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"Immigrant Journey" Scheduled for Nov. 4 in Newburgh

On Friday, Nov.  4 at 7 p.m., SUNY Orange Cultural Affairs presents "Immigrant Journey:" three short films of the Indian American experience, featuring actor Hesh Sarmalkar in a talkback led by Seema Khurana, in the Orange County Trust Company Great Room 101 at Kaplan Hall, Newburgh.

General admission is $5. All students are allowed free entrance. Tickets are available at the door starting at 6 p.m.

Three short films of the Indian American immigrant experience are linked through the performances of the award-winning actor, Hesh Sarmalkar, who will be on hand to answer questions following the screening of the films, in a talkback moderated by scholar Seema Khurana, PhD.  Prashant Bhargava’s 2004 short "Sangam" has won 10 awards, including a Best Actor Award for Sarmalkar at the Rome International Film Festival, GA.  Originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, it has been shown by the Sundance Channel, as well as by Arte in Germany and France. Also shown will be Vinay Pujara’s films "Flight of Hope" (2016), and "India Calling" (2015). "India Calling" was recently purchased by Rai Television for all TV and web rights in Italy.

Globetrotting is a way of life for New York-based Indian American actor, Hesh Sarmalkar.  His pursuit of acting has been deeply influenced by his family’s contributions to the Indian film industry.  His great uncle V. Shantaram (1901-1990), who created 105 films as director, producer and actor, was a Bollywood pioneer and regarded as a trailblazer by the notables of the Indian film industry.

Sarmalkar came to the USA to study. He attended NYU for his MS degree in neurobiology with the intent to go on for his PhD, but his strong passion for acting changed his course.  After studying at the John Strasberg School of Acting and Lynette Sheldon Actors Studio, he starred in the award-winning short film "Sangam," an official selection at Sundance in 2004 as well as several US and International Film Festivals. Sarmalkar won the Best Actor Jury Award at the Rome, Georgia International Film Festival for his role in the film.  His recent projects include several short films, and he is also the consultant for "All Things Indian" for Hollywood and American TV.  Sarmalkar currently resides in New York City and remains involved in the acting world, while holding the position of Events Director at the prestigious Asia Society, where he has coordinated many high profile events with celebrities and heads of state, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Seema Khurana, moderator, has been teaching Hindi language and literature for 15 years as a Senior Lector at Yale University. She is actively creating teaching content for Hindi, such as "Partition Narrative Project" - a collection of recorded and edited film interviews of Partition survivors in Hindi; "Hindi in Diaspora" - a collection of written works and audio/video clips from news broadcasts, interviews, and cinema depicting Hindi in diaspora that serve as a growing database to understand issues of assimilation and identity.  In 2000, she produced the first Hindi-book-on audiotape in the U.S., Amrita Pritam's "Pinjar." Her short stories and poems have been published in various Hindi-language magazines and anthologies.

For more information about the film screening, send an email to, call (845) 341-9386, or check out the SUNY Orange Cultural Affairs website at: Free and secure parking is available in the Kaplan Hall garage accessible at 73 First Street.

Event date, time and location.

Joanne Zipay
Cultural Affairs