Adapted from Firdaus Kanga's semi-auto-biographical novel Trying To Grow, Sixth Happiness is a "re-imagined version" of the disabled author's Bombay childhood during the '60s and '70s. Born into an Anglophile Parsee family, Brit (Kanga) suffers from brittle bone disease, which chronically stunts his growth and confines him to a wheelchair. He's looked after by eccentric mother Sera (Faress), spirited sister Dolly (Wadia) and various relatives, although his dad can never escape a sense of shame about his son's condition. Then a handsome lodger (Bhatti) enters Brit's life with far-reaching consequences.
Sixth Happiness is an impressively bitter-sweet account of growing up, and a sense of joyfulness co-exists alongside a genuine mood of loss. With a script packed full off wry humour - it treats Brit's disability and active sexuality with frank unsentimentality - it was the deserving winner of the London Film Festival Award and deserves far wider distribution than its current BFI exposure.