A quest for the truth, letters of his wonderful life in America and a missing brother, this is what all about stands for Prashant Nair’s second film-Umrika. This Good Bye Lenin style ode to the white lie that sustains a family has an interesting premise, some strong performances and a screenplay that examines migration through the prism of a family drama.
Set in the backdrop of 1970, the film moves with Udai leaving his village for a better life in America and after Udai has left the village, people over there awaits for the news of his much improved life and what is not known to the villagers is a lie and the lie is also served to Udai’s mother by none other than Udai’s father who have kept this secret for long that his son had been missing, actually disappeared after leaving the village and his father was the one who has been sending fake letters to keep his mother happy.
Udai’s younger brother, Ramakant suspecting of the fake letters sets out to find his missing brother and through a tout, he meets a trafficker who hold clues to Udai’s fate and many years later the story unfolds through the passage of time marked by playing Hindi film tunes and news broadcasts from the appropriate period.
In the mid of the story, Ramakant moved to Mumbai to try to find as what had actually happened to his brother where he learns about a gang of criminals involved in smuggling migrants out of the country.
Umrika is punctuated by moments of humor, many of them connected with the ironic contrasts of the music, movies on video and news clips of Reagan-era America with Mumbai. Umrika is a bleak story of young people who aspire to better lives and are torn from the families they want to help.
Ramakant is played by Suraj Sharma, the star of Life of Pi. Udai played by Prateik. Smita Tambe has portrayed the character of Udai’s mother and Pramod Pathak plays Udai’s father.
Umrika won the coveted Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, spotlights the yearning of people in the Third World for the West. The film gives a glimpse into the harsh reality of the crime-ridden industry that brings migrants across the world, and often cuts them off from their families forever.
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