British TV brings NRIs home RASHMEE Z AHMEDYes a good description of some of the underlying stories of the movie. I also would like to point out that while this film was not a commercial success it did provide a vehicle for the career of Parminder Nagra to take off in Hollywood and getting a contract with the show "ER" for one year and to continue on.
LONDON: The UK's first, mainstream, British-Indian television drama arrives on thousands of screens across the country this weekend, but the real headline is its extraordinarily in-your-face message: Immigration is no longer a one-way street heading West and it's okay for the punk-haired second generation of British Indians to "immigrate" to the Motherland.
The drama posits an unexpected, deeply-poignant, 21st-century passage to India at the height of Britain's ongoing, passionate and commercially-productive love-affair with all things Indian. The bold television drama, baldly titled Second Generation, ends with three of its lead characters returning to India. Two of them -- a Bengali Hindu-Muslim pairing -- are beer-swilling, bhangra-rapping, British-born-and-bred. To top it all, they speak Bengali with a pronounced accent.
But, for the first time ever on British TV, the British-Indian second generation is shown to reject the bright lights of London for the alien-but-dimly-remembered chaos and camaraderie of Kolkata.
It's something director Jon Sen believes to be a "positive statement about India as an alternative place to live for British Asians".
The third "reverse immigrant" character, played by Om Puri, arrived in Britain half-a-century ago and sacrificed everything including his "(Indian) moral framework" to make good in an alien land. Eventually, he returns to India to lay his "demons to rest" and find peace, Sen told The Times of India.
In his first pre-release interview to an Indian publication, Sen, an Anglo-Indian, said the drama was a "benchmark production because it took the British Asian narrative on, even as it started from a position of Indian pride, wealth and success".
The drama, baldly titled Second Generation, is executed as an expertly-crafted Hollywood-Bollywood mish-mash of saris-sex-swearwords and suicide. It stars Puri, Anumpan Kher, Roshan Seth and Parminder Nagra, heroine of the hit film Bend it Like Bechkam. And it's already being described as an important, British Indian "think" piece on immigration, taking the Asian story onwards from the seminal Buddha of Suburbia.
But it comes at a sensitive time, when the right-wing British National Party has won several local election victories despite banging the drum on the issue of "forced repatriation" of coloured immigrants.
Sen denies Second Generation is about "being repatriated but about choice and reversing the traditional view of immigration from the sub-continent to Britain".
Britain has a several-million strong, largely prosperous, Indian community. But Sen believes Second Generation underlines the huge sacrifices Om Puri's generation had to make to become the wealthy, successful, stereotype British Indian of today.
But the second generation, he says, can now see -- and show on British TV -- that "Britain isn't always the ideal place for us to make our lives� that India is an alternative choice, it can offer British Asians as good a standard of living, it has revolutionised itself".
The drama, commissioned and screened by Channel 4, is written by Neil Biswas, the son of Bengali immigrants who lived in London's East End.
Sen, the director, has a Bengali father and English mother and admits to "romanticising India" at least partly because he feels "the pull of history there, at least half my history is in India".
Some of the special features and flashbacks were confusing and campy but overall the film was good and worth a DVD rental.
Second Generation stars Parminder Nagra as the free-thinking daughter in a traditional Indian family who has torn herself away from the restrictive traditions of her parents. A family emergency brings her back into the fold, where the entire family must contend with how their world sometimes is at odds with the modern London world they inhabit. In addition to the struggles with her family, the daughter is caught in a love triangle involving her British fiancé and her old flame. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide
Theatrical Feature Running Time: 136 mins
Second Generation (2003)