A new film called "That Game of Chess" is the story of an Indian immigrant who pursues his dreams in the United States. Filmmaker Viresh Sinha is an immigrant who hopes his first venture into cinema opens doors in Hollywood.
Eight years ago, Viresh Sinha came to Los Angeles with a dream. The computer engineer wanted to make movies. He left his job and opened an Indian import store, giving him time to write a script.
He sold his house and spent his savings, $200,000, making the movie. An established Indian actor and director, Raja Bundela, directed the film and veteran Indian actor Alok Nath co-starred in it. Viresh played the starring role.
With the project completed, the young filmmaker is getting out the import business to market the movie.
Titled That Game of Chess, the film begins with a chess game between the young protagonist, named Rahul, and his father. If the father wins, the young man will stay at home, but if the son wins, he will leave for America. With some help from his sympathetic dad, the son wins.
"So he came with lots of dreams, and he was also excited about this new country," Sinha explains. "He thought it was going to be easy, but it did not turn out that easy, actually."
The young man made three promises to his father, based loosely on the promises that Mahatma Gandhi made when he left India for Britain.
FATHER: "No alcohol. No drugs. No women."
It is a film about culture conflict, and the young man's coming-to-terms with his freedom from family responsibilities. Viresh's experiences were not as dramatic as those shown in the movie, but the 33-year-old filmmaker says immigrants often feel disoriented.
"It could happen because when you leave your country, when you are in a new country, it could become very lonely," Sinha says. "You do not have any friends, any family. And especially at that time, when you do not have that support system, any setback could lead to that kind of situation."
In the background of the film is the figure of Gandhi, who left India on his own journey and later returned to transform it.
YOUNG MAN: "Like Gandhi said, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you. And then, you win."
Viresh Sinha says the proceeds from the sale of his business will let him work fulltime at finding a distributor for his movie.