“Mein, Mehmood” is a film that is dedicated to the life of hardworking immigrants all over the world.
Through the happenstances in the life of one such immigrant, the film talks about the deep identity crises arising in people from the subcontinent, from their inability to read, write or speak the English language and the subsequent socioeconomic effects of this.
The film traces the life of Mehmood, a simple middle-aged immigrant from the Indian subcontinent who like many others from his generation has left his home for the Middle East, to provide a better life for his family.
A tele-caller with a tourism company that is badly hit by the pandemic, Mehmood, struggles to meet monthly sales targets of converting random strangers into potential customers. His inability to converse fluently in English severely limits his ability to converse with potential clients, thus putting his job in jeopardy. Meanwhile, thousands of km away, back home, Mehmood’s wife waits for him to send some money home for their daughter’s education.
Through Mehmood, we can feel the agony of hundreds and thousands around the world whose access to leading a respectable life gets inhibited due to their inability of learning a particular language.
The title of the film, “Mein Mehmood”, loosely translating to “I am Mehmood” almost ironically points out their search for an identity in an ever-changing world where they are unable to even properly emote in words to a wider audience.
Thus, what remains inside is a scream waiting to come out.
Growing up in the 90s in India was like being in a potpourri of different cultures. The advent of cable TV brought the entire world to the living room for most people who could afford a TV. Slowly, watching western pop culture, songs, sports and educational programmes largely promulgated in the English language became an integral part of life.
Thus, the familiarity with the English language became so ubiquitous that a large generation of children even started thinking as clearly in English as in their respective mother tongues.
Little did I realize then, that this was not so for a humungous number of people and the answer lay in the socioeconomic divisions in a still-developing country with the size of a subcontinent.
Although, by and large, children like me, who lived in the urban areas, picked up the English language with great elan and fluency opening economic corridors hither-tho unseen in previous generations, there were a greater number of people who remained behind, so to speak, with little or no cognizance of the English language, thus creating a divide visible in the quality of life led by them vis-a-vis the ones who were fluent in the language. Many of these people who were left behind, would then leave the country to pursue blue-collar jobs in developing countries in order to get a better life.
“Mein, Mehmood”, shot entirely in Dubai, is a tribute to all those who were “left behind” just by not putting enough effort into learning a language whether by circumstance or intention.
It is genuinely a very honest effort over a span of 36 hours, with the shoot spanning real locations as we wanted to be very authentic to the script and the visuals.