from Writer/Director, Arun Vir
My parents are Punjabi Indian immigrants who moved to Southampton, England in the mid 60's. One of the only connections to their homeland was our local Indian movie theater. The entire community would congregate there and this is where I experienced some of the most amazing Bollywood musicals. At home we watched British classics, Hitchcock, TV shows such as (and still my fave) Dr Who, The Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, even French films! But it was American Westerns and Film Noir... movies made by directors Sergio Leone, William Wyler, George Stevens and John Huston, that got my attention. I loved the raw drama, watching a world that seemed so far from my reach, and I loved the intrigue of watching a story unfold.
Declaring my plans to leave home in search of my dreams was not an easy task, but nevertheless, I found myself in London, on a journey as an aspiring artist. I remember sitting in a movie theater watching Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali". For those of you who haven't seen this film, it's a powerful "coming of age" story concerning the struggles of a young boy named Apu and his poor family who live in a village in Bengal. Their only goal everyday is to stay alive. One scene (without dialogue) involved a young child and her old Aunt fighting over food. This moment took me to the edge of my seat. My heart pounded and my feet went cold as I literally felt the humiliation and desperation come off the screen and into my own body. At that moment I knew I wanted to be a storyteller. I went against my parents' wishes and announced I was moving to New York City. This was a turning point in my life.
I'm inspired by stories about awkward familial relationships and characters who challenge their status quo. This is what led me to write Suburban Turban. Suburban Turban is a coming of age American story with a universal message. It's also a deeper story about the plight of first and second generation youth - BIUSA (Born in the USA) - the bè-yu-sá generation as I like to call them. Like my lead character Ravi, the BUISA generation straddles two cultures. They are a generation who, unlike their immigrant parents, struggle to fit in, are challenged by their identity. The story of Ravi will resonate with youth everywhere, and particularly second generation youth (born to immigrants) no matter their background.
By telling this story, I believe I will open a door for open dialogue about tolerance, race and issues youth face everyday. For the young person living in the confines of their community, the young woman somewhere in middle America under pressure to fulfill a role within family traditions, or the father who believes he must be defiant and march forward only to exist in the shadows of his forefathers... my hope is that my film will inspire them to share their story. I am a product of this experience. I struggled against all odds to break free from a confined environment while still holding onto a connection to my parents' belief system.
Over the years, each draft of Suburban Turban has brought me closer to this moment. I've kept my faith alive, and after a few false starts, I am ready to make my project on a micro budget. I take inspiration from many indie filmmakers as Deepa Mehta, Aparna Sen, Spike Lee, Gregory Nava, Walter Salles, Gary Winick, Mira Nair, Nicole Holofcener, and many, many friends as Garret Williams, Tamar Hoffs, and JT Gurzi who all jumped into the ocean to make their films with little to no money. While I believe Suburban Turban deserves a healthy, studio-like budget, it can be made on a micro level because I have garnered the support of some amazing people, and because it is a labor of love. I know we can do it.
In addition to offering strong roles for emerging Indian-American, Latina and African-American actors, I hope to attract a real-life musician/DJ's to play the lead and other DJ/Rapper roles. Because of this new age of technology "world" we live in, Suburban Turban is a great vehicle for some creative online conversations and campaigns. My passion and faith keeps me going every day in the knowledge that Suburban Turban will be coming to a theater near you!
If I am lucky enough to win your support and contribution, I promise to take you on a most amazing journey...one you will be proud to be a part of. Thank you for taking the time to read this.