Many years ago, I worked a hi-tech job in Silicon Valley, and though I worked side by side with people who had come there from India on work visas, I had no idea of the struggles with which these bright and talented people were dealing. FOR HERE OR TO GO? , though set in 2009, did much to reveal the current complicated status of these immigrants, and the uncertain futures that they have with a status that can change with an economic downturn or an unfortunate acquaintance. And it did so with sharp humor as well as equally sharp insight.
When I spoke with filmmakers Rishi Bhilawadikar and Rucha Humnabadka on March 26, 2017, I started, though, with the quote that opens the film, in which Nehru ponders the meaning of home. We went on to talk about the existential crisis of expiring visas; the democracy of ideas; and the affection they have for a particular Indian name.
We finished up by talking about how the current visa system is a form of indentured servitude (technically illegal in this country); the truth of many of the stories in the film; what the current political climate means for their film; and why Bhilawadikar refused to have furniture in his living room for so long.
FOR HERE OR TO GO? is their film about love, friendship, and the meaning of home. The film follows Vivek, a software engineer working in Silicon Valley on a visa that will expire in 11 months. When he’s offered his dream job at a start-up, he comes face-to-face with the labyrinthine immigration laws that no one seems to understand, much less negotiate except to hope for the best. As he ponders what to do, and where to do it, he contends with feuding roommates, a new romance, and finding himself on the FBI watchlist through no fault of his own. The film stars Ali Fazal, Melanie Chandra, Omi Vaidya, Samrat Chak ra barti , Keith Stevenson, Rajit Kapur, and Amitosh Nagpal. Hum na badka directed from a script by Bhilawadikar.