Indian American director Rucha Humnabadkar’s comedy drama, “For Here or To Go,” which explores the struggles of high-tech Indian immigrants whose lives are deeply affected by U.S. immigration policies, was the winner of the Jury Award at the recently concluded 10th edition of the Seattle South Asian Film Festival at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash.
Set in the San Francisco Bay Area and Mumbai, the film follows the journey of an aspiring Indian entrepreneur who is poised to get a plum job but loses the offer once his potential employers find out that his visa will expire within a year.
The film creates many lighthearted and poignant moments showcasing his battle with the American immigration system.
Bollywood actor Ali Fazal plays the protagonist while his romantic interest is played by Melanie Kannokada. Joining the ensemble cast are Rajit Kapur, Amitosh Nagpal, Omi Vaidya and Samrat Chakrabarti.
“This recognition is truly humbling,” said Humnabadkar in a press release.
“I was overwhelmed with the enthusiastic audience response. Thank you for recognizing the value of strong, original ideas that carry an important message.”
Producer Rishi Bhilawadikar said, “We are honored to be recognized at such a diverse festival as SSAFF.”
The trophy for the Best Narrative went to the Marathi-language family film, “Killa,” directed by Avinash Arun, a reputed cinematographer in Bollywood. “Killa” is a nostalgic journey that tells the story of an 11-year-old boy, Chinmay, who has to cope with a few sudden changes in his life.
“Mister Comes Tomorrow,” a short by Indian filmmaker Shamas Nawab Siddiqui, which raises sensitive issues about love, marriage and personal accountability, claimed the Best Short Film Award.
The Best Documentary Award went to “Among the Believers” which gives an insight into the ideological battles shaping Pakistan and the Muslim world. The film is co-directed by Hemal Trivedi from India and Mohammed Naqvi from Pakistan.
SSAFF, the largest South Asian Film Festival in the U.S., is presented by the nonprofit, community-based organization Tasveer. The festival screened films from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.