Dallas Society For Psychoanalytic Psychology Arts
Annual Fall Diversity Film Program & Discussion
The Indian-American Experience:
The Highs and Lows of Challenges and Opportunities
Sunday, October 17, 4 to 5:30 pm
at Stonebriar Country Club
Invited Discussants: Aekta Malhotra, M.D. and Jaina Sanga, Ph.D.
Facilitated by Angelica Tratter, Ph.D.
Today‘s Special is a 2009 independent film adapted from an Off-Broadway play (Sakina’s Restaurant). The script was adapted by Aasif Mandvi, a British-American actor and popular comedian of Indian descent, who also wrote the play and stars in the leading role.
The film won the “Best of the Fest Award” at the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The film is a lighthearted, charming and entertaining comedy, a ‘feel-good fable’, that pays tribute to many relevant cultural tropes, such as father-son conflict, within-group marriage expectations, personal and family ambitions, mentorship and professional success, as well as the role of religion and spirituality. The plot’s fated twists and turns give a good picture of the typical challenges that Indian-Americans of first and second generations face as they make their home and life in this country.
India has in its own right an immensely rich and fascinating cultural tradition. It also was the largest former colony, known as ‘the Jewel in the Crown’ for the British Empire during its colonial rule. In contemporary America, Indian immigrants are often considered a “model minority”, given that Indian Americans undergo a performance oriented childhood (as evidenced also in the scores of spelling bee champions year after year), and are generally on average highly accomplished and financially successful. Moreover, it is Indian Americans who have the highest median household income in the nation. This apparent success story, however, harbors its own shadow as it can lead to being taken for granted and not receiving assistance when needed. Additionally, questions of a ‘postcolonial identity’ and being part of the larger group of ‘people of color’ will also be of interest and concern for our discussion.
Watching the Film: Attendees are encouraged to stream the film on their own time. We will gather for the discussion only, during which our invited discussants will share their knowledge and experiences with us.
Location of the Discussion: We will meet on the lush grounds of Stonebriar Country Club, in a generously sized covered outdoor patio that is reserved for us in the downstairs area of the main building. The Club is located on 5050 Country Club Drive in South Frisco (off Legacy Drive, near Dallas North Tollway and Sam Rayburn Tollway). Parking is all along the main building.
Fee: $20 which covers food and drinks (and CEU’s).
Dr. Aekta Malhotra is a psychiatrist in private practice at Apollo Psychiatry, PLLC, in Plano, TX. She is also a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Anti-oppression consultant where she focuses on the psychodynamics of leadership and groups, structural racism and sexism, and organizational diagnosis and culture change. While attending Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, she co-led the Multicultural Awareness Program, and at the University of Massachusetts Medical School she was involved in several hospital-wide and community mental health Quality Improvement projects focused on equitable health care delivery. She contributes as a clinical content master for healthcare equity apps, services, and products. She is a board member of Equality Texas, the state’s largest LGBTQ equal rights organization, as well as an active member of the Dallas Psychoanalytic Center where she serves on its Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
Dr. Jaina Sanga is an author of both fiction and non-fiction. She is also a literary scholar, having taught at SMU and the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, where she is a Fellow and on the Board of Directors. She has published a book on Salman Rushdie’s postcolonial writing, edited two volumes on South Asian literature, and authored several articles in scholarly journals in the US and South Asia. She has also made numerous presentations at academic conferences around the world. Currently she focuses on her fiction writing (a detective novel set in India and Dubai) and has previously published the novel Silk Fish Opium (2012), a book of short stories Train to Bombay (2015), and a book of novellas Tourist Season (2017). Her fiction has won several prizes and led to her selection as a participant in prestigious residencies and workshops both in the U.S. and abroad.