Award-winning filmmaker Geethu Mohandas must be a believer in the journey more than the destination.
Her film, Liar’s Dice found its way to the India Gold section of the 15th Mumbai Film Festival via the Rotterdam International Film Festival where it was screened earlier. More so, her protagonist Kamala, mother of a three-year-old girl has to forego her tribal moorings, temporarily to seek her missing husband. The film has a linear narrative about a woman belonging to a small tribal village in Himachal Pradesh, called Chitkul.
Lest any presumptions creep in, the wife of renowned cinematographer Rajeev Ravi, informs, “There are 250 families in Chitkul that are cut out. They are extremely educated though the men of the community have migrated to cities for greener pastures. In Liar’s Dice, Kamala has to travel to Delhi to find her husband though knowing the perils of the journey.” Why the hills, we asked. Das remarks that it has a lot to do with the value system where there is still innocence and purity in the mountains as opposed to the dog-eat-dog world of cities.
She admits that the theme of journey has been uncanny for her, too, as she transformed herself from an actor in the South Indian film industry to proclaiming her turf behind the scenes, despite being “young looking”. After five to six years of finding her feet, a National Award accompanied by three international awards for her Malayalam film Kelkkunnundo (Are You Listening?) came her way. “The Hubert Bals Fund from Rotterdam is awarded twice a year, and I was one among 11 who got the 10,000 Euro grant.”
Mohandas shares that the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer was shot in real spaces with real people. “I wanted to make a film about people who were going unaccounted for, be it at construction sites or farmers. We concentrated on low-key locations; we shot in Delhi’s Jama Masjid where the crew merged with the real crowd.” And, was this possible with Nawaz, we asked. “He wasn’t famous then. I hadn’t seen a lot of his work but I knew of him as a fresh and terrific actor who became my natural choice,” signs off the young mother.