Los Angeles: Critically-acclaimed director Deepa Mehta's next feature "Funny Boy" has been acquired by Hollywood filmmaker Ava DuVernay's ARRAY Releasing. An adaptation of author Shyam Selvadurai's 1994 novel of the same, the movie will be released theatrically in select cities and also debut on streamer Netflix on December 10, reported Deadline.
Set in Sri Lanka during the 1970s and 1980s, the film explores the sexual awakening of its young protagonist Arjie (played by Arush Nand/Brandon Ingram) from a young boy, deemed funny by disapproving family, to a teenager enamoured by a male classmate. As political tensions escalate to a boiling point between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese, the young boy comes of age in a society and family that doesn't embrace difference outside of societal norms. The film chronicles Arjie's struggle to find balance and self-love despite the absence of empathy and understanding.
Mehta, known for critically-lauded trilogy "Earth", "Fire" and "Water", called "Funny Boy" a film about the "power of love". "In many ways,'Funny Boy'reflects the times of divisiveness we are living in today, where the call for a just society, a call for humanity is finally being heard.
"Having ARRAY Releasing by our side feels like'Funny Boy'has found not only a safe home during these tumultuous times but also a home that shimmers with hope for all who ARRAY welcomes in," the filmmaker added. In a joint statement, DuVernay and ARRAY President Tilane Jones hailed "Funny Boy" as a "cinematic gem".
"Deepa Mehta's'Funny Boy'builds upon the iconic filmmaker's provocative canon of work as a film that is beautiful to the eye and emotional for the heart," they said. "Her singular vision for adapting this best-selling novel invites film lovers to delve deep into themes of identity, acceptance and family, while she shares the majesty and turmoil of Sri Lanka during this particular time in history," they added.