Mitr, My Friend – 2002, English

-Manjula Jonnalagadda

          People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.— Dalai Lama XIV

          Mitr, My Friend is a film directed by Revathi, and written by V. Priya and Sudha Kongara. The film won the Best Feature Film in English award at the National Awards and the Special Jury: Silver Peacock Award at the International Film Festival of India. This film crew was completely composed of women.

          Revathi started her career as an actress in a film called Mann Vasanai directed by Bharathiraja. She has won several awards for her performances. She has had a long career as an actress and is still acting. Mitr, My Friend is the only film she directed.

  1. Priya started her film career as an assistant director to the star director Mani Ratnam. Mitr, My friend is her first film as a screenwriter. She has directed 5 films; four in Tamil, and one in Kannada.

          Sudha Kongara started her career as an Associate Director of Mani Ratnam. She directed six films in Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu. Her film Soorarai Pottru won the National Award for the Best Feature Film and it was also the Oscar Nominee from India in 2020.

          The film opens with Lakshmi singing a song, when Prithvi comes with his family to meet Lakshmi’s family for a marriage alliance. Lakshmi and Prithvi get married and move to San Francisco. They have a child and name her Divya. Years later, Divya is 17 and is a teenager. Prithvi is a workaholic and has little time for Lakshmi. Lakshmi is lonely with no friends, lives in a big house. 

          Lakshmi is an overprotective mother and a bit too nosy. Divya is a spoiled brat. Prithvi is a stereotypical Indian husband who doesn’t raise a finger to help his wife. Divya wants to drop out of school and move out of the house. That is shocking to Lakshmi who had traditional upbringing. After a row with her mother, Divya moves out of the house. Prithvi blames Lakshmi for these problems. 

          Lakshmi, bored and hurt, starts to chat with strangers with the name My Friend. She befriends Mitr who says he lives in LA. They kind of hit it off. Lakshmi also befriends a young man named Steve and his younger brother Paul who move into the neighborhood. Lakshmi slowly starts to have a life of her own. She picks up hobbies to keep herself busy. What happens next is the rest of the film.

          Life in a foreign land is difficult and often lonely. If one does not have a job, it is difficult to have friends. When children grow up and start to have a life of their own and the husband gets busy, life can get boring for women. Lakshmi suffers from similar boredom. She lives in an alien culture, and does not understand that her daughter sees a different world from her. 

          Her overprotective and prying nature drives Divya away. Prithvi not being respectful to Lakshmi does not help the cause. These problems are not just in Indian households, many other Asian households face this as well.

          I happened to meet Revathi at the screening of this film. She told me that this film was written based on several experiences of Indians living in the U.S. 

          The film in spite of dealing with some serious issues, it is filled with humor and is quite light hearted and entertaining. 

          Shobhana shines in her role of Lakshmi. Preeti Vissa who played Divya is quite good as well. Nasser Abdullah as Prithvi gave a good performance!

          This is the debut film of most of the crew that worked on this film, they do a pretty good job.

          Watch this film for it is a great effort and gives a glimpse into Indian American families.


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