Umrika (2015) - full transcript

A small village in India is invigorated when one of their own travels to America (aka, UMRIKA) and details his adventures through letters home, sparking community debate and inspiring hope. But when the letters mysteriously stop coming, his younger brother Rama (Suraj Sharma) sets out on a journey to find him. With the help of his best friend Lalu (Tony Revolori), Rama retraces his brother's path to find himself charting one of his own. Set in the mid-1980s, UMRIKA is a funny and meaningful story of the lengths taken to realize one's dreams.

"Brothers and sisters..."

"The president has declared a
national state of emergency."

"There is no cause for panic."

Don't keep all the money
in one place.

Check it before you sleep and then
again first thing in the morning.

Yes, Uncle.

Won't you say goodbye to
your brother?

"King Ram's moustache
was thick and strong"

"He combed and oiled it
till it was long."

Our little secret?

- Rajan, take care.
- Yes sir.

Take good care of your health.

Make sure you eat properly.

Wear the sweater, it'll
be cold there.

You'll write regularly, no?

Yes ma, don't worry.

Isn't this what you've
always wanted for me?

- Write to us, Udai.
- Bye Rajan!

Some people know
everything about cricket.

Others know how to fix things:

pottery, elections,
Amitabh-Bachchan films...

There's an expert for everything over here.

As for me...

the only thing I know much about...

is a place I've never even seen.


It's over there.

Behind the mountains.

But when you left Jitvapur,
my brother, I was only a child.

Six years, maybe seven.

I had no idea where you
had disappeared to.

Here's Rama...

and here's Udai.

Baba tried to explain...

He's said less than
five words in three years.

But go ahead... Waste your time
with paper planes.

But it was hardly as if he had seen
much of the world himself.

Mother could hardly contain her pride.

She exhausted the entire village
with all her stories of you.

As if the sun shone brighter...

and the cows pooped gold
wherever it was that you were.

Still, it wasn't till many months later...

that I finally began to understand
where it was that you'd gone.


Diwali came and went.

So did Holi.

Then came two baby calves.

But still no letter from you.

And all Mother's excitement
slowly turned to grief.

It wasn't easy, brother,
to see her like that.

Have a little more...

Ma, pass me the yoghurt...

Now, Mother's will had
always been strong.

But none of us could have imagined...

just how much and for how long.

Ma, just like Reagan.

And Baba... that Russian guy, Gorbachov.

Come on!

Come on!

Not you too!

Much like the Cold War...

for a long time there
wasn't any action.

And after several weeks of exile from the
warmth and tenderness of his bed...

it must've been desperation that
clouded Baba's head.

There is a way out,

a modest offering
to our Mother Protector.

Did you bring the peacock feather,
my son?

Peacock feather?

You forgot it?
Never mind. Not to worry.

Ten rupees please.

But Priest...

Step aside!


Let me through!


This is for you.

And this...

from Rajan.

I have been promoted at work.

They gave me a raise.

It pays a whole fifty rupees
per month more.

I have no news from...

I've had no news from Udai
since he left for Umrika.

Must be busy with work and all.

Miss you all terribly,
your son, Rajan.

Take it off!
How dare you!

I made it for Udai.

Go ahead, stuff your faces
like pigs.

I thought that maybe it was
something I had done.

Or that maybe you had
just forgotten us all.

But then as the months went by...

and still no letters came from you...

we finally allowed ourselves
to imagine things...

no one should ever have to
imagine about one of theirs.

Stop fooling around.
Make them bigger.

What are you waiting for?
Open it.

Here you go.

"I've taken a room. A small one.

A boy from Surat lives with me.

He never washes or takes a bath.

But he's a nice guy.

And he's become a good friend.

Oh and over here, the bathrooms
are bigger than even Lalu's hut.

You could fit two whole cots in one.

It is true what they say...

In Umrika, anything is possible."

How the world can change in a day.

The Cold War ended.

Walls came down...

and Gorbachov and Reagan...

finally made peace.

I knew then...

that the words on that blue letter
would change everything.

And I wanted to be a part of it.

W for well.

