Producer: Vineet Sinha, CC Chainey, Rucha Humnabadkar and Rishi Bilawadikar
Director: Rucha Humnabadkar
Starring: Ali Fazal, Melanie Kannokada, Omi Vaidya, Amitosh Nagpal and Rajit Kapur
Every year, a large number of working professionals from India migrate to the US and other western countries with the belief that their talent would be valued more there. In the pursuit of a high-paying job, they leave their country for good. One also sees children from affluent families going abroad at an earlier stage in their lives to study as they are of the opinion that foreign universities offer a much higher quality of education than the ones in India. But, is the grass really greener on the other side?
After working for seven years in an IT firm in Silicon Valley, Vivek Pandit (Ali Fazal) is ready to quit his job. He has developed a software that would bring about a revolution in the healthcare sector all across the globe. He has also got some financers on board who see tremendous potential in his idea. Unfortunately, the financers back out at the last moment as they realise that Vivek’s work visa will expire in less than a year and he is far from getting a green card. Vivek’s worries grow manifold as he deals with an annoying man (Amitosh Nagpal) who has just moved into his house and the disappearance of an erstwhile visitor to his house that ends up putting his name on the FBI’s watchlist. He finds some solace in the company of a young woman named Shweta (Melanie Kannnokada), who also happens to be the daughter of Vishwanath Prabhu, an NRI businessman who owns several companies, one of which Vivek works for.
As explained in a particular scene in the film, ‘For Here Or To Go’, the title of the film, is a metaphor that has its origin in the question posed to customers in American restaurants which roughly translates to ‘would you like to have the food here or would you like take it away?’. The metaphor stands for the dilemma faced by some NRIs about staying back in the States or going back to their motherland. The film is based on a fairly interesting premise but the end product is nothing more than an amateurish student film. No offence to film school graduates; they would have probably made a better film on this subject. The film adheres to several done-to-stereotypes – there is a young man from North India who cannot speak English and is a complete buffoon, a South Indian man is struggling to get a green card so that he can stay in America forever, a country which does not make him feel bad about being gay, a young NRI woman who is confused about a lot of things in life, including the relationship she has with a man she connected to.
There are so many moments that offer some promise, only to flicker out soon after. Rajit Kapur plays a man who has a sprawling business enterprise in America but feels there are a lot of opportunities in India that young individuals can explore. He is even writing a book to advocate his views. Despite the initial interest, you fail to connect with the shoddily written character after a point. There is a scene where a bunch of characters make some honest confessions after getting drunk. The scene had potential but the weak writing and direction does not really let it soar. There are a few other scenes, like the ones featuring Shweta and Vivek, which bring a smile on your face occasionally but those are not enough to salvage this film.
What does make this film bearable is an honest performance by Ali Fazal. The actor has delivered good performances throughout his nine year old (if we take into account his cameo in ‘3 Idiots’) career and he does not disappoint even when he is saddled with a poor script and a half-baked character. He breathes life into every scene makes an appearance in. Though the character of Amit comes across as irritating at times, Amitosh Nagpal does very well as an actor. He even gets a bunch of dialogues which are quite funny. It is good to see Omi Vaidya on the big screen after a long time. Melanie Kannnokada is charming as Shweta. Rajit Kapur gets a character with a limited arc but you cannot pick faults in his performance.
‘For Here To Go’ looks at a fairly complex issue in an over-simplistic manner. The poorly etched out screenplay by Rishi Bhilawadikar (he is also one of the producers of the film) is the main culprit. The director does not better by employing the cinematic tool she had at her disposal rather inefficiently.