Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Mumbai Film Festival Preview | Liar’s Dice

Among the words used to describe the movie Liar’s Dice during its development stages—mundane, boring, simple and linear.

No offence was meant for writer and director Geethu Mohandas, since she was the one using these words. Liar’s Dice, which will be shown in the Indian competition section at the forthcoming Mumbai Film Festival (17-24 October), appears to borrow conventions from the road movie and thriller genres, but it is an echt arthouse depiction of a woman’s quest for her missing husband. The actor-turned-film-maker’s feature debut follows Kamala, who leaves behind her village in Himachal Pradesh to look for her missing husband in the hostile plains below. Little is said and much left to the viewer’s powers of observation as Kamala, played by Geetanjali Thapa, sets out along with her young daughter and a lamb and becomes increasingly dependent on the assistance of a man of mystery whom she meets along the way. Nawazuddin, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is a keeper of secrets—a gambler, an itinerant and possibly an army deserter, who eyes Kamala with some interest and extends his brusque hold over her as the journey unfolds.

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Liar’s Dice depends heavily on the wary concert between the two leads, with occasional back-up provided by adorable child actor Manya Gupta. On-the-up talent Thapa is familiar to film festival regulars for her appearances in ID and Monsoon Shootout, neither of which has been released. Siddiqui doesn’t need a covering letter any more—his intensity and intelligence have enlivened such films as Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur and The Lunchbox. “You have to leave Nawaz alone, he has to be on his own trip," Mohandas says. “He listens a lot, asks very pertinent questions, and completely trusts his director."

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Liar’s Dice, which was actually written before Kelkkunnundo, shares with the short film a spirit of inquiry into the issues and conflicts facing ordinary people. Kelkkunnundo examines the effects of urbanization through a young girl who is blind from birth. Liar’s Dice confronts the human cost of the impact of migration through the intertwining stories of Kamala and Nawazuddin, whose journeys and choices are determined by their socio-economic circumstances. “There is a strong political undercurrent in the movie," Mohandas says. “It’s about a dog-eat-dog world in which there will always be a prey and a predator."

Liar’s Dice will be screened on 18 October at BIG Metro Screen 3 at 8pm and on 19 October at Cinemax Versova Screen 4 at 5.45pm.

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