K for kite.

F for fruit.

E for electricity.

If it weren't for that letter, I might
never have learned how to read.

And Lalu might have been no
different from all the others.

But instead...

Who's the king?

I told you we shouldn't
have picked that loser.

Don't call him a loser.

Why doesn't he just
speak for himself?

What're you going
to do about it?

That's what I thought.

No way you're Udai's brother.

Sure, he's in Umrika.
With a big car.

And just look at you.

- I'll drive too one day, you'll see.
- Oh yeah?

He speaks! Wow!

The day you drive a car...

I'll flap my arms and fly
straight to Umrika.

Udai's brother... Loser!

- Loser!
- Shut up!

Let's go.

You know what?

His mother must have
shagged the barber...

to produce this idiot.


Silly. Stop with the nonsense.

Raju and Madan started it.

Who cares what Raju thinks?

He must be thirteen by now...

and still in class with
a bunch of babies.

Learn a little from
your brother.

Look how well he's doing over there.

Let him be. The boy is hurt.

Go ahead, spoil him some more.

What do you think?
He's going to end up in Umrika?

He won't even make it
as far as Haripur.

Just relax, my little illiterate.

When he grows up he'll understand.

As if you're some scholar.

Get it into your head -
the boy is no Udai.

Always interrupting with his...

That summer we heard Umrika won
94 medals at the Olympics.

While we here in India won...


Here, it can get so cold...

both hands and feet can freeze.

And so much ice falls from the skies
that it can cover an entire man.

But despite all that...

people here find ways to
keep themselves busy.

Nobody sits idle.

Be it man or woman.


My Udai! You see?

Time heals all.

Mother took comfort in knowing...

you were living a
bigger, better life.

- Open it.
- Hurry!

What is this?

Looks like an Umrikan pig to me.

From then on, your letters
came regularly.

Breathing life into our village.

Filling our hearts with joy.
And our bellies with dreams.

And in English, they call it...

United States of...



Now write.

These were the best years
of our lives.

Sucks it up?

Like that?

Just like that.

And your Udai sits on it?

No, of course not.

Just those white people.

Here come those weirdos again.

What a set of wheels.

"For the first time ever in Haripur..."

"...25 cents only, brothers..."

"A sight you've never seen before.
Full money-back guarantee."

Save the monkey!

Shut up and sit down!

Here everyone talks only of you.

Really Udai, from little
Jitvapur all the way to Umrika.

You have made both
Father and me so proud.

Much more than we could
have ever imagined.


Hey Rama!



May his life be as long as his height.

You'll all be happy to know that in Umrika,
we wrestle too.

Everybody does. Big men...

tiny men...

and even...

the women.

Why don't you understand?
This is not meat!

Our Udai would never eat meat,
my crazy one.

These are...

Umrikan carrots.
You see?

Soma? The Nepalese girl!
Did you know about this?

Stop making faces, it's perfectly safe.

This is an Umrikan sandwich.
My Udai eats it all the time.

Long live Mother Vaishnavi!

Hey kids!

May your mothers be
taken by thieves.

My clothes!

Come quickly! He's about to take it.

Make it a good one!


Looks good on you.

Just like your brother.

I'll take it.

- Is this what you're teaching our boy?
- Calm down.

Nepalese girls?

You should've seen
the way she looked at him.

I'll burn down the
village next time.

So your mother and I were having
a little chat the other day.

Seems your mind has begun to wander?

It happens, don't worry.

This is the age for it, no?

Happens to everyone.


You know your mother, don't you?

I know, baba, I know.

Only someone from our community.

That's my boy.

You know something?

When I told your grandma I was
going to marry your mother...

at first she laughed at me.

Then, the whole village laughed.

A woman like that and a guy like me...

I couldn't even believe it myself.

Such a beautiful woman.

Is there anyone like her?



Is everything alright?

Do you think he is eating well?

They have everything we
have and more.

You get everything there.

Except, of course, your bread.

That you won't find anywhere
in the world.




The electric cable was
lying on the ground.

He just didn't see it.

We couldn't do anything.

