Bay Area Film Brings Indian Immigrant Experience to Silver Screen

by Adrienne Chaney

For Here Or To Go, a feature film being shot this summer in San Francisco and other locations across the Bay Area, is a commanding portrayal of the trials and challenges confronting Indian immigrants to the U.S., representing a first for the silver screen. And the story is being told at the perfect time: With our elected officials currently discussing a federal immigration reform bill, 2013 is shaping up to be a major year for changes in our immigration system.

“We’re rallying up the support of the Bay Area community to make this movie, because really, it’s the story of the people who live here, and the question of whether to stay here or return home,” explained one of the film’s producers, Cristina Chainey.

Film director Rucha Humnabadkar, a San Francisco resident, is putting her own creative touch on a scenario that is all too real for many Indian immigrants in the Bay Area. Humnakadkar came through the San Francisco School of Digital Filmaking, and has a master’s degree in design from Carnegie Mellon University. Her film experience includes work as the assistant director and art director on the film Hyderbad Blues, winner of the audience award at the 1998 Peach Tree Film Festival, and she was also director of the short film, Arranged Marriage.

For Here Or To Go’s story was inspired by the life and experiences of the scriptwriter, Rishi Bhilawadikar, who moved to the U.S. from Mumbai, India. It was his exposure to American culture that inspired him to write the film script, which was picked up by the independent Bay Area film studio, Many Cups of Chai. Slated for release in 2014, the movie will focus on the experiences of Indian immigrants who come to work for tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Ali Fazal is leading the cast as Vivek Pandit, an Indian immigrant in Silicon Valley. Providing another side of the Indian experience is Melanie Kannokada, who plays the character of Shveta, a woman born in America to Indian immigrant parents. The cast also includes Omi Vaidya, and Amitosh Nagpal.

More information about the cast, crew and story of this exciting new film, storyboards and concept videos, and updates on the film’s production, can be viewed on the website: Many Cups of Chai can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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