Film Review: For Here or to Go?

This immigrant farce over-eggs the pudding with character and incident but sneaks under your skin nevertheless.
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To say that Silicon Valley tech rat Vivek Pandit (Ali Fazal) has a full plate would be a gross understatement. He has a townhouse but too many nutty roommates: Sam (Samrat Chakrabarti), Amit (Amitosh Nagpal) and Lakshmi (Omi Vaidya), who is gay, not easy for a traditionally raised Indian guy. His parents are constantly pushing prospective brides at him. Additionally, Vivek has discovered that his hot new job prospect is now in question due to a mistake in his visa paperwork, leaving him with just one more year to be in the country.

Although For Here or to Go? takes place in 2008 and was made in 2015, the issues Vivek faces regarding his non-immigrant working visa are still vitally pressing given recent national events. Director Rucha Humnabadkar and screenwriter Rishi Bhilawadikar use the topic of immigration to show the challenges young Indians face and to pay tribute to the hard-working and enterprising Indian immigrant community in the U.S.. For Here or to Go? is inspiriting in many ways and a serves as a refreshing portrait of immigrant yupsters. But the surfeit of characters and subplots, one involving all the roommates landing on the FBI’s watch list, becomes exhausting. There’s enough humorous ethnic observation afoot to keep audiences absorbed, however, helped along by the winning good nature of the very attractive and hard-working cast. And during a lull in the hijinks, the filmmakers give their characters a chance to stop dashing around on their impossible quests to find the right careers and significant others. In this quieter and quite effective interlude, each one shares their innermost hopes and fears. Here, the film attains real depth. Vaidya in particular shines in a rare depiction of Asian homosexuality that feels real, not cartoonish.

Indeed, Humnabadkar, Bhilawadikar and the actors build up enough goodwill that you’re inclined to forgive the production’s shortcomings and even get a little goosebump-y at a very indulgent, but undeniably stirring, climactic ode to Desi (expatriate) spirit in America.     

Click here for cast and crew information.