What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to communities in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together testaments of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab, India to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration. As the promise of a secure future in agriculture grows increasingly uncertain for young men across the region, escaping India to join the low-wage labor in countries like Canada and USA becomes their sole aspiration. In rural Punjab, being a successful man now entails leaving their village, traveling abroad, and sending money home. Through interviews with men preparing to undertake often risky journeys and women awaiting the return of their sons, brothers and husbands, Sent Away Boys shows how the decision to emigrate implicate the entire family and the larger community.


“… an illuminating and poignant documentary about the desires that drive emigration from India, as well as the social and emotional fallout for those left behind. A must-see for anyone interested in contemporary global migration.”

       Richard Fung,  Video Artist, Theorist and Professor of Media Studies, OCAD University


2018 SCA/SVA Displacements Film Festival

2017 Cinema Verite, Iran International Doc Film Festival

2017 NY Indian Film Festival

2017 DC South Asian Film Festival

2017 PickUrFlick Film Festival, New Delhi

            Winner: Best Director (Documentary)

2017 Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival Library, Bristol

2017 South Asian International Documentary Film Festival, Seattle

2016 Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival

2016 Viscult Festival of Visual Culture, Finland

2016 International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) Meetings, Norway

2016 Open Frame Film Festival, New Delhi


Doordarshan (Indian National TV) - Spring 2017



45 mins. 2016, India

In Punjabi & English w/subtitles

Directed by Harjant Gill

Produced by PSBT  (Public Service Broadcasting Trust)

Additional Funding: The Wenner-Gren Foundation