I've spoken to the boss.

He's a nice man.

But the losses have
been heavy this year..

And I'm not sure about the compensation.

But forget all that.

What matters most now is that
you take care of your mother.

These are his tools.

The eldest son should light
the funeral pyre.

Not you, Rama.

Get some rest.

It's not right.

Please, sleep now.

Don't worry, I'll find a way
to take care of you.

"Crowds have been gathering at
Teen Murthi house throughout the day."

"Many dignitaries have arrived to pay
their respects to the late Mrs. Gandhi."

What happened to my brother?

We searched a lot.

Rajan looked. So did Uncle Dheera.

All we know is that he went to see
this immigration guy...


But then...

he just...



Your father was worried
sick about your mother.

What could he have done?

He wanted to tell her, but...

You're sure about this?

He's my brother...

I need to find him.

And mother...

first Baba and now Udai.
She won't be able to take it.

And when she asks?

Say nothing.

Not a word about Udai
or the letters.

Tell her I've gone to see Rajan in
the city to earn some money.

And that I'll be back as soon as I can.



My mother won't miss it till
you're far and safe.

What is this?

Give this to Ma.

From Udai.

No, don't...

This is Uncle Dheera's letter.
It has Patel's address.

He was Udai's way over to Umrika.

If you want to find your
brother, go see him.

Be careful, okay?


Hey, Rama!

Bring me back one of those blondies.
From Umrika!

One with big boobs.

Postman never asked me,

neither did Lalu,

what I wrote to
Mother that night.

But I think you should know.

I wrote her about this very
special day in Umrika...

when everybody dresses up in costumes -
demons, monsters, dead people -

and the streets are brightly lit...

and filled with people.

Anyone can visit anyone and
just knock on their door.


And no matter what, they
get sweets in their bags.

Homes are lit up,

feasts are prepared,

and all the friends -

how generous and warm they are.

Because the future in Umrika
always looks bright.

I wrote her that I missed her.

That I was sorry
I couldn't be there with her.

And then I signed it with your name...



A kid from your village
is here.

Why did you leave your mother?

The whole world is going to hell.

Your mother needs you now.

I need to find my brother.

Let me tell you how something.

I've heard how it is
once they're in Umrika.

They work non-stop, forget all else.
Even their families.

"You must work if you want to
stay, that's the Umrikan way!"

Go home, it's the right thing to do.


I'm going to find him.

Even if I have to go all
the way over there.

Let's go.

I'll take you home.

Move aside, move aside...

I'm Gopi.


- I'm looking for this address.
- Patel?

Straight down, next left.

- Down this way and take the next left?
- Okay.

- You can't get in without his permission.
- But we've come all the way.

He won't see you without
an appointment.

- Sir, this is the third time...
- You're not listening.

Now get lost!

- Can we offer you something?
- What did you say?

Get the fuck out of here!

If I see you again
I'll break your legs!

Hey punk, move your ass.

Out of the way.

- What about the halwa?
- Yes.

You know how he is about that, right?

I know, chief...

Leave it inside.

Keep the change.

See you next time.


I'm here about a delivery job.

Mohan's Mithai is the biggest sweets
supplier in the city.

We supply all the big weddings,
birthdays, Diwali celebrations.

You know why?

Because our boys are the
smartest and fastest.

Do you own a bicycle?

Then what are you doing here?

Son, I've got a lot of
delivery boys already.

Come back in a few months, okay?

With a bike.

Gopi, pass me your glass.


One more glass.

You can't drink in here,
I told you before.

Lighten up, hot stuff.
Today is a special occasion.


Arun bhai's daughter.

More like Arun bhai's son.

She practically runs
this whole place.

A little out of
your league though.

Now that Pinky on the other hand...

All yours for the taking.

Let's get an early start tomorrow.

The customers waited too long today.

See you tomorrow at eight.

Get out of my way!

"I never asked for much. So why
do I have to keep hearing all this?"

"My child, you can't keep thinking about
all this and bring yourself down."

"They stopped me from studying."

"I was forbidden to find a job."

"If marriage is the only
way to get ahead..."

