Amma & Appa is Tamil for “Mother & Father“. This film tells the story of my (Franziska) and Jay’s parents, of their first meeting and getting acquainted. They are about the same age and married, for more than thirty years. These two couples come from very different cultures – but Jay and I have fallen in love, and our wish to get married has brought the two families together in an astonishing manner. After a two- year long-distance relationship, we’ve finally persuaded our parents to meet each other. The journey begins in the south of Germany, in Bavaria, where my parents make their decision to travel to Tamil Nadu. Jay escorts his future parents-in-law to his home in Cuddalore, a small but typical town in the south of India, 170 km from the metropolis Chenai.
For my parents, it’s the first visit to India, and for the Indian parents it will be the first encounter with foreigners. While my parents married out of love, the marriage of Jay’s parents was entirely traditionally arranged. It was thus a great shock to Jay’s parents to learn that their son now wished to marry out of love. And what is more: a white girl from Germany. His decision challenged their traditions and their faith.
Against this background, our film unfolds its story. It presents this confrontation against a backdrop of cultural boundaries and a search for the roots that might define our love. And it raises the question, what makes it all work – love, affection and living together. Through our investigation and observation of the interaction of our parents, toward and with each other, Jay and I aimed to build our own relationship for the future, and to learn from these encounters and the mistakes of our parents. What is the secret of a successful relationship? How can a couple live together so happily for so many years? How do our parents and their experience influence us, their children?
Directed by Franziska Schonenberger & Jayakrishnan Subramanian
English/German/Tamil, 89 minutes, 2014, Germany