Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Umrika

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Umrika

Article excerpt

Umrika

(2015)

Directed by Prashant Nair

Umrika is an endearing film about the bonds of brotherhood, dreams of big city life, and family responsibility in 1970s India. Rama (Suraj Sharma) watches as his older brother, Udai (Prateik Babbar), leaves their small family village to start a new life in America (aka Umrika). As the entire village waves him off, we see pride in his mother's face, a dream she has had for her son to make it big. But as the weeks turn to months, there is no word from Udai about his journey to this new land. His mother grows ever more despondent, and she drags her husband to the village priest to pray for her missing son (10 rupees please).

Suddenly, when all hope seems lost, the letters start arriving from America, describing a land where "anything is possible." The letters include pictures of different cities in America, scenes of ice skating and food foreign to India. Then one day Rama and Udai's father dies suddenly, and we find out a secret; the postman has been delivering letters written by the father in order to alleviate the mother's worry. Rama, the loving younger brother who has been left behind, always loyal to his mother and father, sets out to find out the truth about Udai's fate.

Rama follows his brother's footsteps, arriving in the port city of Mumbai, where his brother's friend now lives. He takes Rama in and supports him; Rama, meanwhile, searches out the man who is in charge of helping people get to "Umrika," and eventually finds out that people are being smuggled into the United States for large sums of money. Rama tries to figure out how he too can get there, but discovers the truth about his brother. …

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