CALORIE follows three generations of women whose present and past lives collide during an emotionally packed summer trip in India.
MONIKA is sleepless and stressed out, getting woken up by low flying aircraft every night. It doesn’t help that sheʼs a single mother of two teens who are making her life hell. Her 13 year old ALIA is calorie-obsessed, her 17 year old SIMI is a boy-obsessed. After some coaxing from her aunt and uncle in India, Monika sends her girls to stay with them for the summer thinking Indian cultural rehab might set the North American teens straight. It’ll also give Monika much needed rest and space to wrangle with her own inner demons.
The girls leave Montreal kicking and screaming, and arrive in the dizzying heat and frenzy of the Sikh holy city of Amritsar like fish out of water. Alia freaks out, unable to calculate the calories of greasy Indian food and Simi would rather be back home with her boyfriend than outfitted in “modest” Punjabi salwar kameez. Aunty GURDEEP and uncle MOHAN have their hands full. The old couple patiently set about giving the girls some hilarious lessons in Indian culture. Mohan, a poet and scholar, forms a bond with Alia, making her see beyond the calories and ignites the “fire” in her soul. And Simi befriends FAROD, a proudly gay Sikh who encourages Simi to embrace her fierce self.
Meanwhile Monika is going out of her mind, trying to fix what cannot be fixed: the past. A past sheʼs kept hidden from her daughters. Sheʼs flooded with memories of her mother DALBIR on the anniversary her death. Their bond was unshakable, until Monikaʼs teenaged rebelliousness and Dalbirʼs turn towards her faith drove a wedge between mother and daughter—one that led to tragic results.
When Monika finally arrives in India with her heart on her sleeve, she receives a cold welcome from her girls who feel abandoned by her. Monika also learns that her uncle Mohan has already told them about their grandmother who they discover was killed in terrorist attack. In an attempt to regain their trust, Monika makes a shocking confession. But her admission comes too late. Alia is back to calorie counting and Simi discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating and blames her mother for separating them. Monika grapples to regain control. Then her uncle drops startling news that makes her question everything about her past.
105 minutes, colour, English, Punjabi
Writer, director Eisha Marjara
Producer Joe Balass