Annoyed at the poor quality of long-distance phone calls from England to his home country of India, in 1965 Yash Pal Suri bought two Super-8 film cameras, two projectors, and two reel-to-reel recorders and sent one of each to his parents back home. Over the following decades, Yash filmed his surroundings—images of snow, ladies in miniskirts dancing bare-legged, the first trip to an English supermarket—his taped thoughts and observations providing a unique chronicle of the eccentricities of his new English hosts. He then exchanged the journals with his parents' similar recordings of his home culture.
<i>I for India</i> is a telling portrait of separation through both old and current footage of the family. While the subject matter is reliant on nostalgia, filmmaker (and Yash's daughter) Sandhya Suri avoids overanalysis and sentimentality. The gorgeous film grain and crackling audio static are compelling. But time rolls on, and as the possibility of returning to India becomes less realistic, the cine-reports become darker and more frustrated. Yash has the ability to be both humble and proud in the middle of it all.
It is so bittersweet: if not for the huge separation of the family, would Yash have made such a beautiful time capsule?
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