Amidst moving homes, a superstitious Indian-American girl struggles to bury her pet bird in fear of it coming to haunt her.

Director’s Vision for ‘Birdsong’

Much like how he approached his life, my grandfather approached his death with a strict discipline. On his death bed, with sparse yet stern words, he declared he must be taken at the time of his death straight to a pyre and cremated. There was to be no loitering around.

My relationship with my grandfather was a distant one. Immigrating to the US at age two, I grew up just learning about him through my parents. My mother, whom my grandfather denied my father from marrying, obviously had a sullied opinion of him.

It wasn’t until his life was in its final stretch that I started to form my own opinion of my grandfather. I was an adult by that time and had already spent twenty one years of my life hiding my family’s heritage deep in the shadow of the American lifestyle I wanted to be a part of. But my conversations with my grandfather at the end of his life slowly changed my own perspective on how I viewed my identity. In the final conversation I had with him, he told me to thank my mother for raising all of us the way we were. He was now finally embracing what he had pushed away his entire life.

It wasn’t until his death that I had the ability to connect with something I too had been pushing away. Feeling closer to him brought me closer to appreciating what I was deathly embarrassed by – my heritage.

This film came out of twenty two years of struggle to connect with my identity. It’s about the misunderstanding and embarrassment that second generation immigrants can feel towards their heritage. It’s about the importance of preserving your culture throughout cultural assimilation.

This story is for my parents, for my grandparents, and for my community. With this film I aim to show how understanding your heritage, no matter how far removed it may be, will help shape the identity you’re struggling to define.