Gill, Harjant Singh

Approve Date
Grant Year
2014

Preliminary abstract: 'Sent Away Boys' is a 30-minute documentary film that provides an intimate look at the gendered process of transnational migration as captured through the journey of a young Indian man named Pali moving from a village in Punjab to the urban metropolis of Toronto. Pali, like many of peers, does not see a secure economical future in India. His definition of being a successful man include being able to migrate and settle abroad, remit money home, sponsor the migration of other family members, and thereby acquiring the social and cultural capital associated with being a transnational migrant. While obtaining a visa to Canada is a celebratory occasion for Pali and his family, his departure is marked simultaneously by a sense of sorrow and loss as his parents make the incredibly difficult decision to send their son away. We see Pali leave his childhood home, his neighborhood and his German shepherd named Rocky behind, knowing that he will not return for many years. We see Pali's parents, driving him to the airport knowing that they will not see their beloved son for a while. Even though South Asian men enjoy the privileges that accompany being a man, the film reveals the tremendous pressure migrant men experience to live up to certain gendered expectations to be successful. 'Sent Away Boys' reflects on the journeys migrants undertake, the sacrifices families make, and the social and economic conditions that necessitate such decisions. It also shows how a particular geographical and cultural space is transformed when an overwhelming number of young men have left or aspire to leave.