A thesis film dramatizing the problem of aging family members abandoned by their children, Gul Bahar Singh’s “The Adopted” is a well-acted, relatively restrained drama that could appeal to offshore vid audiences through its hero, a businessman who has lived in the U.S. for 15 years and who returns to India a virtual stranger. Written in the sprawling Indian narrative style, it is too cinematically unadventurous to hop aboard the fest circuit.
His letters unanswered, Sunil (Rajit Kapur) returns to Calcutta intending to bring his estranged father to live with him in America, but discovers the old man has vanished from his home a year ago. The trail leads him across modern India from Calcutta to Benares and Bombay. Every meeting with his past saddles the repentant prodigal son with fresh guilt, which he assuages in a nicely unexpected ending. Kapur is convincing as a successful man who feels he’s lost something in his life (he rather too obviously is reading Alex Haley’s “Roots”), and Anjan Srivastava is a complex father figure, unable to accept his children’s decisions.
Scissorwork, especially on the finale, would give pic more punch.