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“Marriages in Heaven”: A Documentary Presented by YKCC

by Stephen Margelony-Lajoie

On November 14, the YKKC (Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center) showcased “Marriages in Heaven”, the first film in their Cultural Documentary Film Series. The documentary, produced by Annada D. Rathi, discussed the very much alive tradition of arranged marriages in American-Indian culture and also brought up the topic of the rising acceptance of “love marriages”, which is basically the standard of marriage in the United States. The film showed the stories of different Indian couples and their experiences with both marriage and Indian family values. The couples in the film that did go through the process of arranged marriage surprised its audience because their circumstances went beyond our misconceptions. The arranged marriages weren’t forced upon the couples shown in the film. In fact, every single couple made it perfectly clear that the final decision to marry their “arranged” partner lay in their hands. However, the process of screening potential spouses was described as a long, drawn out and complicated process that took months, not to mention that the couples were only allowed to meet each other a few times before deciding if they would spend the rest of their lives together.

The other topic that the film discussed was the rising acceptance of love marriages, which is the most popular ideal of marriage for non-Indian Americans where two people marry out of love for each other. The film shined a positive light on both love marriages and arranged marriages, which although got rid of some misconceptions about the arranged marriages it did fail to look at the negative aspects of them. This was the only area where the documentary failed to deliver but it still leads to a lot of unanswered questions such as “What are the negative effects of arranged marriages?” and “Are there marriages that are still forced on Indian-Americans and Indians?” Still, the YKCC presented an interesting and educating film that brought up a topic that is rarely discussed in the United States.

*Image shown taken from the film*