing unfolds into a complex commentary on the social, political and religious events of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 that changed the destinies of the family.
This is a most interesting biography, but it isn\'t completely successful as a documentary.
Safina narrates the film, starting with a humorous observation about the way her mother embarrassed her, as a child, by hanging her underwear on the washing line in full view of the neighbours, something no Indian woman would dream of doing. She describes her parents\' romance, her paternal grandparents (who were divorced, leaving her grandmother very bitter) and how the upheavals of 1984, which culminated in the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi by members of her Sikh bodyguards, caused her mother to send her siblings to the safety of Australia.
This is a most interesting biography, but it isn\'t completely successful as a documentary. Apart from interviews with her parents and siblings, Safina Uberoi hasn\'t much in the way of visual material to illustrate her story; unable, or unwilling, to obtain archive material of the events she discusses, like the attack on the temple at Amritsar or the killing of the Prime Minister, she resorts to seemingly random footage of unconnected scenes; and she doesn\'t always make clear where the interviews are taking place.
In the end, the daughter\'s admiration for her mother comes across strongly, but the film feels padded out to 52 minutes when perhaps a half hour format would have been better.
Comments From Margaret PomeranzThis marvellous film from Safina Uberoi explores the impact of history, both epic and personal on one`s sense of identity. The film reaches beyond the personal story of her fascinating family to a reflection on how identity and history are life companions. My Mother India took me on a journey I`d never been on before, worlds opened up, but more importantly, so did ideas.
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