Washington, DC – Lehman Plaza Movie Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on the outskirts of the national capital, Washington, DC recently hosted a premiere of the movie “On Golden Years” by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tirlok Malik.
The complexity of life got portrayed through various characters as immigrants from India face life in retirement in their new homeland. The film stars Jyoti Singh, Ranjit Chowdhry, Reeves Lehmann, Shetal Shah, Tirlok Malik, Shruti Tewari, Farokh Daruwala and Indu Gajwani, among others. Singer Falu makes her film debut doing the item number song “Raba Raba.”
Malik, who shot to fame with his first film “Lonely in America,” in early 1990s, said this was an effort to bring joy in elderly couples, whose children have all grown and who are now looking for a place to retire. The movie gives a gentle message: “We are not born together, we don’t die together, at least we must cherish the time together.”
Speaking to journalists before the screening, Malik said, “All my films have been about immigrant themes. So this film is about how an immigrant comes here and we think after retiring, we will go back to India. But when actually the time comes, we do not for many reasons.”
Noting that, “the film is a romantic comedy,” Malik urged the people to live their lives to the fullest even in their “Golden Years.”
Through various characters, who are residents of an Indian retirement community, the film deals with the conflicts such as India verses America, Contentment verses Regrets, and of course, where to retire. This is the story about the retirement of the American Dream.
The Chair of the Film Division of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Reeves Lehmann, who acted in the movie, said he was grateful to be part of this venture. SVA, a prestigious film school and a great supporter of Tirlok Malik’s work, was where Ranbir Kapoor got his initial training before joining Bollywood.
Reeves Lehmann who plays married “to a beautiful Indian woman,” said, “We are having a great relationship, we are loving and stay in good shape. We go running together.” “The move has a nice message to it that one should make most of his/her life with the person you love. Learn to appreciate each other every day. Its all about relationships and treasure them,” added Lenmann.
On her role in the film, the lead actor Jyoti Singh told Indian American TImes, “I play Ranjit Chowdhry’s wife and our marital relationship suffers from a lot of tension. This is mainly because my husband’s character does not know how to effectively express his love for his son – any of the son’s deficiencies or weaknesses are assumed to be somehow my fault. Over the years, our relationship takes a toll as the only person he can express his frustrations to is me, his lifelong companion, the sounding board of his daily challenges, a good supportive Indian wife. Internally unhappy, I represent the life of a reserved Indian wife bound by the unspoken expectations of Indian American community in suburban America. The film touches on how our relationship and love change over the years not only because of children but also due to other situations in our journey and expectations we have.”
Asked to comment what message the movie is trying to carry, Jyoti said, “The message in the movie is one of fulfilling our basic need of belonging … of love and building relationships …belonging to a community … to find happiness where you are.”
On her career path which started in 2009, Jyoti Singh said, “I acted in a bunch of short films, theatre, supporting roles in feature films, TV hosting, as well as getting invited for guest appearances in some of the biggest shows on Indian TV: Adalat and Fear Files. I also did voice overs and recently I was in a principal role in the NBC mini-series “THE SLAP.” “On Golden Years” is my third lead role in a feature film,” she added.
The Washington premiere of the film was attended by many cast and crew members along with nearly 300 invited guests including Gauri Singh who is a driving force behind South Asian Film Festivals in the US,
Gauri Singh, president and founder of the not-for-profit organization, the North Carolina International South Asian Film Festival (NCISAFF) and NC First in Aviation State’s Global Film Fest came all the way from North Carolina to attend. Speaking about her visit, Gauri Singh said, “Yes, it was nice to represent the NC organizations. I am here to see if we can screen the movie in North Carolina.”
Gauri who lead the efforts to organize the first annual North Carolina International South Asian Film Festival in 2012, hoped that the festival would help to provide a platform for showcasing Independent film making talent in the Carolinas and the US, and assist aspiring global Independent film artists who are unable to set foot in a commercial market in achieving their goals through our cinematic showcasing medium.
A film producer and an actor, Gauri appeared in a few of the award wining short movies: “Samosa” and ‘Home Sweet Home.” Her two (2) screenplays are set for release in 2016. “Yadvi,” a real life story of an Indian princess, set in the 1920’s-30’s, is currently in post production. Jyoti Singh, who is the lead actor in “Yadvi” is also excited about this upcoming historical feature film which she directed too.
The other documentary, in initial stages, “Beads on The Same String” focuses on spirituality and religious freedom in the US.