It is always news when an Indian film makes it to the competition of a major movie festival. Prashant Nair’s (Delhi in a Day) second feature, Umrika, will be one among the 16 titles vying at the Cairo International Film Festival, starting on November 10. With a motley group of actors like Suraj Sharma (My Life is Pi), Tony Revolori (the bellboy from The Grand Budapest Hotel), Prateik Babbar (Smita Patel’s son seen in Dhobi Ghaat) and Smita Tambe (Singham Returns), Umrika (well, for America) is a bitter-sweet story of a young man who travels to Mumbai from his humble village to try and find out what happened to his older brother — who had left for America but had not been heard of since many months.
The movie — which won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival — opens with Udai (Babbar) bidding a teary farewell to his mother (Tambe) and younger sibling, Ramakant (Sharma), in their modest village home. The mother’s anxiety deepens when there is no word from Udai for months on end — till one fine morning, as if by a strange miracle, a stream of letters begins to arrive. They also carry exotic pictures of America. In various other sections of the festival, one can watch three more works from India. Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar is one. Though this movie has been widely seen in India and elsewhere, Talvar is keenly awaited in Egypt — whose passion for Indian cinema has not really waned in all these decades since Raj Kapoor sang Mera Jhoota Hai Japani.
Watch Umrika trailer