Cannes Film Festival: India-Australia Joint Venture Announces The Laugh Of Lakshmi

The Laugh of Lakshmi, an India-Australia joint production, was announced at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday. The film will be written and directed by S. Shakthidharan.

A new hybrid dance drama, The Laugh of Lakshmi, will begin shooting in India in early 2023. It will be an India-Australia joint venture, helmed by S Shakthidharan, an Australian with Sri Lankan and Tamil ancestry. The project was announced on May 19 at the Cannes Film Festival.

Rakasree Basu, CEO of Frames Per Second Films, Mumbai, said that The Laugh of Lakshmi would be their first venture with Australia, and would be produced by John Maynard at Felix Media in Australia. The movie will be shot in Tamil Nadu and Australia.

He added, “I welcome the newly announced incentive for foreign film and television production by the Government of India. This will certainly encourage and enrich all foreign productions planning to shoot in India with knowledgeable and proficient Indian cast and crew. This initiative will motivate foreign moviemakers to explore intercultural workspace, boost shared learning of filming practices and make India an attractive filming destination for international productions. It is indeed a good start for India as the Country of Honour in Cannes.” This is the first-ever time that Marche du Film or Cannes Film Market has honoured a country.

 

Shakthidharan–also the writer–will be crossing over from a career in theatre to cinema with this film. His play, Counting, and Cracking, set over four generations in Sri Lanka and Australia, was a huge success and won seven Helpmann Awards in Australia. Counting and Cracking will soon open in the UK.

Shakthidharan says The Laugh of Lakshmi is a story of a mother and son separated by war in Sri Lanka. The mother, a celebrated classical Indian dancer, sends her young son, also a brilliant dancer, to the care of her brother in Sydney. Despite a twenty-five-year separation and living in vastly different communities, the mother and son “discover” each other. While he had led a corporate life (with a forbidden romance thrown in), she had been involved with the grassroots Tamil women farmers’ cooperative movement.

The celebrated Sri Lankan auteur, Prasanna Vithanage, part of the film’s production team and well known for his trilogy on the 35-year war in the island nation–Death on a Full Moon Day, August Sun and With You, Without You–told me from Colombo over the telephone that the world should know about the suffering and resilience of the people of his country. Cinema must tell stories of debilitating issues like forced migration, loss of home and tragic deaths, and The Laugh of Lakshmi would convey these through moving imagery.

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