Rucha Humnabadkar’s For Here or to Go? is a Big Issues movie cross-pollinated with a romantic comedy, and while the two tones never quite mesh, it has enough heart to make it work. It’s also quite timely, in that the Big Issue in question is immigration of people with brown skin (although the film is set in early 2009, during the fallout from the Global Financial Apocalypse). Mumbai-born Vivek (Ali Fazal) is a software engineer in Silicon Valley whose imminent hiring at a health-care startup hits a snag when it comes to light that his work visa expires in less than a year. The temptation to move back to India is further complicated when he enters into a relationship with American-born Shveta (Melanie Kannokada), while his friends including the closeted Lakshmi (Omi Vaidya) and the bro-tastic Amit (Amitosh Nagpal) struggle with their own residency issues. For Here or to Go? follows the rom-com template a little too closely at times — the word “Protagonist’s Lowest Point” might as well flash on screen during those scenes late in the second act — but makes up for it both for the issues it raises, and an ending that defies expectations in a very satisfying way. And if there’s a sequel, hopefully we’ll spend more time in the fictional Jaatville.
For Here or to Go?
Opens Friday at the AMC Metreon 16.