We thank you for considering Ocean of Pearls for teaching at your institution.
Ocean of Pearls is the story of a young Canadian doctor. As a Sikh man, Amrit Singh is often the target of racial profiling. But when he sees his dreams of becoming chief of Transplant Surgery dwindle because of his appearance, Amrit goes against a tradition and cuts his hair. Hiding his decision from his girlfriend and family is only the start of a series of compromises Amrit finds himself making as he battles with health care injustices. When one of his patients die, Amrit begins to re-examine the values he has turned his back on.
The film was a labor of love and it took 10 years to make as I am also a practicing physician in Michigan. I had always been fascinated with cinema since I was a young boy growing up in India and Canada. Growing up as a Sikh in Canada, I didn't know where I belonged and there were many questions in my mind about fitting in and the purpose of life. We were certainly misunderstood as Sikhs with our unique identity. After 9/11 there have been many hate crimes against our community because of mistaken identity. I say this in light of the fact that no one should be targeted for hate crimes.
I was both surprised and delighted when a high school class in Midwest America picked Ocean of Pearls among many other films to see in a film festival screening. They loved the film. Since then it has been used in several high schools in the metro Detroit area as well. This enriches the students' experience and broadens their perspective as we are living in an increasingly diverse society.
The film is also being shown to medical students in Virginia in their ethics teachings. After seeing the film, a viewer had written to me that he "was shaking and could not sleep thinking about all the compromises" he had made in his life.
The film resonates with people of all races and religions, old and young and men and women because the values that bind us as humanity are same everywhere. I hope the film is an inspiration for all.
Sarab S. Neelam