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Hope And A Little SugarHope And A Little Sugar : Movie Review
18th Apr 2008  23.50 IST
By Aparajita Ghosh  

The intention of Hope And A Little Sugar is good. But the execution of its subject leaves much to be desired.

After her last forgettable film Zindagi Rocks , director Tanuja Chandra returns with 'Hope And A Little Sugar' that was shot 3-4 years ago but has got released in India only now after visiting many film festivals worldwide and also picking a few awards.

The film is set in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001. As can be expected, it raises the issue of racial discrimination and hatred that Muslims and people of Asian communities face in the US post 9/11.

The irony of the story is that it has an important character of a retired Sikh colonel who hates Muslims after losing his son in the terror attack. But the same colonel finds himself at the receiving end of racial attacks by the Americans who call him 'Osama' and label him a sympathizer of terrorists because of his turban and beard.

But this is not what 'Hope And A Little Sugar' is about. The film is about keeping hope alive and moving on with life.

Ali (Amit Sial), a Muslim guy, has a crush on a married Sikh woman named Saloni ( Mahima Chaudhary ). Though his feelings for her are not reciprocated, Ali becomes close to Saloni's family.

But then 9/11 happens and Saloni's husband Harry ( Vikram Chatwal ) is killed in the terror attack. Harry's father Colonel Oberoi ( Anupam Kher ) seethes with pent-up rage towards Muslims for having taken away his son. And Ali's increasing proximity to his widowed daughter-in-law only infuriates him further.

Ali, on his part, has his own demons. He is a victim of the 1992 riots in Bombay. But he doesn't show his angst.

On the other hand, Saloni makes a somewhat vague character whose feelings for Ali aren't made explicit for the most part.

'Hope And A Little Sugar' is the story of these complex characters and how they find a closure to their past and move on with life. Where the movie falters is that it does not establish the characters in depth, making it difficult for a viewer to empathize or sympathize with the turbulence in their lives.

The film, however, has some poignant moments like when Kher is beaten up by the racist Americans or when his character undergoes a change of heart before the film's end. And the actor puts in a commendable performance to bring Colonel Oberoi to life.

Mahima Chaudhary performs well but her character ought to have been fleshed out better. The script does not give ample space to show the dilemma of Saloni after the death of her husband.

The weakest link in the film is actor Amit Sial, who looks wooded and uptight for the most part. Suhasini Mulay, as Saloni's mother, is good. Vikram Chatwal has a brief role which he performs finely.

Tanuja Chandra has made a fairly engrossing film but for a few rough edges that give this movie a somewhat jaded look. But it is the theme that wins you over with its message.

Rating: **1/2

Hope And A Little Sugar
Zindagi Rocks
Tanuja Chandra
Mahima Chaudhary
Vikram Chatwal
Anupam Kher

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