After its world premiere at San Jose, Calif.’s CINEQUEST, “For Here or To Go?,” a film on immigration in Silicon Valley starring Bollywood actor Ali Fazal, will premiere at the International Film Festival of South Asia in Toronto May 17.
“For Here or To Go?” tells the story of Vivek Pandit, an aspiring Indian tech entrepreneur who is poised to become a key hire at a healthcare startup. But when his potential employers realize his work visa will expire in less than a year, the offer disappears. As Pandit struggles to find a way to extend his visa, the film finds humor in the bizarre circumstances that make up the reality of life for temporary alien workers, such as engineers who drive BMWs but don’t buy living room furniture, knowing they must always be ready to leave.
At the time the script was being completed, a billboard near San Francisco International Airport appealed to the population of tech workers in limbo: “H1-B Problems? PIVOT to CANADA.” Canada was one of the world’s first countries to establish a start-up visa, which has been discussed in the U.S. for years but has yet to be implemented.
Through its humor and charming cast, the film hopes to spark a global dialogue that is relatable to anyone who has ever left their home in pursuit of a better life.
Fazal plays the lead role of Vivek Pandit with his romantic interest played by Melanie Kannokada. Joining the ensemble are Rajit Kapur, Amitosh Nagpal, Omi Vaidya and Samrat Chakrabarti.
Directed by filmmakers Rucha Humnabadkar and Rishi Bhilawadikar, the film captures the lives of Indian immigrants with tech jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area, who find the course of their lives deeply impacted by America's immigration policy.