Greetings again from the darkness. Kickstarter campaigns will not allow every wannabe director to realize their filmmaking dream, but it did allow writer/director/producer Suju Vijayan to make her first feature. The film has deservedly enjoyed some success on the second tier Film Festival route, and it’s done so as a pleasant viewing experience without the exaggerations typically seen in the cultural battles of indie productions.
Priya (Navi Rawat from TV’s Numb3rs) and Ray (Ross Partridge) are a happily married couple who seem relatively content with their life in Van Nuys, California. She is an immigration lawyer who takes her job to heart, while he is a former teacher searching for his place in life … currently designing a jungle gym (he dropped out of architecture classes) while juggling the demands of beer drinking and pot smoking. One morning Priya informs Ray that her 20 year estranged father will be staying with them for awhile during his concert tour with other musicians from India.
Ashok (Piyush Mishra) is an obstinate man who proceeds to interrogate the couple on such hot topics as the size of their home, their status as renters, Ray’s lack of a job, Priya’s fashion and work outside of the home, and of course, the couple’s decision not to have kids. The cultural and generational differences are handled in a grounded, believable manner with a tinge of humor as well as insight. Ashok’s overblown ego and pride take a direct shot when it’s discovered that the concert tour is not what he expected. It’s this development that takes the story in an interesting direction … an obvious ending in sight … but interesting still.
Ray and Ashok are forced to spend time together while Priya works, and it’s kind of funny to spot their similarities. Ashok’s marital and relationship track record illustrates a similar self-centeredness and lack of direction to what we witness with Ray. Soon enough, these two are bonding over wine and the creative nature they share.
The story is familiar enough, and carries the banner for the “he’s family” motif. Despite this, the marital strife and family emotions and personality traits are all well written and well performed. Mr. Mishra’s work is especially delightful to watch, and Mr. Partridge bears a striking resemblance to Dermot Mulroney, including the corresponding slacker style. The film covers no new material, but does provide an enjoyable look at family life complicated by cultural and generational differences.