Films & Schedules

  • Sam and Me

  • Deepa Mehta

English, Hindi
94 minutes

Production Company:
Sunrise Films Limited
Executive Producer:
Paul Saltzman, Steve Levitan
Deepa Mehta, Robert Wertheimer
Ranjit Chowdhry
Production Designer:
Lisa Del Rosario, Richard Paris
Guy Dufaux
Boyd Bonitzke
Brian Day, John Megill
Mark Korven
Principal Cast: Ranjit Chowdhry, Peter Boretski, Om Puri, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Jolly Bader

Thursday September 1107:00PM JACKMAN HALL - AGO Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

“Sam Cohen (Peter Boretski) can't stand his family. He's old, he's cranky, he's too clever for his own good. And he can't understand why his son Morris won't let him return to Israel to die. The last thing he needs is some toadying babysitter to keep him out of trouble. Enter Nikhil, who arrives from India full of hope and dreams, looking forward to working with his uncle in Morris's hospital-supply business and pocketing some of the promised land's big money. What he gets is Sam, and Sam doesn't want him around any more than Nikhil wants to chase after some geriatric troublemaker. It's the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

“With Sam and Me, director Deepa Mehta and screenwriter Ranjit Chowdhry (also playing Nikhil) have brought to the screen one of the warmest, most complex relationships in recent memory. Probing beyond the clichés of cross-cultural encounters, they've captured the texture of two of Toronto's ethnic communities with unerring skill. Theirs is a triumph of grace and wit, using small but significant details to paint portraits of life among recently arrived working-class immigrants and their settled, suburban counterparts. Made with passion and warmth, Sam and Me is one of the new breed of Toronto stories – true to its setting, faithful to its characters, and above all, a generous, genuinely funny movie.”

– Festival of Festivals programme book, 1991

An important example of David Overbey's commitment to encouraging emerging talent, his support for Deepa Mehta's Sam and Me helped the film to be selected for the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. It went on to receive an honourable mention for the Caméra d'Or and introduced the world to a unique and deeply humanist Canadian voice, one that examined the immigrant experience and multiculturalism through the tensions between tradition and individuality. Since then, Deepa Mehta has continued to examine these themes, creating an illustrious body of work. Her films have been shot and set both in Canada and India, and have received international acclaim (including an Academy Award® nomination). Mehta has also continued to explore diverse aspects of the Indo-Canadian immigrant experience, both in the joyous box-office smash Bollywood/Hollywood and in her powerful new film, Heaven on Earth.

Allen Braude

Deepa Mehta was born in Amritsar, India, and studied philosophy at the University of New Delhi before immigrating to Canada. Her feature debut, Sam and Me (91), received a special mention in the Caméra d'Or competition at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. After directing Camilla (94), she started on her elemental trilogy about India. She completed Fire (96) and Earth (98) before returning to Canada to make Bollywood/Hollywood (02) and The Republic of Love (03) while production on Water (05) was suspended due to protests. Heaven on Earth (08), which is screening in this Festival, is her most recent film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award