Dheepan, a Tamil-French drama film which won the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the eminent Cannes Film Festival had its Indian premiere recently at the Jio 17th Mumbai Film Festival. Acclaimed French filmmaker Jacques Audiard, who made award-winning classics like A Prophet and Rust and Bone, has written and directed this film based on the experiences of three Srilankan Tamil refugees in France.
Partly inspired by Montesquieu’s book Persian Letters, Dheepan follows the events in the lives of three strangers – a former separatist fighter, a young Tamil woman and an orphaned girl – as they attempt to pose as a closely knit family in a housing project outside Paris to escape the war crimes back in their homeland. Novelist and real-life former Tamil Tiger child soldier, Antonythasan Jesuthasan plays Sivadhasan, a former Tamil LTTE member who assumes the name Dheepan to take a fresh chance at life. Chennai-based theatre artist Kalieaswari Srinivasan makes her acting debut as his pretence wife, who finds true love in the unlikeliest of places.
A hard-hitting yet endearing film that celebrates the human spirit, and in the process breaking several preconceived notions on immigrants. Dheepan might not get a theatrical release in India due to its sensitive premise. If it does, watch it for some unadulterated story-telling!