When a new father suddenly loses his own dad, an opportunity to travel back in time for an evening gives him a chance to end things on a better note.
“Desi Standard Time Travel” is an opportunity to craft the kind of grounded, human South Asian Canadian stories I love to tell, enhancing it with a genre element that makes it even more accessible. I’m inspired by juxtapositions of the ordinary and extraordinary in British films from “About Time” and “Yesterday” to the most grounded episodes of “Doctor Who” that use fantastical plot devices to tell deeply human stories. The composition, rhythm, and locations of this short further juxtaposes the ordinary and extraordinary. Our “time travel agency” is the type of plain, everyday Indian travel agency you see everywhere in Surrey or Brampton. The production design of our basement suite transports us back to the 1990s with a warm nostalgia. This will feel like the Brampton we know and love, but that we have rarely seen portrayed with a loving lens. Performance, cinematography and production design are the keystones of this film. It isn’t big VFX or futuristic sets selling the premise, it’s how the lead actor carries himself, allowing the audience in while still putting up a front for the other characters. And for our actors living in the “past” to play a balance of wistful innocence and grounded humanity. Our life insurance agent and her time traveller nephew are our comic relief, delivering unbelievable exposition like the most normal thing in the world. I love talking about the South Asian Canadian community through intergenerational narratives. The experiences of my generation’s immigrant parents offer a fascinating perspective, not a punchline for us to hold up as some foreign punching bag. This film also represents a chance to tell a personal story about a Muslim family for the first time in my career, expanding the perspective of South Asian Canadians in a humanizing way that has never felt more important.