New film ‘Do We Belong?’ highlights the hate crime against Indian immigrant in America

This is not a hidden fact that a number of Indian Immigrants fall prey to hate crime in America. Similar is the case of two Indian immigrants (engineers), Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, who were at the Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas for a post-work drink, when Adam Purinton walked in and began shooting at them. Srinivas Kuchibhotla succumbed to his injuries and died that day and left his wife widowed.

On Feb. 22, 2017 at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed by Adam Purinton, who though he was an illegal alien from Iran. Purinton was charged with premeditated first-degree murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison with no parole.

In a new short documentary, released by The Atlantic, Dumala Kuchibhotla, the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla who fell victim to a hate crime last year, narrates the story of the tragic event and how she has still been living the American Dream without him. “A Devastating Hate Crime in Kansas” is a story in the film, “Do We Belong?” directed by Sofian Khan and it is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators.

The documentary titled “A Devastating Hate Crime in Kansas” begins with Dumala remembering their early days as a married couple from India in the U.S. and describes how buying a new home in Kansas was an ultimate dream come true for the couple.

Dumala met Srinivas online and recalled how he helped her tackle the U.S. visa process as well as their courtship days and wedding ceremony. Dumala starts recollecting the final day of Srinivas’ life, as viewers are shown a short scene took outside the Austin Bar & Grill, where Srinivas and his friend Alok attended happy hour. Dumala said she was in shock when she heard the news of Srinivas’ death by the hands of a U.S. Navy veteran who had told him to “get out of my country.”

After the tragedy though Dumala was told that she would be deported but somehow she was allowed to stay back and has started a nonprofit organization called “forever Welcome” with Srinivas’ colleagues, to combat hate crimes in the United States. The film ends with Dumala explaining how the community came forward to show their love for her and her husband, finding an answer to the question “do we belong here.”

Directed by Sofian Khan and Produced by Pulkit Datta, the film is a short documentary and puts together the devastating story of the family. Talking about the same, director Sofian Khan states, “I read about Srinivas’ death when it happened last year, and the story really hit home. My father came to the US in the 80’s as a software engineer from India’s western neighbour, Pakistan, with a work ethic and ambition that reminded me of what I was reading about Srinivas. Even more than that, the descriptions of Srinivas’ positive nature and playful humour also felt very familiar. There was a sense that I somehow knew him.”

Although a Hindu, Srinivas was identified with the same threat and backlash as all the immigrants in the country. Khan adds: “Sunayana’s question, “do we belong here?”, cuts to the heart of what has been on the minds of many as of late – both immigrants, as well as other marginalized groups. Sunayana has arrived at her own conclusion. And while everyone has to find that for themselves, I was inspired by her incredible strength and perseverance in the face of so much adversity.

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