Director Jeffrey D. Brown and co-star Sushmita Mukherjee wanted to do more than make a film, they wanted to make a difference for the kids like the one depicted in SOLD. That’s why they have partnered with NGOs, and are aiming for more than a run-of-the-mill theatrical release. In that spirit, there are links to several of them:
There are many more listed on the film’s official web site, SoldTheMovie.com, and after seeing the film, you will both understand why Brown’s friend, actor David Arquette, was willing to fly to India to shoot his scenes with a massive case of jet lag, and why Brown and everyone else involved in the film has made it their mission to bring hope to these exploited children.
The story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old sold into the sex trade in Calcutta from her home in Nepal, was the subject of Patricia McCormick’s worldwide best-selling novel of the same name. Bringing that story to the screen, as I learned when talking to the pair on April 4, 2016, involved a casting search on two continents involving over 1000 kids before they found Niyar Saikia.
Both he and Mukherjee were full of praise for the young actress, who delivers a stunningly mature performance for someone who turned 13 during filming. Mukherjee is equally compelling as the merciless brothel owner who forces Lakshmi into the business. I was curious about how Mukherjee, as famous for her comedic work as for drama, dealt with living with such a character, and her answer was both funny and insightful.
The story is horrifying, but Brown uses a lush cinematic approach, prompting one of my first questions to the director, before both he and Mukerjee discussed the duality of light and darkness, and the re-ensoulment of the Sacred Feminine, but we started with a philosophical question that troubled me. What does it say about humankind that we can commit such crimes against children, and that we are also so moved to action by the story McCormick has told?
The film co-stars Tillotama Some, Parambrata Chatterjee, Gillian Anderson, David Arquette, Seema Biswas, Priyanka Bose, Aritrika Roy, and Niyar Saikia as Lakshmi. Brown directed from a script he co-wrote with Joseph Kwong based on the novel by Patricia McCormick, which has been translated into 32 languages globally. Brown’s previous work includes DREAM WITH THE FISHES and winning an Oscar™ for MOLLY’S PILGRIM. Mukherjee’s many credits include DOSTANA, GOLMAAL: FUN FUN UNLIMITED, and KING UNCLE.