Film Reviews

My Own Country
By Ajit Duara | Gentleman 10 March 1999


Mira Nair's My Own Country is probably her best film, this is not to say that movies like Salaam Bombay! and Mississippi Masala are without merit, but this made-for-TV film about an Indian doctor working with AIDS has an integrity about it that her more flamboyant movies don't. The film is based on the book by Dr. Abraham Verghese; a tale of his experiences when he was head of the department of infectious diseases in a small town in Tennessee. This was around 1985, when the AIDS pandemic had just begun to spread from the American cities to the small towns. People were then afraid to touch AIDS patients, much less treat them, but Verghese with his almost Biblical sense of service cared for them, loved them and mourned with their families when his patients died, one by one, with a tragic inevitability that left him feeling helpless, Scripted by Sooni Taraporevala, the docudrama with Naveen Andrews in the lead role, is a film which is really about facing death and the unlikely courage with which some people handle it. Movingly written and brilliantly acted by the entire cast, American and Indian, My Own Country is compulsory watching for all AIDS organizations in India and needs to be telecast on all our TV networks. It blows your mind that a director who can made such unadulterated rubbish like Kamasutra can also make a film like My Own County. Oriya actress Ellora Patnaik is convincing as the heroic doctor's wife.


Gentleman 10 March 1999

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