This movie is lovely. Just absolutely beautiful. I find it so moving every time I watch it. And to think, I only discovered it back when I did because of my crush on Kal Penn. I suppose there’s a bit of a pattern in a lot of my film choices (says the girl who just wrote up a whole tribute to Chris Evans a couple posts ago).
Penn plays Gogol, a first generation Indian immigrant living in America and trying to figure out his identity–an identity that is torn between two countries and tied to the author his father named him after. But the story doesn’t start there. Before we meet Gogol, we meet his parents Ashoke (recently departed and greatly missed Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Indian actress Tabu). We see their story of how they met and came to America and tried to forge a life for themselves in this strange new country. Eventually Gogol comes along and is at constant (but loving) odds with his parents over what it means to be Indian living in America.
The thing is, despite being a story that’s deeply rooted in Indian culture, it’s absolutely relatable regardless of your heritage. I know I have parts of my upbringing that I rebel against (even if that rebellion often just takes the form of putting the phone down while Mom’s talking while I go about whatever it is I’m doing that day). But moreso than that, we all struggle to figure out who we are and how we fit into the world around us. At its core, that’s what this film is about, and that journey is depicted so beautifully.
I’ll have to keep this in mind as one of my go-to recommendations because I don’t think it’s widely known. I’ll also hafta keep it in mind next time I’m on the hunt for a new book to read.