Original feature-length film. Set in postcolonial India of the 1950s, Cotton Mary is an exploration of racial and social prejudice as seen through the character of an Anglo-Indian nurse called Cotton Mary. The drama centers on the relationship between Mary, a woman of mixed British-Indian parentage and Lily Macintosh, who embodies the history that Mary is determined to claim. When Lily gives premature birth to her second child and is unable to produce milk, Cotton Mary takes the baby to her sister Blossom, a wheelchair-bound wet nurse living in a nearby Alms House. In the dramatic conclusion, which exposes each of the main characters’ often conflicting English and Indian identities, desperation and betrayal lead the sisters to attack each other’s aspirations. Premiered at London Film Festival, 1999, and screened at numerous festivals. Released worldwide by Merchant Ivory/Universalin 2001.
Original feature-length script on India’s First War of Independence. Set in a small cantonment town in North India, a violent uprising of Indian soldiers occurs in the late summer of 1857, bringing death and devastation to this community of English inhabitants. A bewildered Major Maitland and his servant Das live on the grounds of a Maharaja’s palace, seeking refuge along with a group of English women and children with whom they share quarters. Unable to acknowledge the death of his daughter Charlotte, Maitland revels in an imagined past where Charlotte is soon to return. Desperate to save his son, Das brings Moustapha to the sanctuary of the palace grounds, not realizing he has already joined the uprising and is implicated in the death of Maitland’s daughter.As the war comes to an end, the intertwining of British and Indian lives in the confines of the palace grounds, brings the irrevocable change to each of the characters that is reflected in this larger historical period.
Part political thriller, part personal journey, Kashmir is the story of Jessica Landing, thirty-five year-old American journalist on assignment in the long disputed territory of Kashmir. Shunning concerns for her own safety, Jessica decides to remain in Kashmir after her assignment has ended. Traveling alone by bus from the capital of Srinagar, Jessica meets Yusuf, a young Kashmiri Muslim, who tries to befriend her. Dismissing his efforts at first, the two are thrown together when the bus is stopped and subjected to a sudden army check. As women and men are ordered off the bus for questioning, Yusuf is singled out and harassed by the soldiers who accuse him of being a militant and threaten him with police arrest. As a random execution takes place outside the bus, Jessica comes to Yusuf’s rescue, identifying him as her assistant-translator and demanding his release. Bearing witness to Yusuf’s gradual radicalization, the conflicts of Kashmir force Jessica’s own self-reckoning.
PRINCE OF POLO
The epic tale of how English Colonel Joseph Sherer brought polo to the modern world from a remote Southeastern Himalayan kingdom on the edge of the British Empire. Strategically located on the Burmese border, Manipur was a passageway for British commercial interests in China. Set in the late 19th century, this feature-film sets the stage for examining the larger relationship between the British Empire and the corrosive force of colonization on cultural heritage through one nation’s struggle to maintain political independence.
ASK ME NO QUESTIONS
Adapted from the novel by Marina Budhos, this feature-length script is a portrait of immigrant life in contemporary America and the coming-of-age tale of two Bangladeshi sisters. Fourteen year-oldNadira and her eighteen year-old sister Aisha, who live in Queens, N.Y. are part of an invisible population of illegal aliens, teenage girls hoping to realize their dreams of becoming legal citizens in their adopted land. In the aftermath of 9/11, their lives are thrust into sudden upheaval when their parents decide to flee to the Canadian border to seek asylum. When their father is detained and placed under arrest as a suspected terrorist, their traditional Bengali mother insists on staying nearby. Returning to N.Y alone, the girls are forced to put up a front of normalcy at school and with their friends as they live with the threat of being deported to Bangladesh, a country they hardly know.
Story Consultant for original feature-length script on Nepal’s Maoist insurgency and civil war,directed by Deepak Rauniyar. When his father dies, partisan Chandra travels to his remote mountain village after nearly a decade away. Upon his return, Chandra must face his brother Suraj, who was on the opposing side during the Nepalese civil war along with many of the village elders, who still maintain allegiance to the Nepali King. The two brothers collide in the male-only ceremonial rites, unable to put aside political feelings while tending to their father’s body and the long-buried emotions of the intervening years. Produced by Joslyn Barnes of Louverture Films. New Directors/New Films Festival, 2017.