The Singaporean director of Indian origin K Rajagopal’s A Yellow Bird will be part of the Critics Week -- a sidebar that together with the Directors’ Fortnight runs along with the Cannes Film Festival (May 11 to 22). ‘Bandit Queen’ Seema Biswas will be part of A Yellow Bird cast.
The film is Rajagopal’s debut feature and will qualify for the Camera d’Or Prize awarded to a helmer’s first full-length fiction film. Rajagopal -- who won the Singapore International Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize for three consecutive years with his short movies -- will be at Cannes, where his film will premiere on May 18.
A Yellow Bird is the poignant account of 38-year-old Siva Sudhakar, a Singaporean whose ancestors came from India. When he is released from prison after a long sentence for contraband smuggling, he is shattered by his mother’s anger and pain. Soon he begins his search for his daughter and former wife. Unable to find them, he gets peace in the arms of a Chinese prostitute, but soon finds himself confronting an awful truth about his family. Wracked by guilt, Sudhakar is completely lost.
A Yellow Bird stars Singaporean actor Sivakumar Palakrishnan along with Chinese movie star Huang Lu as well as a string of newcomers.
“A Yellow Bird aims to examine the position of the ‘Indian’ in contemporary Singaporean society,” explains Rajagopal. “Indians form seven per cent of a non-homogeneous local population that is also made up of Malays, Eurasians and the predominant Chinese. The story stems from my own experiences as an Indian-Singaporean where a sense of belonging and collective consciousness vis-a-vis my birth nation are frequently questioned and tested. One question I often encounter in my own country is, ‘Where are you from?’ A person of Indian origin is at times not recognized as a Singaporean, but an outsider.”
Rajagopal, who was born in 1965 in Singapore, has worked on stage and in film for over 15 years. One of his most notable roles on stage was as King Lear.