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ABCD (1999)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  12 October 2000 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 269 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 23 user | 12 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

The only goal of an ageing Asian-American widow is to see her son and rebellious daughter (described as an American Born Confused Deshi or ABCD) married off to respectable Indian families.

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Title: ABCD (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Anju
...
Raj
...
Nina
...
...
Brian
...
Julia
Adriane Forlana Erdos ...
Tejal
Rex Young ...
Sam
Gil Grail ...
Mark
Bob Bonnet ...
Cop
Alexander Lasky ...
Gordon
David Mann ...
Tony
...
Jennifer
Vince Byrne Sr. ...
MacKenzie
Nicki Cochrane ...
Asha
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Storyline

The only goal of an ageing Asian-American widow is to see her son and rebellious daughter (described as an American Born Confused Deshi or ABCD) married off to respectable Indian families.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Its about choices!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

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Release Date:

12 October 2000 (USA)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
 »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title stands for "American Born Confused Desi" (pronounced "Deshi" in the film. The confusion refers to the clash of cultural identities and Desi to a person of South Asian descent. Variations on the term extend the acronym to all letters of the alphabet, from A to Z. See more »

Connections

References Saturday Night Fever (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
In Search of the Great Indian-American Movie
6 December 2001 | by (Boston) – See all my reviews

ABCD is not only the best Indian-American experience film yet, it is an outstanding movie in its own right. It is a serious, often heart-wrenching story about the family of an Indian widow and her unsettled US-raised children.

Be aware that ABCD is not Bollywood; there is no singing, no dancing, no comic relief, no villain, no hero.

I have to compare ABCD to other recent Indian-American films such as American Desi, Hyderabad Blues, and Bombay Boys. In contrast, American Desi is a comedy, often crossing the threshold into the Bollywood "stupid comedy" zone. Hyderabad Blues is more serious than American Desi but is still a comedy -- I value it mainly for entertainment value. I haven't watched Bombay Boys which I've heard is "okay." All these films are coming-of-age movies about the second-generation NRI.

Unlike the other films, ABCD gives serious attention to the first-generation and not just the second. The Indian mother, Anju, lives in the worst of both worlds. Her husband has passed away, her extended family is still in India, and her children cannot please her and find happiness at the same time. To its credit, the script portrays her suffering (and everyone's suffering) without trying to solve it.

ABCD also dwells on the American "ferengi" point of view. The American characters earnestly try to relate to the desi characters, but they are distracted by the exotic veneer and have difficulty seeing through.

The performances in ABCD are believable, and the writing is often a treat with the characters saying unexpectedly intelligent things.

The cinematography and sound in this film are first-rate -- there is no evidence that the movie was produced on a low budget. However, watching the movie at my local Indian cinema, there was a lot of electrical noise in the audio (from playing the analog track on the celluloid?) and the framing was awful -- whenever the camera zoomed in on someone's face, the person's mouth got chopped off!! I suspect this was the theater's fault, however, and not the filmmaker's.

The tagline for the film is "It's about choices" which I think sells the film short. The film is a rich blend of choice and fate; the characters may face choices in the end, but the film is about the fate that brought them there.

Basically there is A LOT to the movie ABCD. For FOB's and ABCD's alike, I think the movie is a must see (at least until the next great Indian-American movie comes along...)


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