Saurav Rai shot this, his first feature film, in his home village. The mainly amateur cast even partially consists of family members. The calm realism with long takes, acute asides, lively observations and hidden tensions aligns with the neorealism-inspired Indian film movement that counterbalances Bollywood.
The Invitation depicts relations in a mountain village in Darjeeling through the eyes of an uninhibited 10-year-old. Tashi and his grandmother are some of the poorest inhabitants. They do odd jobs for the landowner who is busy organising a wedding for his urbane son (Saurav Rai). The bridegroom's father dislikes Tashi, but this doesn't deter the enterprising young man from doing his utmost to get an invitation. A small incident has major consequences in this modest tale with universal appeal.