The documentary “My Home India” pays tribute to little-known heroine Kira Banasinska, a Polish Red Cross worker who advocated for the safety and survival of more than 5000 Polish refugees who found their way to India from Siberian labor camps during World War II and remained until 1948.
Unfortunately, at just 45 minutes including end credits, the film, directed by Anjali Bhushan (she wrote with Malgorzata Czausow), feels more like a mere slice of a much bigger pie rather than a fully dimensional exploration.
That said, much rare archival material has been efficiently blended with vivid footage of contemporary India: its bustling street life, the ruins of the one-time Polish settlement in Vilivade (a.k.a. “Little Poland”), the Mumbai cemetery where Banasinska and her husband, Eugene (the first Polish Consul General to India), are buried, and more.
There are also warm interviews with Banasinska’s grandson, her friends and former residents of “Little Poland,” which became its own self-sufficient town, lovingly described as a “paradise.”
Banasinska, who died in 2002 at age 102, is said to have been a charming, energetic, indefatigable woman who “lived life on her own terms.” But, at least as reported here, there’s a seeming dearth of conflict to the India chapter of her life, which begs for a deeper dive.
(In English, Polish and Hindi with English and Polish subtitles)
Running time: 45 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino