Hope and a little sugar poster

Hope and a little sugar

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Hope & a little sugar is a love story with a backdrop of terrorism. Yet it has no speeches and has a very subtle narration style. Worth a cozy DVD watch.

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Director: Tanuja Chandra
Running time: 75 minutes
Genres: Family, Romance, Social
More Movie Info

Hope and a little sugar - Preview

NOT A REVIEW - Looking at what I'm up for this Friday

Another week without any "high profile" releases. Seeing too many of thesesuch weeks this year. Wonder what's cooking at all the big production houses. Anyway, up this Friday is Hope & a little sugar, another one based around the 9/11 timeframe, this time set in New York.

Terrorist-event based movies have the first thing going right for them. The human element in the story is so well-known, that the audience already has emotions set for various characters - Sympathy for the victim, apathy towards the terrorist. Of course, they lose interest if the story is not captivating enough or if it is not told well. But, since it has won the best feature film award at the South Asian International Film Festival (2006) - New York City, it could mean that we have that in order. On the other hand, this film festival just seems to be an avenue for independent "Indian" filmmakers to showcase their movies. To be fair, there were a handful of movies from Pakistan and Sri Lanka too.

Interestingly, while the producers found the script interesting at first look, a lot of back and forth seems to have happened over the net between the two writers. Not to mention that location recce-ing, dress designing and editing happened over the web too!

the production mirrored the cross-cultural energy of the story itself in any number of ways. Bridging the geographic and cultural gap between Manhattan and Mumbai with hundreds of emails, Russow and Chandra worked night and day re-crafting and polishing the script... ...The cast was assembled in both India and New York, with screen tests streamed online to both locations for approvals. Similarly, costumes and set decorations were developed and created by teams working in both India and New York... (Director Chandra says)... the producers would get pieces of the film edited and I'd see the edited version online and note down the changes that I'd want them to make...

I'm sure a lot of things are done over email in any movie, but it seems to have been used extensively here. Makes me really curious to see how it has translated on screen. Other than that there is hardly any news around this movie.

- meeta, a part of the audience

A movie set around the 9/11 bomb blasts and no overt messages being lectured across the screen! It’s about Indians staying abroad, yet none of the typical cultural drama related to diaspora. Okay, I know this sounds like I liked the movie more because of what it was not, rather than for what it was. But, this movie is a simple love story set in the middle of the Hindu-muslim divide prevalent in the South Asian community settled in the US.

In about 75 minutes, four characters and their situation are all developed reasonably well. In fact, in just two adorable scenes the romance Ali (Amit Sial) feels for his beloved is established. Also, director, Tanuja Chandra makes a very smart move by not telling us much about the relationship between Saloni (Mahima Choudhary) and Harry (Vikram Chatwal). It adds to the believability of what is to follow.

Situations transitioned from one to another very subtly without too many dialogues. Characters were smart enough to understand the situation without the other having to spell it out for them. The audience too was treated with respect and not spoon-fed. I realized that I've become so used to melodrama when I felt relief at every point where melodrama could have been so easily resorted to. There were a couple of times when an awkward situation is built up to a pregnant pause, to be resolved with a simple one liner - straight just as is, without any ham-haw-ing.

Having said that, a couple of character transitions happened a bit too quickly and thus tilted towards unbelievable. This could also be because the focus seemed to be on narrating the over-simplified story rather than presenting it from a particular character's point of view. This I thought is what created a certain distance between the characters and the audience.

But, at most times you felt for the characters because of sincere performances from the entire cast. It was so refreshing to see Anupam Kher in a role that has his name written all over it. The pride, the joy, the grief, the hatred are all translucent for you to see through. Your hearts reach out to Mahima and Amit too. And I think this is the first time I have seen so many expressions on Suhasini Mulay's, otherwise stiff face.

Like the style of narration, the camerawork was also subtle with minimal movements. Also, the colors used had a dull, yet realistic, hue. There were no bright colors staring at your face. In fact, the colors almost matched the stock footage used of the 9/11 blasts.

