Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"About Love": a single woman living in a multigenerational home in Mumbai ponders herself v. family and tribe

Mumbai AC local

 On Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, PBS aired the film “About Love” by Mumbai filmmaker and writer Archanda Phadke, about her own life as a single adult living in a multi-generational home in a crowded but middle-class are of India’s metropolis  The film was shot before Covid, but it depicts the practical problems of integrated family life when there are many people.


Archanda, 32 when finishing the film, was working out her own attitudes about family and marriage, as she gradually had to come to terms with cultural ideas about a woman’s place in the home in her society. Family was about more than focused love, it was about the continuity of a tribe. “If you wouldn’t serve your husband’s family, then stay home.”

Part of the “plot” of the “livestream-style” film deals with her brother Rohan’s planned wedding to fiancé Gurbani.  That raises more questions about marriage or singlehood in Archanda’s mind.

Her 87-year-old grandpa Madhav is becoming ill, needs adult diapers at night, and finally goes to the hospital for a tragic but expected end.  Her grandmother Neela says she doesn’t know why she married him, but he used to be good looking and relatively humble.

Her parents, especially her dad, are a bit hardheaded in running a family jewelry business. There are arguments about the physical assembly of accounting statements into binders able to hold them.

The infrastructure around the house seems suspect;  the TV or Internet go out “when it rains”.

Toward the end of the film Archanda talks about her own novel, and her own mind, as separate from family.  She talks about the idea of your soul living at different times (135 years apart) through imagination or reading (or maybe virtual time travel).

Wikipedia embed of Mumbai railway picture, click for attribution.  See also "In Praise of Love" Oct. 7, 2007. 

PBS POV link

Kpbs link


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