"Then why waste all this time?
I should have been out on the streets..."

"begging strangers for my dowry."

You can't even do
one thing properly!

I told you to pay attention, didn't I?

- Instead you lose the bike!
- I'll find it.

What good is that?

You know what damage
you've done?

What could I do?
It was outside the shop.

Someone stole it.


What's up with that weirdo
and his letters?

The way Mr. Patel likes it.
Extra cardamom, less sugar.

I've heard in Umrika there's
this thing called calories.

It makes them all fat as balloons.

And they put it in all their food.

Kind of like our ghee.

Don't you dare say a word!

Look at your daughter...

Bloody drunkard! You
should be ashamed!

Look at your
daughter's condition.

What kind of a father are you?

She works all day like a mule.

At least have some respect for her.

Are you done?

Now listen.


I can't deliver.

The boss is coming.

Send some other kid.

You little shits can't
do one thing right!

I'll deliver it for you.

- I don't want any trouble.
- There won't be any.

Just put it in the post box.



When you get back
this will be waiting for you.


Yes sir.

Hey Jitvapur!

Come on... Hurry up!

This isn't a public phone.

Who is this?



Rama, it's me, your uncle
from Haripur.


So you got my letters.

How is ma?

She is well.

No worries.

Udai's money and
letters keep coming.

Good, it's as much
as I can right now...

Rama -

everything is fine, nothing
to worry about.

What, then?

It's just that...

She wonders why you don't write to her.

Send her a few words, OK?

Anyway, I must go. Now that
I've heard your voice...

I'm relieved.
Don't worry, everything is fine here.

Okay, I'm going now.
Take care.

Does he sound alright?

So what is our Udai
up to these days?

You tell me.

They play this over there.


You're sending this to your Ma?

And this one?

Do they going eat it?

No, this animal tells them the weather.
But just once a year.

Maybe they eat it afterwards.


And people call us illiterate.

Almost forgot.

This is for the rent.


Where did you get this?

Delivering sweets.

- Sweets?
- It's my job.

It's tips.

Since when do deliveries
pay like that? And the bike?

Let me go!

Whatever you are
doing, it stops now.

If you need money,
you come to me.


Can I take a look?

I have lots more.

These are just some of my favorites.


My brother.

These are from him?

He's in Umrika?

Strange, these Umrikans.

Oh, New York.

Have you been?


But I will... sometime.



Very rare.

They have many in Umrika.

This isn't a bloody hotel.
You can't just show up like this!

So I'm the only one to
miss out on all the fun?

Two days here will
set you straight!


What are you doing here?

Thought I'd let you have
all the fun to yourself?

What a surprise!

I was thrown out.

Kicked out by my dear father.
Said it was time I...

"...learn to be a man", "earn a living",
"get off your ass".

Now I'm officially Rajan's problem.

He always this grumpy?

You have no idea.

I brought these for you.

Hurry up, idiot!

Look, that's Patel.

Rama, we shouldn't be here.

Gopi, did you put
something in my box?

What box?

Here... take this.

Got another one for you.

You'll take care of it?


Looking for something?

What is it?

It's from Bhima.

Wait here.

- Sir, there's a package.
- Who brought it?

Some new kid Bhima sent.

That moron...

Patel would be furious.

Another lot leaves for
Umrika in a few days.

- I know, I'm sorry.
- He should know better.

I'll get rid of him immediately.

Let's go.

Off you go.

Come on.

Shouldn't have messed
around with Patel.

Sir, we didn't.

We didn't say anything to anyone.
You have to believe us.

Please just listen to us...

- Please listen.

Is it done?

Good, good, good...

This here...

All for you.

There's something else
you can do for me.

I want to meet Patel.

Want to tell me what's wrong?

I'm starting to think that maybe
something happened to...

Look. I'm not sure
what's going on with you.

But whatever it is...
it's not doing you any good.

Five minutes.


He's in one of his moods.

I'd be careful.

You se the size of that guy?
Let's get out of here.

What is it that you want?

Sir... We're from
Mohan's Sweet Shop.

