Cathy Rodda (Unfinished Sky) and Lisa Duff (Last Cab to Darwin) are joining Anupam Sharma’s English and Hindi-language film Honour as the film becomes a rare Australian entry to be selected for the prestigious Film Bazaar in Goa, India. Rodda will serve as producer alongside Sharma and Duff as executive producer.

The film is currently in final stages of development and will be presented at South Asia’s largest co-production market, Film Bazaar, from November 20-24, 2022. Forum Films acquired distribution rights for Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands and Papua New Guinea before Covid.

Honour is a social thriller based on true events and is the story of a bride, Durga, who comes to Australia with a million dreams which soon turn into a nightmare of dowry and domestic abuse. Trapped in a web of deceit, greed, visa regulations, and pressures to protect the honour of her family, herself and the Indian community in Australia, Durga decides to run when she gets pregnant and is forced to abort.

Rodda and Sharma will be hosted by the co-production market for curated one on one meetings with financiers and co-producers from around the world. Producer Rodda said: “I’m pleased to be producing this rich and insightful story for the screen. Honour is a compelling drama with a thriller twist, embedded within the Australian Indian community. It will be an important film in raising local voices and telling diverse stories that need to be told.”

Producer/director Sharma said: This is one Australian story which needs to be told and now. We are so encouraged to have mainstream Australian producers of the stature of Cathy Rodda and Lisa Duff agreeing to take this important diverse Australian film to a global audience particularly in Australia, India, Canada, and the UK. We are particularly indebted to Melbourne based leaders like Professor Manjula O’Connor who provided us access to the inspiring survivors and their stories. The film is based on true events after years of research which makes it all the more real.”

Professor Manjula Datta O’Connor said: “I have led a campaign to get justice for many Indian girls in Victoria and for Parliament to criminalise dowry abuse. It is so encouraging that such a high-powered team will be showcasing this important issue through the effective tool of cinema and support social change. I look forward to an engaging film and wish the team all the success and my support.”

Honour will mark the return of Bollywood stars filming in Victoria after a gap of more than 12 years and is set to become one of the most high-end Indian / Australian feature films of this genre ever shot in the state.

Rodda said: “I am delighted that we were able to pull this project to Victoria. The cultural and financial investment into this Victorian Indian story will go a long way in strengthening Victorian Indian film and cultural links.”

Sharma added: “Thanks to our Producer Cathy, I am particularly happy that we are basing this film out of Victoria, a state where I have had the privilege of bringing the first and maximum number of Bollywood films since 1998.”

Sharma is currently in post-production of feature documentary Brand Bollywood with co-writer / editor Karin Steininger and producer Claire Haywood, and in-production on feature Framed with development investment from SBS, Screen Australia, and Screen NSW.

Rodda is best known for her multi award-winning feature Unfinished Sky, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and was the 4th highest grossing Australian film of 2008, and for Finnish/German/Australian co-production Iron Sky which premiered at Berlinale in 2012 and sold worldwide. She founded production company Cathartic Pictures in 2020 following four years at Film Victoria where she worked across production investment in narrative and documentary features, transmedia and adult and children’s TV.

Duff’s producing career spans over 20 years. Her feature film credits include producer of feature films Last Train to Freo; Last Cab to Darwin starring Michael Caton and the Academy Award® nominated Jacki Weaver; and Sexing the Label for SBS; among many others. She currently serves as Head of Scripted for EQ Media Group.