Going Away, which is doing its rounds in the festival circuit, turns the spotlight on the dwindling Anglo-Indian community in the country

It may seem ironical, but producer Nigel Foote, himself a migrant Anglo-Indian who left for the U.K. and later settled down in Melbourne, Australia, has prompted director Harry MacLure to come up with the idea for Going Away. But, as Harry says, the situation today is quite different from those days. Today, the economic and job scenario in India is much better. The film is about the aspirations of the youth who still want to fly to distant shores, with nary a thought for the feelings of the family members. The process becomes more painful when the family belongs to the Anglo-Indian community, which is fast dwindling, mainly due to migration to other countries.

That the community is at a crossroads, with GenNext merging with the lifestyles of other communities and the older generation sticking to 'very English' traditions, is evident. MacLure explores these aspects — family togetherness, love and emotions, nostalgia — in his 43-minute short English film, Going Away.

In the end, Kirk DeCruz (Joel Nigli), the young call centre executive, goes away in search of greener pastures, leaving behind his aged uncle, his sister, her daughter and his girlfriend. But, in the process, he has broken many a heart — especially that of his niece who looked up to him as a father figure, in the absence of a runaway dad.

That Kirk had worked his way through to Australia, in secrecy, enlisting the help of his cousin, Ray DeCruz (Denzil Smith) who promised to sponsor him in the hope of marrying Kirk’s sister Karen McFarland (Shaan Katari Libby) on whom he always had a crush, irks the entire family, especially his sister who feels cheated on this unusual barter.

In a short film, it is difficult to dwell on feelings and relationships. It’s sad an editor of Anthony's calibre had to resort to abrupt cuts between scenes. But, Harry has managed to fit in a message in a fast and furious mode for those dreaming of migrating to foreign lands. One wishes Nigel was a little more liberal with his Australian dollars to help Harry extend the film to one hour. This would have brought out the romance between Kirk and Jessica (Sonu Somapalan), a bit of flashback of Karen's life and maybe the early infatuation between Karen and Ray. That Harry has managed to convey all this through dialogues, speaks volumes for his screenwriting ability.

Mohamed Yusof as Uncle Jerry Boy is his most natural self, being an accomplished theatre actor. Shaan delivers her role with great aplomb, while nothing much can be said of Joel who was supposed to be the catalyst in the story; he has to work on both dialogue delivery and display of emotions. While the dialogue delivery was well above par in all cases, that of the young niece, Gillian Williamson as Jenny, did sound a bit contrived at times.

Two other elements stand out in the entire production — the background score and the music by Bruce J. Lee and, the song ‘Neither Here Nor There,’ sung by Michiline Igayemi. Siddhartha Nuni’s cinematography was flawless. Going Away means leaving your heart behind, says the tag line for the film. As one left the preview theatre, one could sense emotions riding high among the largely Anglo-Indian audience who were specially invited by Nigel and Harry for this show.