Tamil superstar Dhanush’s first Hollywood film, “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir,” is set to open the inaugural edition of the Bay Area South Asian Film Festival Sept. 21. The film also stars Barkhad Abdi, Erin Moriarty, Seema Biswas, Laurent Lafitte, Abel Jafri and Uma Tharman.
The film is based on French writer Romain Puertolas’ 2014 bestselling novel of the same name which was translated in over 35 languages. The novel describes the death of a hustler’s mother leading him from Mumbai on an extraordinary voyage in search of his estranged father. He finds love in a Swedish furniture store in Paris, and danger with Somalian migrants in England in what ultimately becomes an unexpected journey of self-discovery. Dhanush plays the protagonist.
Dhanush began shooting for the film earlier this year in May in Mumbai. The first schedule kicked off in Mumbai and the film was then majorly shot in four countries, in India, Brussels, Paris and Rome. It explores the journey of a fakir who tricks people into believing that he has special powers. Dhanush will play the role of that fakir named Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod.
The festival, which runs through Sept. 23, on its lineup, has feature films, short films, documentaries, small screen productions, theater, music, and any other medium storytellers choose to present their creative work.
Director Anup Singh’s “Song of the Scorpions,” starring Irrfan Khan, Waheeda Rehman and Golshifteh Farahani, will be screened Sept. 22 at 6:45 p.m. The same day, director Vandana Kataria’s “Noblemen,” starring Kunal Kapoor and Ali Haji, will be screened at 11 a.m.
BASAFF’s mission, it stated in a press release, is to bring together all visual and performing art forms and audience from South Asia and those interested in South Asia. The festival provides a platform for innovative films, bringing the best and established filmmakers and also independent, unique, emerging voices.
BASAFF comes together with one of the leading theater production houses of the San Francisco Bay Area, Enacte Arts, to showcase the premiere presentation of their latest production, “Queen.” Directed by Vinita Sud Belani, the performance will be staged at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 29 at 2:00 p.m. and 6 p.m. This is at a different venue from the film screenings, which will be held at the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall in Palo Alto, and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View, Calif.
The opening night performance, “Kaleidoscope – A Journey through India,” blends traditional folk music with popular Bollywood songs and dance by Xpressions’ artistic director Srividya Eashwar. The performance will feature a special dance tribute to Sridevi. The closing night performance features a classical dance performance by Samhara.
While this will be Dhanush’s Hollywood debut, he has been doing ample work back home as well. He has wrapped up the shooting of Vetrimaaran’s gangster trilogy Vada Chennai, which will hit the theatres this year as well.
He will also be seen in Gautham’s romantic thriller Enai Noki Paayum Thotta and Balaji Mohan’s gangster comedy Maari 2. On the production front, he will bankroll Pa Ranjith’s gangster drama Kaala, starring his father-in-law Rajinkanth.