Sixth Happiness | Chicago Reader

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Firdaus Kanga, an Anglo-Indian writer who's been confined to a wheelchair since childhood, plays a fictionalized version of himself in this coming-of-age story about a lovably eccentric Parsi family in Bombay coping valiantly and comically with the son's congenital bone disease. But casting the 37-year-old Kanga as a character who ages from 8 to 18 invites disbelief, a postmodern strategy that clashes with director Waris Hussein's literalness and lack of irony. Kanga's script, adapted from his autobiographical novel, is riddled with transparent plot devices and cliched signposts of homosexuality, yet this 1997 British film still fascinates, not least because its mostly Indian crew has faithfully re-created the bustling Bombay of the 60s as well as the insularity of its Muslim subculture.

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