Education About Asia: Online Archives

Who is Indian? A Review of My Mother India

Download PDF

Written and directed by Safina Uberoi

Produced by Penelope McDonald

VHS. Color. 52 minutes. Chili Films, 2001

My Mother India weaves together the experiences of one family over three generations, the past with the present, 1947 with 1984, Australia and India. Written and directed by Safina Uberoi, this documentary begins as a hilarious account of a marriage between an Australian woman named Patricia, and Jit, an Indian-Sikh man—Uberoi’s parents. They fell in love and married in Canberra but decided to settle in India. Uberoi paints a colorful picture of her childhood and her multi-cultural upbringing in New Delhi by discussing her parents’ notorious kitsch calendar collection and how her mother Patricia, because of her foreign upbringing, causes scandals in the neighborhood when she hangs her underwear out to dry. Uberoi’s family proves even more atypical when we learn that her grandparents eloped and, after several years of marriage, were divorced in 1950. Her grandfather, Papa-ji, was a guru, while her opinionated grandmother, Bijee, with whom one cannot help but fall in love, is a feminist who openly declares, “all men are bastards.”