Good halwa.

Best in the whole city.

Damn machine isn't working.

Others might disagree, but...

I love it when you can taste
the cardamom.

Sir, if only we had known,
we could have brought you some.

Don't patronize me, boy.

Get to the point.

Sir, how does one get to New York...

I see. Would you prefer
Air India or Pan Am?

Maybe a stop-over in London?

Do I look like a
bloody travel agent?



All in cash.

Don't waste my time.

Do you have it?


Not right now.

Fuck off, then.

Fuck off, fuck off.

Get out of here.

Out of here!


I talked too much.

At least we know more.

About what?


We know what Patel and
Udai talked about -

Umrika and what it costs to get there.

Yeah, all we know is the
guy has one hell of a sweet tooth.

And he's a prick.

Maybe we'd know more if
you'd kept your mouth shut.

Fucked up all my hard work.

I'm off.

What's this I'm hearing from Rajan
about all your money?

What's in all those
packets you're delivering?

This Umrika...

This whole Udai thing,
the letters, the lies...

- It's messing you up.
- What should I do?

I don't have a choice.

I have to finish what baba started.

"Finish what baba started".


How about living your
own life for a change?

The Udai you're doing this for...

We don't even know if he's alive...

Lalu, I...

Forget it.

Let's move on.


- Lalu!
- What?

"At 11:39 AM EST this morning, the
Challenger Space Shuttle exploded..."

"...killing all seven astronauts on board."

"Messages of condolence have begun
pouring in from across the globe."

"It is truly a sad day for Umrika."

Where's Rajan?

Late shift. Again.

Rubbish, he's probably
watching Hum Log.

"In the next episode...

you'll see grandpa's love story.

Until then, stay tuned to Hum Log."

Or he's getting cosy with some girl
and doesn't want us knowing.

What happened?

Are you and your father close?

My father's gone.

Passed away just before
I left Jitvapur.

Now it's just Ma and me.
And my brother.

Ma says...

I'm like my father.
And Udai's more like her.

Maybe it's true.

When she was young, her uncle...

left their village for Umrika.

He was gone for many years.

But when he came back,
he had all this money...

and all these fancy gifts for
them they'd never seen before.

He paid for my parents' wedding.

Since then...

She thinks Umrika is the
best thing in the world.

When Udai told her he had
a job offer from there...

I'd never seen her
that happy before.

It's the only time she ever
let him out of her sight.

You okay?

Tell me more about Umrika.

You know how we have
centimeters right?

Theirs are much bigger.

Everything there is bigger.

Buildings, roads, fruits.

Even the people.

And then, there's this day...

where everyone eats
this special bird.

Everyone in the whole country.

I even think it's the law.

What's so special
about the bird?

Nothing! Not a patch on
our peacocks, if you ask me.

Then why?

It's in honor of their ancestors.

That's why it's so special.

But the part I don't
understand is:

The President of the country...

picks just one of the birds...

and they let that one live.

And then...

it's on TV and in all
the newspapers.

And the bird becomes famous,
as famous as our Dharmender or Jitender.

Damn foreigners!
Don't hurt brother Amrish!

You should've seen his face.
- "Lalu the langur"

Come on, let's go.

You'll see each other
soon enough.

- Not a word.
- I said nothing.

You've gotten quite chatty lately.

Suits you quite well actually,
you sly Romeo.

About the other day...

Forget it. What's done is done.


You were right, I know that now.


And thank you.

For what?

The money.

You didn't have to,
I'll ask next time.

What money?

You know...

Really, I don't.

Why don't you ask Rajan?

Always poking around
in your box...

Who knows what that grump is up to?

Okay, I'm off.


Rama, stop!

You're sure?

You know...

Today I heard that...

the ladies over there
all wear pants.

Who knows what the men wear?

I was just thinking
that maybe...

your brother is better off over here.


A barber? Here?

Couldn't you have been a barber in...

...Chicago or Boston?

It's in Umrika.

What else could I have done?

She would never have let me leave.

- I had to get away.
- So you lied to us?

And what about us?

Do you have any idea
what we had to go through?

