POV: About Love
Airs Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + PBS Video App
Friday, August 7, 2020
Credit: Courtesy of Archana Atul Phadke
—A Quirky Personal Story About Three Generations of Family Dynamics, Love and Heartbreak—
Three generations of the Phadke family live together in their ancestral home in South Mumbai. When director Archana Atul Phadke, the youngest daughter and unmarried at 32, turns the camera toward her family, the personal becomes political as power structures within the family become visible—and eventually unravel.
Cruel and comic in equal measure, "About Love" examines the vagaries of affection across generations.
The film was an official selection at the 2019 Mumbai Film Festival and won the New Talent Award for Best Film at the 2019 Sheffield New Doc Festival.
Filmed over three years, the intimate and often funny “About Love” captures the rhythms of the ever-busy Phadke household as they prepare for the wedding of Archana’s brother Rohan to his fiancé Gurbani. Growing up, Archana noticed the disparities between men and women in “good traditional marriages,” but felt it was normal since she and her siblings had happy childhoods.
However, as an adult, she realized that the pain and sacrifices women make to be a "good wife" in a patriarchal structure has contributed to her aversion to the institution of marriage; much to the chagrin of her parents.
“While this film has always been resonant and humorous, as so many of us face family drama (whether chosen family or by blood) in close quarters during COVID, its relevance is heightened,” said Justine Nagan, executive director of American Documentary and one of POV’s executive producers. “We are so proud to bring Archana’s personal, and yet universal, directorial debut to American audiences on POV. It’s a gem.”
“Through the film, I hope I can create a space for conversation and introspection for both men and women, across generations, to look inwards and try and respect each other’s choices,” said Archana Atul Phadke, Director of "About Love." “Right now [in Indian culture], we are going through a climate where there is a growing nuanced discourse about socialization of women in different aspects of society,” said Archana. “Various institutions, and gender roles within them, are being scrutinized. I feel that looking at ‘a family unit’ and gender roles embedded in it is an important step in sensitization and furthering the conversation about gender roles in society. As a young Indian woman, in making the choice of not getting married, I’m already seen as a sort of deviation from the norm. Luckily, I have a family, which is supportive of my choices.”
In “About Love,“ Archana introduces the members of her family: her ill-tempered, 87-year-old grandfather Madhav who is partially deaf, sick and frequently snaps at his family; her grandmother, Madhav's long suffering wife Neela also in her eighties, who unendingly tends to her ailing, chauvinistic husband’s needs; her father Atul, a large, proud boisterous 52-year-old man who runs the family’s jewelry business and has been married for 33 years; and her mother Maneesha, a stoic, highly educated woman whose adult life has been devoted to being the perfect middle class housewife and mother although she harbors feelings of unspoken regrets.
As Archana reveals the interpersonal dynamics between her parents Maneesha and Atul and her grandparents Neela and Madhav viewers discover how each family member views the other and the building blocks that keep the eccentric family together.
Through the lens of the camera, Archana comes to terms with her own feelings regarding marriage and the often-ineffable nature of blood ties.
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This film will stream online on POV.org in concurrence with its broadcast.
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A Storyteller Ink production. Director: Archana Atul Phadke. Executive Producer: Ilkka Vehkalahti, Don Edkins, Amelia Hapsari. Producer: Archana Atul Phadke, Abahy Kumar. Writer: Archana Atul Phadke. Cinematographer: Archana Atul Phadke. Editor: Archana Atul Phadke, Abhay Kumar. Music: Shane Mendonsa. Executive Producers for POV: Justine Nagan and Chris White. Now in its 33rd season, POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series.
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