Mumbai: Her latest release Zindaggi Rocks may have failed to rock the box office, but director Tanuja Chandra's small budget film Hope and a Little Sugar is creating quite a buzz in the festival curcuit.
"You need a little bit of sugar to keep you happy and you need a lot of hope," says Tanuja Chandra.
Says actor Anupam Kher, "Hope and a Little Sugar is a very important film because it does not have the burden of being an Indian film and yet wanting to be an international film."
The film is a poignant tale of love, set against the forces of hate and intolerance. It centers around the romance between an aspiring Muslim photographer and a young Sikh widow in New York City in the weeks before and after September 11, 2001.
The film stars Anupam Kher, Mahima Choudhary, Suhasini Mulay, Vikram Chatwal and Amit Sial and has won the Best Film award at the South Asian International Film Festival held recently in New York.
"They are Indian characters, but they speak to a global audience," says Chandra.
Bringing a South Asian's perspective to the events surrounding 9/11, the film highlights the many faces of intolerance and discrimination.
Shooting for the film was a learning experience for most of the cast and crew, for various reasons.
"What was difficult was the transition from a happy-go-lucky man to a brooding, silent, seething with anger, prejudiced man," asys Anupam Kher.
Says Mahima Choudhary, "The most difficult bit was when I was in spaghetti and short skirt and it was sync sound and I was shivering and trying to sing along."
Shot in 25 days in New York, the post-production of the film went on for a year and the film is now headed to the International Film Festival of India in Goa and the Kara Film Festival in Karachi later this year.