American Indian Filmmaker Prashanth Kamalakanthan’s Debut is a ‘Have a Good Life’ Road Trip Comedy | Global
‘Have a Nice Life,’ the feature debut by Native American writer / director Prashanth Kamalakanthan, which had its North American premiere at the Maryland Film Festival on May 23, follows a lost young stoner musician and Native American housewife in an unhappy arranged marriage.
Shot primarily in North Carolina, where Kamalakanthan grew up after immigrating from Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, “Have a Nice Life” is a road trip comedy retracing the unlikely friendship between Jyothi, a lonely Telugu housewife (played by the mother of the director, Jagathi Kamalakanthan) and Sophie, an unemployed stoner musician (Lucy Kaminsky). After reaching dead ends in life, the pair bump into each other at a pawnshop and soon find themselves on the run from the law, together on a wild American road trip, from Durham, North Carolina, to Montreal, Canada.
It is produced by Jake Perlin and Andrew Adair of Cinema Conservancy.
âAs a first-generation Indo-American filmmaker whose family arrived in America with nothing but our clothes and a parent’s soil to crash into, I’m proud to have written a story about it. ‘America I Know, featuring women like these. never directed a movie anywhere, âsaid Kamalakanthan, who wrote, directed and edited the feature film.
Blending a cast of well-known American indie talent with newbies, the film represents parts of American society rarely seen on screen, he said.
The film features a soundtrack of retro Indian pop and global psychedelia, and even contains a full-fledged Bollywood-style original dance sequence, filled with a back-up team of dancers.
âAt first I doubted. Would I be able to do it? I had my job as a soil agronomist, ârecalls Jagathi Kamalakanthan. âBut I enjoyed it every day. My favorite was riding with Lucy, my co-star. It was like a roller coaster, scary and exciting but also fun. Every day was a new adventure – and I only got the script every morning! “
The cast and crew lived and worked together in the Kamalakanthan family home.
âWhen Jyothi sings in the dance number, ‘Oh Sophie, how far are we?’ Sophie’s response is, âYou are here near me. This is really the spirit that we have tried to capture with this film. We drew our closest friends, family and artistic community around us, and we took this strange journey together, âadded Prashanth Kamalakanthan, who first studied film at Duke University and then at NYU. Tisch School of the Arts.