About the film

Painting Life

Language         : English (plus Hindi, Lepcha, Bhutia, Tibetan, Wancho and Malayalam)
Duration : 140min
Status :Completed (July 2018)
Aspect ratio :Cinemascope
Audio format :5.1


A film crew led by a hit Bollywood diretor arrives in a remote himalayan village to shoot a song and dance sequence for their upcoming blockbuster. Soon they find themselves cut off from the outside world after torrential downpours and landslides. They are trapped with no basic amenities or means of communication and are totally at the mercy of the forces of nature. more..

The team, having been accustomed only to the breakneck pace and luxury of urban life, struggles to cope with the total isolation and the rough conditions. They are forced to interface closely with nature and the local folk and experience life at a much gentler pace. They also get exposed to the challenges faced by the local people.

For the director, who has been highly successful commercially, cinema is mainly an entertainment business with no connect to the real world or social issues. He saw the valley as merely a picturesque locale for his shoot. Through a series of intense and unforgettable experiences, he begins to see the reality beyond. His eyes open to the travails of the breathtakingly beautiful land and its beleaguered residents. How those eventful days under siege, affect the thoughts and priorities of the filmmaker, both on the personal and filmmaking fronts, forms the central theme of the film.


The film is shot entirely in Sikkim, an Indian state that borders China. With its magnificent landscapes and stunning vistas, the state itself features as a major character in the movie. The movie also talks about the rampant dam construction which has systematically choked off all the rivers and badly impacted the ecology of this once-pristine state. A number of NGOs and activists from the state who continue to work tirelessly against projects that threaten the ecosystem of Sikkim, were associated with the movie both on and behind the camera.


Painting Life is a truly pan Indian project with a cast and crew from 10 different Indian states. The cast of the film includes:


Painting Life is the first English feature film directed by Bijukumar Damodaran (Dr Biju), a three-time National Award winner filmmaker from Kerala, India. His earlier eight films have received five national awards, four Indian panorama selections, thirteen kerala state awards and many festival selections including Cannes, Montreal, Telluride, Cairo, Iran, Shanghai, Eurasia, Jeonju, Tallinn, IFFK and IFFI. Painting Life will be his fourth film to be screened at the prestigious Montreal world film festival. more..

The veteran cinematographer MJ Radhakrishnan, the 7-time Kerala State Film Award winner and recipient of many international recognitions including Caméra d'Or in Cannes Film Festival 1999, is behind the camera. The sound design, recording and mixing are performed by the National award winning team of Jayadevan Chakkadath and Pramod Thomas. The background score of the film is composed by the renowned Singaporean composer Mark Chan.

The film is co-produced, along with Blue Ocean Pictures, by Silicon Media is known for its art house productions which have fetched more than 15 Kerala state film awards and many international recognitions including festival selections at Berlin, Montreal, BFI, Durban, Kerala, Trinidad-Tobago etc.

Crew list :

Written and directed by :Bijukumar Damodaran
Produced by :Ushadevi BS
Director of Photography :MJ Radhakrishnan
Sound Mixing :Pramod Thomas
Location Sync sound :Smijith Kumar PB
Sound Design :Jayadevan Chakkadath
Original Music Score :Mark Chan
Editing :Davis Manuel
Production Design :Ajayan V Kaatungal
Costume design :Aravind KR
Make up :Pattanam Shah
Production Manager :Anil Kumar Nambiar
Prod co-ordination (Sikkim) :Kinzong Bhutia
Stills :Reneesh Palodan
Design :Dileep Daz
Colorist :Ramesh Iyer
Associate Directors :Siraj Shah
:Sunil CN
: Davis Manuel
Assistant Directors :Muhammed Febin
: Govardhan BK
Associate Cameraman :Sharma B
:Yedhu Radhakrishnan
:Assistant CameramanJayakumar G
:Focus PullerAjeesh Mathai
Art Associate :Thomas K Antony

Director's Bio

Bijukumar Damodaran is a three-time National Award winning screenwriter and filmmaker from India. The eight feature films he has done over the last one decade have fetched five national film awards, four indian panorama selections, thirteen kerala state film awards and many other national and international accolades. Dr Biju’s films are screened in many reputed film festivals around the world including Cannes, Montreal, Cairo, Iran, Shanghai, Eurasia, Telluride, Jeonju, Tallinn, IFFK, IFFI and NYIFF. Biju has also served as jury member of the International Film Festival of Kerala, Fajr International Film Festival, National Film Awards, and jury for Indian nomination for Oscar in 2015. more..

Painting Life is Bijukumar's first English film shot entirely in the Himalayan state of Sikkim with a pan indian cast and crew from more than 10 different states. In this work, he is addressing the challenges filmmakers face in todays commercially driven cinema world in staying artistic and truthful to the realities of our society.

Director's Filmography:

His first film Saira, part of his trilogy on terrorism, was premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007. The second film Raman was selected at Cairo International Film Festival (2009) in the Incredible India category. The last part of the trilogy Veettilekkulla Vazhi (The Way Home) won the National Film Award for best Malayalam film in 2010. Biju’s fourth film Akasathinte Niram (Color of Sky), was premiered at 15th Shanghai International Film Festival in the International competition section. more.. His next film, Perariyathavar (Names Unknown) received two National Film Awards in 2014 for the Best Actor and Best film on Environment conservation, and was also screened at the Montreal World Film Festival. In 2015, Biju directed Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal (Birds With Large Wings) which was premiered at United Nations, Geneva as a part of the United Nations Environment Programme, and received National Film Award for the Best film on Environment conservation. The next film Kaadu Pookkunna Neram (When The Woods Bloom) was screened at the Eurasia International Film Festival, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, International Film Festival of Kerala, and the Montreal World Film Festival, in 2016. His last film Sound of Silence is also selected to this year’s editions of Eurasia and Montreal Festivals.

Biju has also served as jury member of the International Film Festival of Kerala (2011), Fajr International Film Festival (2012), National Film Awards (2013), and the 2015 Oscar selection jury member for best foreign language film.

YearOriginal titleEnglish titleRemarks
2005SairaSairaPremierred in Cannes Festival 2007
2008RamanTravelogue of InvasionScreened in Cairo Festival 2009
2010Veettilekkulla VazhiThe Way HomeWon National award for Best Malayalam film
2012Akasathinte NiramColor of SkyPremiered in 15th Shanghai Festival comp section
2013PerariyathavarNames UnknownNational awards for Best Actor and Best Film on Env conservation. Official selection, Montreal Festival
2015Valiya Chirakulla PakshikalBirds With Large WingsNational award for Best Film on Env conservation
2016Kaadu Pookkunna NeramWhen The Woods BloomScreened at Montreal, Kerala, Eurasia Festivals
2017Sound of SilenceSound of SilenceScreened at Montreal and Eurasia Festivals



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