Liar's Dice (film)
Liar's Dice is a 2013 Hindi road movie written and directed by Geetu Mohandas and starring Geetanjali Thapa and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Telling the story of a young mother from a remote village who, going in search of her missing husband, goes missing, the film examines the human cost of migration to cities and the exploitation of migrant workers.
Official Film Poster
|Directed by||Geetu Mohandas|
|Produced by||Alan McAlex|
|Written by||Geetu Mohandas|
|Music by||John Bosters|
|Edited by||B. Ajithkumar|
The film is Geetu's feature film debut with the film; she had previously made the short film, Kelkkunndo, in 2008, which received wide acclaim. Liar's Dice had its world premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival in October 2013, where it took part in the Indian competition section. In January 2014, the film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. It won a special jury award at Sofia International Film Festival.
Liar's Dice went on to receive two National Film Awards at the 61st National Film Awards : Best Actress, for Geetanjali Thapa, and Best Cinematography, for Rajeev Ravi. The film was India's Official Entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated. Art Director Ajay Sharma who had worked in movies such as Happy Journey (2014) won the Best Art Director Award at Maharashtra State Film Awards.
The canvas of the film stretches from a small village on the mountains called Chitkul, which borders China, to the industrial land of big dreams, Delhi. Kamala, a young mother from a tribal community, her three-year-old daughter, and her daughter's pet goat embark on a journey to find her husband who has been missing for last 5 months. Along the way, they meet an army deserter, Nawazuddin, who accompanies them. They travel together for a while and she and her daughter are lost so he decides to help them. Kamala faints and Nawazuddin helps her. Nawazuddin is attracted to her but Kamala is on her guard. Nawazuddin then helps them get on the bus and trains and also pays for Kamala's goat but Kamala has to pay him for that. Kamala finally reaches her husband's boss' house and meets with the boss' wife and she finds out that the boss is away and suspects that the wife is hiding something from her. She immediately tries to cut ties with Nawazuddin and pays him less than what he had asked for. Nawazuddin gets angry and he follows her, slaps her and scolds her for what she did. Both then meet again in the train station. She decides to go Delhi to search for her husband. Nawazuddin decides to accompany them in order to keep them safe. He convinces them and asks for a lesser amount from them this time. As they arrive in Delhi they try to rent a room, the Hotel manager is suspicious and greedy so he only gives them room for one day. He asks them to vacate. Nawazuddin tries to ask for one with 2 room but he is denied. The hotel manager further suspects the relationship between them as Nawazuddin and Kamala don't appear as a normal husband and wife. Sleeps downstairs and tells Kamala that he will search for her husband's whereabouts and goes in search of her husband. A whole day passes and the hotel management is forced to evacuate Kamala and they take the goat as a collateral saying the money was insufficient. Nawazuddin then comes late and realizes that hotel management has chased Kamala out of the room and taken her goat. So he fights with the management before fleeing from them. He desperately searches for them and he finally during the night finds her with her daughter. He then hugs her as she looks tired, exhausted and depressed about the situation. She breaks free from him and they move to another place. Nawazuddin then again tell her that he has to look for her and goes out leaving his bag. Kamala calls to her husband's phone and this time she finally gets a ringtone however she hears the ringtone from Nawazuddin's bag. She opens his bag to find her husband's wallet, his watch and his belongings which indicates that her Husband was dead all along and the company was trying to cover it up. This shows that many companies hire poor people to work in very bad conditions and don't take responsibility for their lives. Later in the film, Nawazuddin works as a constructor, the same job as Kamala's husband and Kamala is back in her village perhaps as we hear her name called out by Manya amidst snow capped houses. This film talks about a sense of futility; anger against the system and also explores the dynamics of a man woman relationship. It’s a linear narrative travel story with a more alarming backdrop of the socio political conditions of India today.
Director Geetu Mohandas is a noted actress in Malayalam cinema. She had written the script of the film in 2007, before her debut short Kelkkunndo (Are You Listening) in 2008. However she was unable to get the film financed because of unusual storyline and a relatively unknown cast. Nevertheless, due to the critical success received at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) for the short film, she managed to get a project development grant of €10,000 (around Rs.8.45 lakh now) from the IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund.
The film faced difficulties in raising funds before Alan McAlex and Ajay G. Rai, producers from Jar Pictures stepped in and produced the film. The film is co-produced by Geetu’s own production company, Unplugged.
Alan McAlex, with the experience of line producing small budget independent films such as Frozen (2007), Harud (2011), also helmed the production of the film. Liar's Dice was shot on a low budget using a small crew in under a month in March, 2012, at the Chitkul village in Kinnaur district, Shimla, and various location in Delhi, including the Jama Masjid. The cinematography was by Geetu’s husband, Rajeev Ravi, who has previously worked in movies such as Dev.D (2009) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) directed by Anurag Kashyap which were line produced by Ajay G. Rai. Art Director Ajay Sharma worked in movies such as Happy Journey (2014) won the Best Art Director Award, Maharashtra State Film Awards (2015) Welcome 2 Karachi (2015) Fever (2016) Bob Biswas (2020)
- 61st National Film Awards
- Sofia International Film Festival, 2014
- Won Special Jury Award
- NYIFF 2014
- Pesaro International Film Festival, 2014
- Won Lino Micciche Award for the Best Film
- Granada Cines del Sur Film Festival
- Won Bronce Alhambra award
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