ABCD: Award-winning film explores lives of NRIs

December 9, 2001

Indian American Krutin Patel's award-winning film ABCD is all about the Indian diaspora's experience while growing up in the US torn between two cultures. The film is a landmark as in it is the first of its kind to take a look at American Born Confused Desis (ABCD) - a phrase used to describe the schism in the minds of second generation Indian Americans.

ABCD, which embarked on its box-office career with releases in 40 theatres across North America alone, has already captured the attention of Hollywood and noted critics.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine called ABCD "a stunning family drama" and "extraordinary."

Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter described ABCD as "a wryly observant comic drama" and compared Patel's work with the earlier works of filmmakers Wayne Wang and Ang Lee.

Through the relationships and conflicts between a traditional Indian mother and her two adult children who grew up in America, ABCD explores the emotional consequences of growing up without a cultural identity.

Honoured with numerous film festival awards, including Best Film at the Houston and Austin Film Festivals, and a special selection of the London Film Festival, ABCD has also been nominated for Best Independent Film for the 2001 Ammy Awards, which honours Asians and Asian Americans in film and entertainment.

A poignant and a thought provoking film with a dash of humour, ABCD is an insightful look into the experiences of first generation Indian Americans and their struggle to find a common ground between the two cultures.

Patel, who was born in Ahmedabad in 1942, came to the US with his family at the age of eight. He studied filmmaking at New York University.

While at the university Patel produced his first short film, Strangers in The Night, which won several awards for its unique visual approach (using bright, saturated colours for a film-noir plot). The film was also the subject of an extensive article in the American Cinematographer magazine.

Let us see if this film is well received in the Indian diaspora in the US.

- Bharat Patel in New Jersey, USA

The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.

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