“A Dream in Doubt” is an immigrant story in a world in which patriotism has morphed into murder. When Rana Singh Sodhi’s brother is killed in America’s first post-9/11 revenge murder, he begins a journey to reclaim his American dream and fight the hate that continues to threaten his community. This intimate, hour-long documentary of one man’s odyssey from persecution in India to embracing America as his homeland proves that courage and hope have the power to overcome hate.
“A Dream in Doubt” is an immigrant story of survival as a wave of deadly hate crimes terrorizes the Sikh American community in Phoenix, Arizona. The film features Rana Sodhi, an Indian immigrant whose life is forever altered by the 9/11 terror attacks, not because he knew someone who died in the rubble, but because Rana’s turban and beard—articles of his Sikh faith—now symbolize America’s new enemy.
Rana’s eldest brother Balbir Singh Sodhi—who also wore a turban and beard—was America’s first post-9/11 hate crime murder victim, gunned down at his gas station by a man named Frank Roque, who claimed he was rooting out a terrorist. “A Dream in Doubt” travels to Rana’s hometown to explore post-9/11 America from his perspective, telling a personal story of national tragedy, murder, family, community, and the American Dream.
“A Dream in Doubt” shows the daily horrors that Rana and the Sikh community experience as misunderstood Americans. In August 2002, Sukhpal Sodhi, Rana’s next-oldest brother, is murdered in mysterious circumstances while driving a cab in San Francisco. Nine months later in May 2003, Rana’s friend, Avtar Chiera, is shot by three men who yell, “Go back to where you came from!” Three weeks after Avtar’s shooting, another friend, Inderjit Singh is physically assaulted and threatened with death while working at a convenience store. Rana calls on the Sikh community to meet and discuss the senseless violence, and it quickly becomes apparent that the displaced anger over 9/11 terrorists and the violence in Iraq is far from over. At one point, Rana exclaims: “This is America! This can’t be. We will not tolerate it.” Motivated by the injustices, Rana is called to action.
The film follows Rana as he seeks vindication for his brothers’ murders by working to educate fellow Phoenix-area residents about hate crimes; acting as the spokesman for his family and the Sikh community; running his gas station to support his family; and, most importantly, attempting to guard his own school-aged children—Rose, Satpreet and Navdeep—from bullying and harassment.
Rana endures these injustices through a steadfast belief in the Sikh and American values of freedom, self-reliance, and equality. But, with each new incident, Rana’s wounds are reopened and he is forced to question how much should he suffer. For Rana, America is on trial.