The Gold Bracelet is a long-winded melodrama about a family of Sikhs living in America both before and after 9/11. Arjun (Kavi Raz) and his wife Baljit (Archana Singh) came to America from India with the hopes of giving their children the best opportunities for success they can. And like most immigrants given the chance to live a full life here, they have nothing but love for the country that allowed those opportunities to be possible.
Their daughter is on the verge of finally getting her MBA and Arjun couldn’t be more proud. A traditionalist by way of his culture, he is hoping that she will finally begin a life of marriage and family. His son, Ranjit (Arsh Singh), has too easily fallen in with the wrong crowd at school. His friends love to smoke marijuana, something his culture frowns upon, and the other kids at school mock him because he wears a turban. Arjun’s family life is starting to get complicated because of this but nothing could quite prepare them for life with an assortment of ignorant Americans after September 11th.
Once the tragedy takes place and pictures of Osama Bin Laden wearing a turban are plastered all over every magazine and television show, Arjun and his family now face a new sort of discrimination. Just like some news worthy event that actually happened in America after this catastrophe, people now look at him different. Not knowing he is a Sikh (or even knowing what that is), people being to call him a “Muslim terrorist” while others just look at him with questioning authority. Ranjit has the same problems – he too wears a turban. But neither he nor his father is a member of Al-Qaeda and unfortunately ignorance gets the best of some people.
With many films these days lacking character development (like Poseidon or The Da Vinci Code), it feels a little odd to finally watch a film with it. In fact, The Gold Bracelet may have too much. Filmmaker Kavi Raz paints a nice picture of what it must have been like for Sikhs (even Muslims) in post-9/11 America and the frustrations of clashing cultures. Raz’s perfomance as Arjun steals the show. It’s a rather brilliant performance that is just as emotive as it is passionate. He is, after all, no stranger to acting but this film is a first for him in the fields of writing and direction. The film runs over 2 hours and it does feel a little excessive in parts. The beginning moves a little slow, and it takes a while to get going but once it starts moving, it’s a very touching and interesting look into a culture not that often exposed.