The slice of life film follows the journey of Mona, a struggling writer who is taking care of her ailing Sikh father, which has led to a life of isolation, until her three siblings come to visit.
Written and directed by Agam Darshi, ‘Donkeyhead’ stars Darshi herself in the lead role, along with Sandy Sidhu, Kim Coates, Stephen Lobo, Huse Madhavji, Marvin Ishmael, and Balinder Johal. Throughout the film, Darshi’s character struggles with both internal and external battles, while trying to cope with the impending loss of her father.
The film opens with Mona taking care of her sick father, where the audience sees the type of isolation she has been living in for a few years. When her father becomes more ill, her three siblings, Parminder, the perfect Punjabi son and Mona’s twin, Rup, a laid-back brother, and Sandy, Mona’s overachieving and successful sister, show up with the intention to help, but it becomes apparent that all four siblings have an extremely complicated and contentious relationship.
The distinction between Mona and her siblings is quite clear: they are immensely successful in all spheres of life, while Mona is struggling with both her personal relationships and career. When they go to visit the family lawyer (played by Kim Coates), who is also conducting a romantic relationship with Mona, they find out that their father has put Parminder as the sole benefactor in his will, which leads Mona to unravel.
After a massive fight between Mona and her siblings, when Sandy points out Mona’s failing writing career, the rest of the film is followed by a series of eye-opening moments that provide context to the family dynamic. After Coates’ character, Brent, breaks up with Mona, she learns that Parminder had asked their father to put the will in his name, which leads to a confrontation between group once again. It’s at this point that the audience gets insight from Mona into why Parminder wants to please his deeply religious father: he’s gay.
From here, a series of fights commence, until the inevitable passing of her father. The film concludes with the four siblings reconciling their differences (to an extent) to come together for their father’s last rites.
For a first-generation Indian-American millennial, Agam Darshi’s ‘Donkeyhead’ presents an extremely realistic story about one’s relationship with their family. Although Mona’s character makes several mistakes throughout the film, it’s hard to not have empathy for her, since so many South Asian millennials who grew up in the United States can relate to her. On the other hand, many viewers might also relate to Mona’s siblings, especially Parminder, who had to hide his sexuality for so long because of conservative family members. Darshi does a skillful job of navigating all of these uniquely Indian-American experiences, and weaving them into a familial story. The film is now available to watch on Netflix!