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Praying with Anger (1992)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  15 September 1993 (USA)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 483 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

An alienated, Americanized teenager of East Indian heritage is sent back to India where he discovers not only his roots but a lot about himself.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Mike Muthu ...
Sanjay
Richa Ahuja ...
Rupal Mohan
Sushma Ahuja ...
Mrs. Mohan
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Storyline

An alienated, Americanized teenager of East Indian heritage is sent back to India where he discovers not only his roots but a lot about himself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13
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Release Date:

15 September 1993 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Shyamalan's first feature shows promise
10 September 2004 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this when it was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It was a late entry, but the festival's programmers were so impressed by this debut feature by a young filmmaker (only 20 during shooting) that they put it on the program anyway. One of them (David Overbey as I recall, sadly now deceased) introduced Shyamalan and glowingly said something like "Watch this young man; he's going places and you'll be seeing a lot more of him". Pretty good assessment.

The film is about a teenager, born in India but raised in the U.S. (as Shyamalan was), who goes to his birthplace for a long visit and experiences major culture shock. He sees various aspects of local life with his American eyes, from trivial things to matters of life and death, and the film shows his bemusement while doing a good job of communicating the thoughts of the local characters. I would say that he chose well the issues to highlight (I too am a South Asian raised in the West, born in Canada to Sri Lankan parents who planned to go back but never did), like the importance of superstition and the local variety of racism. However, some parts were a bit too Hollywood for me, in particular the scene where the protagonist stops a lynch mob by preaching his American brand of morality - in much the same way that Captain Kirk used to prevent interstellar war with a few glib phrases.

After the screening, an audience member asked Shyamalan how autobiographical the film was. He replied that he had indeed taken the same kind of journey, but that the movie was definitely fictional. As he put it, "I did not quell a riot in India".

Another question from the audience was how much the movie had cost to make. His answer: "About a million". He didn't say where the money came from, but clearly someone took a chance on this talented young filmmaker. I'm sorry that the film didn't get released; it has stayed with me through the years despite my never having heard of the guy at the time. And now that I've seen other movies he's made, I'd like to watch this again to see more of their origins, much as I was fascinated by watching, long after it was made, Stanley Kubrick's first feature Fear and Desire.


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