Set in New York in the weeks before and after 9/11, this poignant tale of love set against the forces of hate and intolerance centers on the romance between an aspiring Muslim photographer and a young Sikh woman.
Bike messenger, Ali Siddiqui (AMIT SIAL, debutant) meets the beautiful but married Saloni (MAHIMA CHAUDHRY,) a charismatic mithaai shop owner who encourages Ali's photography and becomes his muse. Despite Ali's secret and largely unrequited crush on Saloni, he develops a close friendship with her and her husband Harry (VIKRAM CHATWAL). But when tragedy strikes with the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001, her father-in-law, a retired army Colonel (ANUPAM KHER), devastated by grief and anger, directs his longstanding animosity towards Muslims at Ali, as the young man's affection for Saloni grows increasingly evident. Although the Colonel's wife (SUHASINI MULAY) bravely tries to pacify her husband, the Colonel, unable to accept life's pain, threatens to bring everything to a violent end.
An emotional drama, Hope and a Little Sugar is written and directed by TANUJA CHANDRA, for whom this is her first English language film. Joining Chandra behind the scenes is a seasoned film crew, including cinematographer NIRMAL JANI, who had earlier shot Dushman and Sur for her, as well as Costume Stylist, ANAITA SHROFF ADAJANIA (Dhoom, Race, Being Cyrus.) The producers for the film are two independent film-makers living in New York, SCOTT PARDO and GLENN RUSSOW, while the editor is HILLARY PEABODY. The music is by WAYNE SHARPE, New York based musician, who has also composed the background score of Prakash Jha's Gangajal (for which he won a Filmfare award) and Afghan filmmaker Jawad Wassal's Firedancer. Joining him in composing as well as in playback singing in some of the film's tracks are accomplished singers, SONU NIIGAAM and JASBIR JASSI.