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The Laugh of Lakshmi, an India-Australia collaboration, has been announced for the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes Film Festival

The Laugh of Lakshmi, a co-production between India and Australia, was announced on Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival. S. Shakthidharan will write and direct the film.

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

According to Rakasree Basu, CEO of Frames Per Second Films in Mumbai, The Laugh of Lakshmi will be their first collaboration with Australia and will be produced by John Maynard at Felix Media in Australia. The film will be filmed in Tamil Nadu and Australia.

“I welcome India’s new film and TV incentive,” he added. This will undoubtedly encourage and enrich all foreign productions planning to film in India with knowledgeable and experienced Indian cast and crew. This initiative will encourage foreign filmmakers to explore intercultural workplaces, increase shared learning of filmmaking practices, and make India an appealing filming destination for international productions. As the Country of Honour in Cannes, India is off to a good start.” This is the first time a country has been honored by the Marche du Film, also known as the Cannes Film Market.

With this film, Shakthidharan, who is also the writer, will transition from the stage to the big screen. Counting and Cracking, a play set over four generations in Sri Lanka and Australia, was a huge success, winning seven Helpmann Awards in Australia. Counting and Cracking will soon be available in the United Kingdom.

According to Shakthidharan, The Laugh of Lakshmi is about a mother and son separated by war in Sri Lanka. The mother, a well-known classical Indian dancer, entrusts her young son, who is also a gifted dancer, to the care of her brother in Sydney. Despite being separated for twenty-five years and living in vastly different communities, the mother and son “discover” each other. She had been involved with the grassroots Tamil women farmers’ cooperative movement, whereas he had led a corporate life (with a forbidden romance thrown in).

Prasanna Vithanage, a member of the film’s production team and well known for his trilogy on the island nation’s 35-year war—Death on a Full Moon Day, August Sun, and With You, Without You—told me over the phone from Colombo that the world should know about his country’s suffering and resilience. The Laugh of Lakshmi would use moving imagery to tell the story of debilitating issues such as forced migration, homelessness, and tragic deaths.

Also Read: Aditi Rao Hydari debuts at Cannes in a Sabyasachi saree. See photos.