Pagg (2018) – Short

A patriotic and hardworking American, struggles to find peace when his religious beliefs and heritage make him a target for hate.  This “day in the life” of Mandeep, played by writer and director Nardeep Khurmi, takes us into the mindset of one of the most stereotyped groups in America.  Pagg focuses on the fear, prejudice, and anger surrounding the toxic culture in our society.

Plot

Pagg begins by focusing on the aspects of Mandeep’s personality through his family dynamic and work ethic.  At first glance he seems no different than your average American living his life.  It is not until we begin to see the interactions he has with those around him that we begin to see the significant ways in which his experience differs.

He is repeatedly forced to explain and defend his beliefs and attire.  From getting stared at by strangers to being overlooked by his employers; Mandeep is tirelessly grappling with being different.

Mandeep’s attention is captured early in the film by breaking news about a hate crime.  The crime’s persistence through the film transforms his jovial demeanor to indignation.  The anger, isolation, and prejudice that he feels continues to grow as the film progresses.

Hate & Sacrifice

Nardeep Khurmi did an excellent job crafting and executing this film.  He skillfully explores a wide range of emotions and themes through several different lenses. By focusing on Mandeep’s experience in a bustling city, we are able to see how diverse his interactions can be and how they all come together to tell a larger story of prejudice.

The comprehensive story line not only gives depth to Mandeep’s character, but to most of the characters he interacts with throughout the film.  Nardeep Khurmi is able to show the struggle between American patriotism and Sikh heritage, sacrifice and pride, and love and hate.  Even though Mandeep is passionately patriotic, he is still rooted in his heritage.  The idea that someone could straddle both of those ideals is clearly something that some people struggle with.  This can be seen throughout the film as well as on news stories every day in our current climate and culture in America.

Even when he makes every effort to show his patriotism, it is for naught.  The fact that he works for a advertising agency, shows how ingrained he is in American culture and the fact that he is working on patriotic themed product on the 4th of July only further hammers that point in to the viewer.   Mandeep is clearly not someone who is plotting the downfall of the American way, if anything he is trying to contribute to and honor the beauty that American ideals can embody.

Our country’s diverse makeup creates an ambivalent stew that incorporates love, hate, prejudice, pride, fear, empathy, and every other emotion and trait of humanity, for better or for worse.  Films like Pagg are important so that we can keep our finger on the barometer and keep ourselves in check.  We are no where near ridding this country from racially motivated hate and violence.  It seems like we may be taking two steps forward, one step back.  Although, at times it seems like one step forward and two steps back.

I am glad there are filmmakers out there able to articulate challenging and important material.  The concise way in which Nardeep Khurmi is able to tell this tragic story is as impressive as it is powerful.


Rating: ♣♣♣♣♣

Directed by: Nardeep Khurmi

Cinematography: Christopher Low

Written by: Nardeep Khurmi

Edited by: Nardeep Khurmi

Starring: Nardeep Khurmi and Nicole Pacent

Runtime: 17m

Genre: Drama, Short

Production By: Danger Noodle

Featured at Breckenridge Film Festival

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