Hope and a little sugar is a short and sweet story told well. The characters are charming and their treatment is thought out. But yet, there is this weird gap left by unexplained and super-quick transformations in characters and situations.

- meeta, a part of the audience

13 reviewers(?) - 4 yays 3 so-so 6 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...A film for mature audiences, HOPE & A LITTLE SUGAR packs a solid punch in those 90 minutes.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ... Tanuja Chandra adopts a very simplistic mode of story-telling but succeeds in extracting accomplished performances... full review

Thumbs up, by Sevanand Gaddala, Now Running.com : ...Chandra must be commended for taking a tragedy and not exploiting it for sentiment or using it to dress some mindless fare in serious garb.... full review

So-So, by Fatema H Kagalwala, Business of Cinema : ...The movie explores relationships, ethos and recent history to supply a wholesome definite context.... full review

So-So, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Visually, the film is good; acting-wise it stands out but for this one major flaw... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Though the exuberant star does surprisingly well for a part that seems to have no real personality or mind of her own, her wardrobe screams B-o-l-l-y-w-o-o-d.... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...The finale -- a face-off between the colonel and the Muslim boy – is at most, like a car without fuel. Static.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Hope & A Little Sugar makes an important point, and for the most part, does it in a way that's simple enough to understand. But there are still enough holes that leave you feeling... full review

Thumbs down, by Priyanka Sharma, J.A.M : ...Undoubtedly, Kajol and Ajay have acted well but it would be good if Ajay Devgan suffers from alzheimers and forgets he made this movie... full review

Thumbs down, by Amit R Agarwal, merinews : ...The narrative of the film is pretty much on the lines of Indra Kumar directed, Aamir-Manisha starrer, Mann (1999)... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, merinews : ...What looks more untrue is how just over a couple of scenes, this stranger gets incredibly close to the girl and her in-law's family... full review

Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...'Hope and A Little Sugar' is in fact, and sadly so, the latest in Ms. Chandra's string of eminently forgettable films... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Ali - a bike messenger for money, an aspiring photographer at heart finds himself falling in love with a married woman Saloni (Mahima Choudhary). This obviously is a problem...

What Worked

  • Ranjit Chaudhary's (he plays Uncle Ghosh) voice! Have been a fan since his Khoobsurat days.
  • The top camera angle used in the scene where Colonel Oberoi (Anupam Kher) breaks down. Really made him look small and helpless.
  • Mahima Chaudhary's photographs! Beautiful!!
  • Background music when Colonel Oberoi is driving towards Ali's house.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The emphasis of the climax of the story was that the characters overcome their problems with a little hope. I just hope that Ali wasn't actually for Harry to die!
  • When Ali discloses he is not Sukbhir, he is taken to Saloni's shop blind-folded, as punishment. Is having Saloni's sweets punishment?! And why blind-folded?
  • What happened at the bar where Colonel Oberoi (Anupam Kher) was having a drink? Why was Ali thrown out?
  • How come both Sr. and Jr. Mrs. Oberois are wearing make-up during the most tragic phase of their lives!?
  • What was the magic potion all about?


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • The white dust on a table at Saloni's shop. Looked very artificial.

Hope and a little sugar - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Running time:
75 minutes

Comments (5)

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Hope and a little sugar...

Another week without any high profile releases. Seeing too many of thesesuch weeks this year. Wonder whats cooking at all the big production houses. Anyway, up this Friday is Hope & a little sugar, another one based around the 9/11 timeframe, this time...

Hope and a little sugar - review...

Hope & a little sugar is a love story with a backdrop of terrorism. Yet it has no speeches and has a very subtle narration style. Worth a cozy DVD watch....

Hope and a little sugar - review...

Hope and a little sugar - review...

Hey KLBrisby, I liked the flow of the film too. Very few people liked it, so I'm glad you did too :)

It was pretty amazing, my erections had like a trigger reflex...it took nothing to get hard. And it was like that for the next two days, and part of the third..generic drug!!!!
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