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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Krutin Patel
Wellspring Media 11/01 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Krutin Patel directs this thought-provoking cross-cultural drama about two first generation Asian Indian immigrant children rebelling against the Hindu values of their traditional mother born in India. Anju (Madhur Jaffrey) has been in the United States since 1968 but she still believes in the custom of arranged marriages. Her son Raj (Faran Tahir), an accountant, has acceded to her wishes and is engaged to Tejal (Adriane Forlana Erdos). But Anju's rebellious and independent daughter Nina (Sheetal Sheth) likes dating American white men and has no intention of ever marrying an Indian.
Nonetheless, Anju keeps on trying to foist the old ways on both of her children, taking them to the Hindu temple and inviting a friend over to tell their fortunes. She introduces Nina to Ashok (Aaasif Mandvi), who has recently immigrated to America. He was her childhood friend and although he is FOB (fresh off the boat), this sincere young man sees at once that she doesn't let people get close to her. Ashok is soon serious about Nina, but she dumps him for Sam (Rex Young), a rich old flame who comes back into her life with a proposal of marriage.
Meanwhile, Raj experiences difficulties at work when he is passed over for a promotion that should have been his. He confides in Julia (Jennifer Dorr White), a new coworker who soon develops a crush on him. She helps Raj see how truly uncomfortable he is in his relationship with Tejal.
Similar in spirit and feel to The Joy Luck Club, East Is East, and My Son the Fanatic, this fine film conveys the trouble many ethnic individuals have when they find themselves living in a twilight zone between the customs of the old country and the ever-changing values of America. The title of the movie is an acronym for American-Born Confused Desi, which a young Indian bride uses as a behind-the-back slur of Nina.
The DVD extras include an audio commentary with director Krutin Patel, actors Faran Tahir and Aasif Mandvi; a "making of" featurette; cast and crew bios; and 10 easy-to-make recipes for Indian food.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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