USA: Lemon Tree Films
Cast: Dimple Kapadia, Amol Mhatre, Deepti Naval, Vinod Khanna, Gulshan Grover, Brendan Hughes, Kelly Gunning, Garrett Devereux, Kyle Erby, Michelle Van Wagner, Sarayu Rao, Partha Dey, Sandeep Walia
Director: Somnath Sen
USA: 97 mins
USA Release Date: 8 November 2002 (Limited Release)
LEELA is a heart-warming story of two strangers whose paths in life cross and they walk together for a while.
Watching the dying embers of her mother’s funeral pyre, Leela (Dimple Kapadia) questions her life - setting in motion events that change her irrevocably. She travels to America as a visiting professor, leaving her ‘perfect’ life behind. She thrives in the American university environment - traveling the campus in cotton saris, wearing her Indian identity on her sleeve.
Kris (born Krishna) (Amol Mhatre), a young Indian-American, is a product of a single-parent home. Distanced from his Indian heritage, Kris is more American than his American buddies. With a hovering mother, and a father of convenience, Kris is uncomfortable in his own skin.
Kris takes Leela’s South Asian history class. When Kris discovers his mother has kept dark secrets from him, he finds comfort in his friendship with Leela. Kris is mesmerized by Leela’s quiet dignity and they develop a strong bond. Leela opens Kris to a world beyond black and white and, in turn Kris pushes Leela to crystallize the greys in her own life. She begins to scrutinize afresh her crumbling marriage to world-renowned poet, Nashaad (Vinod Khanna). Nashaad’s philandering ways have slowly worn down Leela’s unconditional, unquestioning love for him.
Things come to a head when Nashaad, realising Leela’s growing disenchantment, tries to reconnect with her. He fights to keep his love - unleashing a storm that turns everyone’s lives upside down.