I never asked you to.

I couldn't stay, Rama.

You wouldn't understand, Mother...

Mother what?

Loved you too much?

- I wish I could make you see.
- Then do it.

Explain yourself.

Rama, you should go home.

It's not safe for you here.


What about Patel?

How do you think I got my shop?

I've been where you are.

And it took me a long
time to get out.

I can't let that happen to you.

Don't even start!

After all the years, you're
suddenly worried about me?


How is Ma?

She thinks you're in Umrika...

making a huge success of yourself.

And Father?

Rajan never told you?

He died.

Look at this nonsense.

It's complicated.

Silly is what it is. Silly.

Umrika, my ass.

What do they have
that we don't?

Look at this.

You're not going to tell me
these dogs are better than ours?

It's his thing.

Just leave him alone.

And this...

This is no Sridevi.

I told you...

It's complicated.

Ever since we were kids,
this is all he's ever known.

If, back home, they ever found
out all this was a lie,

their whole family would
be shamed forever.

Glad you liked it.
I'll see you next time.

I'm glad you came.

All those letters, the years,

all we believed in,

all Mother's dreams -

it can't all be a lie.

I won't let it.

If you won't make this
right, then I will.

I'll call you back, doctor.

Where are you going?

Boss, I didn't...

It's okay.


I'm not going to ask
where this comes from.

We've discussed
all this already.

Two days.

Is there a problem?

Look... you won't have a lot of time.

As soon as we inform you,
you have to leave.

You have my word.
That's how it works.


Where are you from?



I'm exhausted.

Have you eaten already?

I'm leaving.

How about dessert?

There's some kulfi left. I'll look...

I'm going to Umrika.



Wherever I am... I'll write to you.

I'll buy a camera.
The one that we saw.

I'll send you photos
of everything.

Hollywood... The White House...

That mountain with
all the faces.

It'll be like you're
right there with me, Radhika.

I need to do this.

To Ramakant.

Take care of yourself there.

And don't forget us.

Especially when you're
loaded with U.S. dollars.


Why the hell is that camera here?

I got you that job,
have some respect.


This is for you.

What's this?

Look at it later. When I'm gone.

Remember the match against Haripur?

I could barely walk.

But I remember it clearly.

Lalu's father was such a...

bundle of nerves.

He had money riding
on it of course.

And Postman was in a royal fix:

belongs to Haripur, but his
heart's with Jitvapur.

and the priest...

mumbling away with his
mantras as usual.

From Rajan's mother to the driver,
the whole village was on edge.

Even the lambs jumped
fence to catch a glimpse.

You scored a Century that day.

They still talk about it in Jitvapur.

"King Ram's moustache
was thick and strong"

"He combed and oiled
it till it was long."

It's not right.

You can't leave like this.

No, it's not right.

There's one last thing.

Get up! Camera! Come on, move it!


Get the bill!


Get the bill!

One last thing.

Blondies... Big boobs...

Are you coming to bed?

I'll be there...

in a bit.

Did you tell him about us?

Not yet.

One day I will.

When you left Jitvapur, my brother...

I was only a child.

Six years, maybe seven.

And who would have guessed things
would turn out this way?

I know that the streets
of Umrika will be big...

and bright,

and filled with people.

Each day will be special.

Because after all of
this, it must be.

Come on... move it.


And the friends, my brother...

Bhima! Hurry up! generous and
warm they will be.

Because the future in Umrika
is always bright.

I wish I could tell Mother...

how much I will miss her,

that I'm sorry I won't
be there with her.

All the things I should
have told her before.

Your brother,


Good to see you back with us, Udai.
After all these years.

I meant to ask you...

where are you from again?

Jitvapur, sir.

You know, a young boy showed
up in my office a few days ago.

He was from Jitvapur too.

He's in that container now.

Bhima tells me you borrowed
200,000 from us a few days ago.

That'll take a long time
to work off, Udai.

You know that, don't you?

A very long time.

I know, sir.


Put your arm around him.


Don't be so stiff. Smile please.

That's it.

Good, it's all good.