Based on the memoirs of the filmmaker’s grandmother, Turbans explores the inner struggles of an Asian Indian immigrant family torn between their cultural traditions and the desire for social acceptance in America. Although born in the United States, the Singh boys are attacked for being different. The turbans they wear, a tradition sacred to their Sikh ancestors, serve only to identify them as outsiders in the prejudiced landscape of Astoria, Oregon circa 1918.
The story is based on the memoirs of the Erika Surat Andersen’s grandmother, Kartar Dhillon, 1915-2008, who assisted with the historical research for the film, as well as writing the Punjabi translations and insuring historical accuracy of the film’s details. She was an author of many stories and memoirs, both published and non-published, including “The Parrot’s Beak” [for more information click here]. Kar Dhillon was from one of the first Asian Indian families to settle on the West Coast of the United States in the early 1900’s.
“Turbans” received two funding awards from NAATA (National Asian American Telecommunication Assoc.), part of the Minority Consortium of the Corp. for Public Broadcasting. The film won multiple awards including the Golden Reel award at the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival (2000), and many others. The film was broadcast across the United States in close to 200 cities from 2001-02.
“Turbans is a powerful and compelling film …
[that] delivers a moving, complex examination about the tough choices
made for the sake of cultural and religious assimilation.” [more quotes]
— Robert Ito, The Independent
“Turbans” is distributed by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), San Francisco and the Filmakers Library, New York. [more on rental & purchase info here]
“Turbans” stars Meera Simhan, Kavi Raz, Shishir Kurup and Juhi Dudani. [more on the Cast & Crew of film Turbans].