A Quirky Personal Story About Three Generations of Family Dynamics, Love and Heartbreak in ‘About Love,’ Premiering Monday, August 10, 2020
Three generations of the Phadke family live together in their ancestral home in South Mumbai. When director Archana Atul Phadke, the youngest daughter and unmarried at 32, turns the camera toward her family, the personal becomes political as power structures within the family become visible—and eventually unravel. Cruel and comic in equal measure, About Love examines the vagaries of affection across generations.
About Love makes its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS documentary series POV and pov.org on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). The film was an official selection at the 2019 Mumbai Film Festival and won the New Talent Award for Best Film at the 2019 Sheffield New Doc Festival.
Now in its 33rd season, POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series.
Filmed over three years, the intimate and often funny About Love captures the rhythms of the ever-busy Phadke household as they prepare for the wedding of Archana’s brother Rohan to his fiancé Gurbani. Growing up, Archana noticed the disparities between men and women in “good traditional marriages,” but felt it was normal since she and her siblings had happy childhoods. However, as an adult, she realized that the pain and sacrifices women make to be a "good wife" in a patriarchal structure has contributed to her aversion to the institution of marriage; much to the chagrin of her parents.
“While this film has always been resonant and humorous, as so many of us face family drama (whether chosen family or by blood) in close quarters during COVID, its relevance is heightened,” said Justine Nagan, executive director of American Documentary and one of POV’s executive producers. “We are so proud to bring Archana’s personal, and yet universal, directorial debut to American audiences on POV. It’s a gem.”
“Through the film, I hope I can create a space for conversation and introspection for both men and women, across generations, to look inwards and try and respect each other’s choices,” said Archana Atul Phadke, Director of About Love. “Right now [in Indian culture], we are going through a climate where there is a growing nuanced discourse about socialization of women in different aspects of society,” said Archana. “ Various institutions, and gender roles within them, are being scrutinized. I feel that looking at ‘a family unit’ and gender roles embedded in it is an important step in sensitization and furthering the conversation about gender roles in society. As a young Indian woman, in making the choice of not getting married, I’m already seen as a sort of deviation from the norm. Luckily, I have a family, which is supportive of my choices.”
In About Love, Archana introduces the members of her family: her ill-tempered, 87-year-old grandfather Madhav who is partially deaf, sick and frequently snaps at his family; her grandmother, Madhav's long suffering wife Neela also in her eighties, who unendingly tends to her ailing, chauvinistic husband’s needs; her father Atul, a large, proud boisterous 52-year-old man who runs the family’s jewelry business and has been married for 33 years; and her mother Maneesha, a stoic, highly educated woman whose adult life has been devoted to being the perfect middle class housewife and mother although she harbors feelings of unspoken regrets.
As Archana reveals the interpersonal dynamics between her parents Maneesha and Atul and her grandparents Neela and Madhav viewers discover how each family member views the other and the building blocks that keep the eccentric family together. Through the lens of the camera, Archana comes to terms with her own feelings regarding marriage and the often-ineffable nature of blood ties.
About the Filmmakers
Archana Atul Phadke, Director/Producer
Archana was a Berlinale Talent Campus 2017 alumni. Beside “About Love”, she has produced and edited feature-length documentaries such as “Placebo” and “Raghu Rai, An Unframed Portrait”. “Placebo” premiered at IDFA 2014, where it won the jury nomination for Best Film in First Appearance Category, and was screened at Hot Docs Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival and has secured a worldwide Netflix acquisition.
Abhay Kumar, Producer
Abhay Kumar is a filmmaker, TED fellow and teacher from India. In 2011, Abhay’s hybrid short “Just that Sort of Day” became the first Indian animation film to compete at the Tribeca Film Festival, won the Best Film at Busan, Regensburg, and NYIFF, got 200 screenings at Centre Pompidou Museum, and picked up National Award in India. In 2014, Abhay’s hybrid feature documentary “Placebo” premiered at IDFA, winning the Best First Appearance. In 2016, Abhay was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus.
A Storyteller Ink Production
Running time: 90 minutes
Languages: Marathi, English
Featuring Madhav Phadke, Neela Phadke, Atul Phadke, Maneesha Phadlke, Rohan Phadke, Gurbani Bagga Phadke, Sagarika Phadke, Lali Phadke and Sushila Bai
Director: Archana Atul Phadke
Executive Producer: Ilkka Vehkalahti, Don Edkins, Amelia Hapsari
Producer: Archana Atul Phadke, Abahy Kumar
Writer: Archana Atul Phadke
Cinematographer: Archana Atul Phadke
Editor: Archana Atul Phadke, Abhay Kumar
Music: Shane Mendonsa
Executive Producers for POV: Justine Nagan, Chris White
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. It's on POV where American television audiences were introduced to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, The Act of Killing and American Promise and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Nanfu Wang, and Laura Poitras. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries. Over a generation, POV has championed accessibility and innovation in nonfiction storytelling. POV Engage works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present hundreds of free screenings every year, inspiring dialogue around today's most pressing social issues. The series' interactive arm, POV Spark, creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling and programming, redefining U.S. public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers.
POV films and projects have won 38 Emmy Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film.
About American Documentary, Inc.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Acton Family Giving, Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Charitable Trust, Park Foundation, Sage Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.