Directed by Sarba Das, 2008
Running time: 90min
Hindi and English
AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival, May 2009
When karma calls, you can’t hang up.
What happens when a bunch of hapless Hindus from Hoboken get mixed up with an underworld don with connections to an Indian call center? And what happens when a good Jersey girl falls for a smooth operator thousands of miles away? For one thing, the phone keeps ringing.
Meet the Raj family. Deep in denial about its creeping credit card debt, dodging collection notices and phone calls. When eldest daughter Sonal finally picks up the phone, she meets a call center operator like no other, Rob Roy. Little does she know that he’s oceans away. Her brother Shyam, a college drop out, is too busy dreaming of becoming the next Dr. Dre (peddling his hip-hop album Hapa Means Weed in Japanese), to notice the bills piling up. But romance is in the air for him too, in the form of Radha, a village girl from India, arriving in America to marry a Dollar Store mogul. As for the youngest daughter Jamuna, well, she just wants a Bat Mitzvah. And another bag of Doritos.
Add to this mix Mausi, a chai-fueled Mary Poppins fresh from India, hell bent on getting this meat-eating, energy-wasting, spendthrift family in line. Little does she know that the Gods have it all figured out.
Narrated by award-winning actor Tony Sirico (aka “Paulie Walnuts” of The Sopranos), Karma Calling is a snapshot of our hyper-globalized world through the eyes of a Garden state family just trying to get by. It’s a quintessential American tale about unlikely alliances, outsourcing, and outwitting. And at its heart, it is the story of a family learning to live together.
Directed by Girish Kasaravalli, 2008
Story by well-known feminist writer Vaidehi
Cast: Umashree, K.G. Krishna Murthy, M.D. Pallavi, Poornima Mohan, Ashok Sandip
Running time: 122 minutes
Best Film in Indian Competition and best Actress in Indian Competition at Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, 2008
Best film, best screenplay, best actress at Karnataka State Annual Film Awards, 2009
Women in an Indian village discover that the love of a good story crosses many boundaries in this drama from Girish Kasaravalli. It is 1999 in a coastal town near Kundapura, and Gulabi, the local midwife, has had a hard life – she’s one of the only Muslims in a primarily Hindu community, and her husband Musa has left her to take another wife. Gulabi loves nothing more than a good movie, and she’s hesitant to leave a picture midway, through when she’s summoned to help a local woman give birth. Gulabi grudgingly assists with the delivery, and the grateful family presents her lavish gift – a color television, the first in the village, and a satellite dish to go with it. Given her faith and her marital troubles, Gulabi is something of an outcast in town, but when word gets around about her television, a handful of women from the neighborhood begin stopping to watch soap operas with her (though some are content to just peek though the windows at her new set). One of Gulabi’s new friends is Netru, who has husband troubles of her own, and the two women bond over their shared troubled and love of the daily serials. But with India and Pakistan at war, tensions between Muslims and Hindus reach a new high, and when Netru disappears, many accuse Gulabi of foul play.