Danish Renzu's 'The Illegal' to release digitally in January

·3-min read

New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) Immigrant drama 'The Illegal', starring 'Life of Pi' star Suraj Sharma, is heading for a digital release in January 2021, according to film's director Danish Renzu.

The film follows Hassan, a young film school student (Sharma) from middle-class India who is forced to drop out to support his family while staying in the US as an undocumented worker.

'The Illegal' will be available on digital platforms as they had to cancel theatrical plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Los Angeles-based filmmaker said.

'I'm trying to write new scripts. I have also been learning piano. I'm trying all things. But I'm unsure how long this will last. The future is very uncertain. All we've is hope,' the 34-year-old filmmaker told PTI.

'The Illegal' is his second film following his debut feature independent film, 'Half Widow', the 2017 Kashmir-set drama.

Based in Delhi's Daryaganj neighbourbood, the upcoming movie empathises with immigrants and shines a light on the unfortunate reality that how some of them end up becoming 'illegal', Renzu, an alum of the University of California, said.

'The whole idea is to tell the audience that they are not 'illegal'. They have a story and a face. It is such a relevant topic considering the situation across the globe. When you talk about illegal immigration in America, it often happens that people from Mexico are labelled like that.

'Here you see the journey of an Indian guy in Delhi coming here and becoming an illegal immigrant. It could be anyone. There are so many people in Los Angeles where people are working under the table and mostly they are illegal immigrants from India who haven't been home for 20 years or so. They have to give up on their dreams to support their families back home.' The Srinagar-bred director said Sharma, also known for series like 'Homeland', 'God Friended Me' and Hindi film 'Phillauri', has done a fantastic job.

'He was coming back in a film after a long time. I thought he was perfect for the role.' 'The Illegal' also stars Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Adil Hussain, and Neelima Azeem.

Renzu said the fact that most of the cast turned out to be people hailing from Delhi was a happy coincidence.

'Adil sir is a legend. I met him at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles premiere of his Norwegian film 'What Will People Say'. I met Shweta at the Chicago premiere of 'Masaan'. I wanted to work with her after seeing her performance in the film. I told her I will write a role for her some day.

The director said the city of New Delhi also features as an important character in 'The Illegal'.

'Delhi is the heart and soul of the film. Hassan has grown up in middle class family seeing the colourful streets of Daryaganj. This very part of the city represents India,' he added.

'Glee' alum Iqbal Theba, 'Jane the Virgin' actor Jully Lee, and Jay Ali of 'Daredevil' fame also round the cast. PTI RDS BK BK