You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘For Here or to Go?’

A Mumbai-born Silicon Valley software whiz battles byzantine immigration rules and his own conflicting emotions about where he belongs.

Ali Fazal, Melanie Kannokada, Rajit Kapur, Amitosh Nagpal, Omi Vaidya, Samrat Chakrabarti. (English, Hindi dialogue)


The challenges faced by immigrants and the battle over healthcare lend renewed relevance to the premise of “For Here or to Go?” which bears a 2015 copyright date yet directly addresses these and other hot-button issues of the day. Brightly amiable while not particularly urgent, this handsomely made U.S. indie opens regionally March 31. Including both English and Hindi dialogue, the film will speak most effectively to apprehensive immigrants caught between uncertain Stateside status and cultural displacement.

It’s 2008, the recession has just hit, and, in the heart of Silicon Valley earnest young tech worker Vivek Pandit (Ali Fazal) has a problem. After seven years of hard work for a company to which he’s not emotionally invested, he’s about to land a plum position at a healthcare start-up by virtue of innovative software he’s written. Unfortunately, the would-be entrepreneur has neglected his immigration paperwork, and when the company finds out he has less than a year left on his visa, it backs away from hiring him.

Vivek has other issues as well, chief among them an alarming parade of townhouse roommates that include confident Sam (Samrat Chakrabarti), conflicted gay co-worker Lakshmi (Omi Vaidya), flaky Amit (Amitosh Nagpal) and a mysterious weekend visitor who lands them on the FBI’s watch list.

Vivek’s tensions are eased somewhat by recent law-school grad Shweta (Melanie Kannokada), whom he meets at a Bollywood speed-dating event. Their courtship is highlighted, fittingly, by a town square flash-mob dance number called “There’s a Party on the Dance Floor.”

Adding some gravitas is Shweta’s author father Vishwanath Prabhu (Rajit Kapur), who exhorts talented Indians to return home to make their fortunes, even though the advice clashes with the goals of his Stateside business partner Raj Mehta (Keith Stevenson).

Writer-producer Rishi S. Bhilawadikar’s too-busy script nevertheless scores legitimate points about the complexities and paradoxes of the visa application process, the resulting limbo in which many legitimately productive immigrants find themselves, and other frustrating and soul-searching issues facing ethnic communities. Given the set-up, Vivek’s eventual fate, inspired by advice from an unlikely savior, plays as anti-climactic.

Director Rucha Humnabadkar (who has a cameo as a TV presenter) and DP Tristan Nyby caught their numerous Northern California locations on particularly sunny days, matching the dispositions of the pleasant but not overly strident leads.

Film Review: 'For Here or to Go?'

Reviewed online, Sydney, March 29, 2017. Running time: 105 MIN.

Production: A Many Cups of Chai release, presentation and production. Producers: Vineet Sinha, CC Chainey, Rucha Humnabadkar, Rishi S. Bhilawadikar. Executive producers: Jayan Ramankutty, Vibha Jayan, Anil Sippy, Ketan Humnabadkar, Aaron Sakowski, Niket Biswas, Roger Wang, Deepak Ravindran. Co-producers: Radhika Reddy, Ashish Sharma, Shaheen Gandhi.

Crew: Director: Rucha Humnabadkar. Screenplay: Rishi S. Bhilawadikar. Camera (color): Tristan Nyby. Editor: Abhijit Deshpande.

With: Ali Fazal, Melanie Kannokada, Rajit Kapur, Amitosh Nagpal, Omi Vaidya, Samrat Chakrabarti. (English, Hindi dialogue)

More Film

  • First Look at Cannes-Bound ‘Diego Maradona’

    First Look at Cannes-Bound ‘Diego Maradona’ Feature Documentary

    Diego Maradona waves to raucous Napoli fans before heading into a media scrum and press conference in the first clip from the feature documentary about the soccer superstar. “Diego Maradona” is the third film from the team behind the award-winning “Senna” and “Amy,” with Asif Kapadia directing and James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin producing. They [...]

  • Raising Hell: The Life and Times

    Film Review: 'Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins'

    One of the more entertaining as well as insightful political commentators of the past half-century is paid a suitably entertaining tribute in “Raise Hell.” A long tall Texan too amusingly outrageous to draw real resentment from most of her targets, Molly Ivins nonetheless aimed stinging criticism at political figures both national and in her native [...]

  • The Lighthouse

    Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Unveils Lineup

    Robert Eggers’ anticipated “The Lighthouse” with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, Luca Guadagnino’s medium-length film “The Staggering Girl” and Japanese helmer Takashi Miike’s “First Love” are set to unspool at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight under the new leadership of Paolo Moretti. Described by Moretti as a “hypnotic two-hander” powered by Pattinson and Dafoe, “The Lighthouse” is [...]

  • Media Luna Acquires ‘We Had It

    Cannes Festival: Media Luna Takes ‘We Had It Coming,’ ‘The Friendly Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    In the run-up to next month’s Cannes Festival, Cologne-based Media Luna New Films has acquired international rights to “We Had It Coming,” starring Natalie Krill (“Wynonna Earp,” “Below Her Mouth”) and Brazil’s “The Friendly Man,” one of the standouts at Ventana Sur’s strong Copia Final showcase of near-finished Latin American movies. MK2 Mile End will [...]

  • ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Stars Make Emotional Speeches

    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Stars Make Emotional Speeches at Historic Marvel Premiere

    If more than twenty worldwide blockbusters over ten years sounds like a big undertaking, try locking up the cell phones and smartwatches of Hollywood’s most important people for four hours. Only a franchise with the cache of the “Avengers” series could have A-list talent, celebrity fans, agents and executives gladly turn over their gadgets for [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' First Reactions: 'Most Emotional, Most Epic MCU Film'

    The end is finally here. “Avengers: Endgame” had its world premiere Monday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center and reactions on social media from fans, journalists and critics are already pouring in. The reaction has so far been almost universally positive, with several commentors warning fans of the movie’s emotional elements. Brandon Davis wrote [...]

  • Josh Brolin, Kathryn Boyd. Josh Brolin,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Josh Brolin: Thanos' Butt Is a 'Beautiful, Purple Peach'

    On the eve of “Avengers: Endgame’s” world premiere, everyone’s thoughts have turned to the one crucial detail that could be the difference between life or death for the Avengers: Does Thanos have a butt? “I don’t know what that whole thing is about! I really don’t!” Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, told Variety‘s Marc Malkin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content