Geethu Mohandas’ Liar’s Dice makes it to Sundance competition line-up

The film was premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival earlier this year

Geethu Mohandas, the Malayalam actor who enjoyed a successful career in the Kerala film industry beginning as a child artiste in Veendum, and whose notable credits include Fazil’s Life Is Beautiful alongside Mohanlal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Naalu Pennungal, has hit the big time. In 2009, she called time on a 27-film career that also included two Tamil films – Mouli’s Nala Damayanti alongside Madhavan and K. Balachander’s Poi – and turned director with the short Kelkunnundo. Now, her feature length directorial debut Liar’s Dice has been selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition. The last Indian film to compete at this section of Sundance was Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live.

Liar’s Dice premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival earlier this year. The plot goes thus: Kamala, a young woman from the village of Chitkul, leaves her native land with her daughter to search for her missing husband. Along the journey, they encounter Nawazuddin, a free-spirited army deserter with his own selfish motives who helps them reach their destination. The cast includes Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Geetanjali Thapa, Manya Gupta. The Sundance Film Festival unspools January 16-26 at Park City, Utah.

Ritesh Batra’s acclaimed The Lunchbox will also be screened at Sundance, but out of competition in the Spotlight section. Batra’s short film Master Chef about a boot polish boy who harbours dreams of being a chef. The Bill Gates Foundation and the Sundance Institute commissioned the film. Batra will reluctantly drag himself away from food for his next film Photograph, which is an unusual love story about the relationship between a photographer and one of his models.

Meanwhile, back in South India, while Kamal Haasan fans eagerly wait for Vishwaroopam 2, now delayed to February, and Rajinikanth fans continue their seemingly never-ending wait for Kochadaiiyaan, now postponed to April, there are other interesting films happening. Gautham Vasudev Menon, still smarting from the failure of Ekk Deewana Tha, will for the first time team with Ajith Kumar in an as yet untitled venture. AR Rahman will compose.

However, all eyes are on the biggest South Indian film in a while, yes, bigger than the Rajini/Kamal movies. It is Enthiran director Shankar’s next magnum opus, I, starring Chiyaan Vikram, Amy Jackson, Santhanam and the rightly forgotten in Bollywood but desperately trying to resurrect his career in the south Upen Patel. The film is modestly budgeted at only Rs 70 crore. Shankar is a director who does not know the word ‘small’ and I promises to be a gargantuan slice of entertainment, scored by the ubiquitous AR Rahman and shot by the God of Indian cinematography PC Sriram. I is due a February 1 release and Kamal will ensure that Vishwaroopam 2 will not clash with what should be the blockbuster of the year.