When different traditions and societies collide, it’s normally a recipe for tension and instability. It’s a familiar story for many immigrants. The first-generation struggle to forge a new life, bringing their own culture and customs with them. Their children grow up in completely different surroundings, faced with a new set of challenges and values; with the shadow of tradition always lurking. This is the premise for The Valley, a new film from Saila Kariat, which tackles this conflict through a family tragedy.
Neal Kumar (Alyy Khan) is an Indian American entrepreneur and a famous player in the cutthroat technological world of Silicon Valley. From the outside, he lives a perfect life of affluence with his wife Roopa (Suchitra Pillai), his eldest daughter Monica (Salma Khan) and youngest Maya (Agneeta Thacker). Neal focus is on his work, equating success with money and power. He believes he’s provided everything his family could possibly need to be happy. His world comes crumbling down when Maya commits suicide.
The Valley is a powerful film about grief, love, and importance of family. It’s a film about perspective and the important things in life. Whilst focusing this around a suicide is not exactly original, the mix of tradition, culture and modern values feels like a fresh approach. The acting is superb and Kariat handles the subject both sensitively and realistically; eschewing needless melodrama. Tales of power and money normally zone in on the extremes or major socio-political events. The Valley proves that the most powerful stories centre on the minutiae of relationships.
The Valley is in cinemas from 3 March.