If your knowledge of Indian cinema is limited to Bollywood musicals, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, which runs from 1 to 11 May, will give you a broader view. The festival includes recent mainstream and independent films from across India and the subcontinent and screens at HOYTS cinemas in Melbourne and Chadstone.
Lakshmi, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and set in Hyderabad, looks at one of the darker aspects of contemporary Indian society. It is based on the true story of a 14-year-old girl who is sold into prostitution and becomes the first person in the district of Andhra Pradesh to successfully have sex traffickers prosecuted. The film has generated controversy in India for its unsentimental approach and for some violent scenes. This is not a film for the timid but it raises awareness of a form of systemic abuse that affects children in India and other parts of the world.
Lakshmi screens at HOYTS Chadstone on Friday 2 May and HOYTS Melbourne Central on Tuesday 6 May as part of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.