I for India

Director: Sandhya Suri

UK • 2005 • 70 mins

In 1965 Dr Yash Pal Suri left India for Darlington, Northern England. He bought a pair of Super 8 cameras, projectors and reel-to-reel audio mixers, sent one to his family back home and with the other proceeded to document his life in a new country. For forty years he swapped cinema postcards of his new life abroad with those back home. There is plenty of rich comic material in Yash’s dispatches to draw from: the novelty of snow; ladies dancing bare-legged at discos; the first trip to an English supermarket. Slowly, though, a sense of frustration and guilt seeps into these faded 8mm reels – children with northern English accents who have never met their grandparents; a brother missing his sister’s wedding; casual racism; ailing parents. His daughter Sandhya Suri uses this fascinating material as the backbone for this wonderful documentary, I For India. She weaves it together with footage such as old BBC documentaries on immigrant doctors and 1970s National Front marches to give historical context and insight, but this film is very much the candid personal story that chimes with a basic human need for belonging.
If you can’t see this, try Mosney (Friday 5.00pm)

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