Review: Indo-Canadian Story of Struggle

Indo-Canadian family comes together to be with their dying father. COURTESY OF LEVELFILM

Agam Darshi’s debut film Donkeyhead is about the struggles of an Indo-Canadian family in Regina,  Canada.

A family comes together to see their father dying of cancer. A lot of packed away baggage comes during this somewhat forced reunion. Everyone has been struggling with their lives after having moved away from this small Canadian prairie town, while the central character,  Mona Ghuman (Agam Dharsi), a struggling writer who stayed to look after her father.

The film deals with many issues including struggles of an immigrant family dealing with racism in Canada. Issues of abuse and sexuality come out of the closet as the family deals with grief and loss.

The title ‘Donkeyhead’ is reflective of the struggles the family has been dealing with as we see Mona’s father calling her a donkey, an often derogatory term used in North Indian languages which represents the stubbornness of a donkey. It is this stubbornness that has kept them going in the face of a hostile world.

This is a very strong debut film for Dharshi who plays the central role as well as writing and directing the film. It is well acted, directed, edited and has a well written score that really gives the film a warm and sensitive feel to reflect the story.  It won best Canadian feature as well as best fiction, best editing and Stephen Lobo for best supporting actor at the Mosaic International South Asain Film Festival in Toronto.

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