Hearts Suspended

Meghna Damani

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center


In 2009, I created the film "Hearts Suspended" as a tale of lives suspended between identity and country.

The film is an ode to the thousands of documented dependent spouses—highly skilled, educated women who come to America every year as doctors, lawyers, architects, business professionals and artists and are forced to stay at home for an indefinite period. Once independent, now completely dependent, they face loneliness, depression, loss of self-identity, strained marital relations and—in extreme cases—exploitation and abuse.

Through an expressionistic combination of visuals, monologue, verite, and interviews, I take audiences on a journey of turmoil, search for spiritual strength and hope for change.

Hearts Suspended leaves us with the awareness that where there is human suffering, there is no distinction between the personal and the political and in-order to create a humane society the political must consider the personal.

Curator's Note: Beginning on May 26, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services extended eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.

MEGHNA DAMANI is a Mumbai-born artist, writer, filmmaker, and activist. She immigrated to the United States in 2002, leaving behind a modeling and advertising career. Inspired by her own struggle on a dependent spouse visa that denied her work authorization, she wrote, directed, and produced “Hearts Suspended.” he has spent over a decade building a consistent and engaged social media campaign and grassroots movement advocating for H-4 visa holders’ ability to work. Meghna is the founder of Treasure Tower Films and Flying Pig Baby Films. Her work with Immigrant women inspired her to get certified as an Neuro-Linguistic Programming based Advanced Life Coach. She holds customized workshops for women, titled "I Choose - Workshops for Women in Transition." Learn more about the film at www.heartssuspended.com. Meghna is currently working on a web series advocating for work authorization for dependent spouses.

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  • Title: Hearts Suspended
  • Creator: Meghna Damani
  • Medium: Film