Sawnet - Cinema - Reviews
Miss India Georgia
Directed by Daniel Friedman and Sharon Grimberg
Confusion may be construed to be the theme of "Miss India Georgia" as
well. Daniel Friedman, a descendant of Russian Jewish immigrants to
this country and Sharon Grimberg, descended from the Jewish community
of Singapore, decided to make this film after spotting a news item
advertising a "Miss Hindu Dayton" pageant in the Dayton Ohio Daily
News, in "an attempt to understand the process of acculturation
undergone by the Jewish community in this country fifty years ago,"
according to Friedman. The film follows four contestants in the Miss
India Georgia pageant and through these four well chosen subjects
plots the lives of their families attempting to assimilate into a
foreign culture with the spectre of their Indian background, visually
reinforced by their colour, following them everywhere.
- In a telling juxtaposition right in the beginning of the film there
are two soundbites, evidently in reply to a query about what a pageant
such as this one means to the different people who come to watch
it. One of the older people claims that it is to show their American
born children what kind of clothes Indians wear and "how to behave"
while one of the younger people says that the pageant is proof that
the Indian community is trying to adopt American ways.
- The question of which "ways" are from where and how distorted the
perception of these "ways" has become within the immigrant experience
is one which remains unresolved but is is implicitly touched upon
throughout the film. There is a sense of loss as well. Dan Friedman
told me that the rate of marriage outside of the Jewish community has
gone up remarkably since the time he was in high school and this makes
him uncomfortable although he can't quite say why. This discomfort, so
many generations down, is a transformed version of the fears and
insecurities of the parents we see in the film who keep trying to tell
their children about an "Indian culture" which dates back to the time
they left India, which India itself has left behind to a great extent.
-- Amitabha Bagchi
[South Asian Women Filmmakers]
[Sawnet Film Reviews]
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