Malayalam film, Veyil Marangal (Trees Under the Sun) becomes the first Indian film to win a major award at 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival. The film is directed by Bijukumar Damodaran, who won the award for ‘Outstanding Artistic Achievement’ at the Film Festival, becoming the first Indian film to win a major award at the festival. The film was one among the 3,964 entries submitted from 112 countries in the prestigious Golden Goblet Award competition.
“This is a big thing for us and for Malayalam cinema at a major international festival. Veyil Marangal focusses on a Dalit family from Kerala which loses everything in a major flood. They migrate to Himachal in search of livelihood at an apple orchard. The film was shot over a duration of one and a half years. It was shot across three different season in Himachal, where the location was mostly around Manali,” said Mr. Bijukumar.
A review in ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ from its Shanghai premiere says that “the film’s overall gentleness ultimately leads to a more realistic and optimistic conclusion that involves the dignity and perseverance of the downtrodden but unbeaten family.”
For the direcror BijuKumar, this is the second film screened at the festival after Akashathinte Niram (Colour of Sky), which was selected here in 2012. It was also the last Indian film screened at the festival and competed in the same category, before which a film by Bengali filmmaker Gautam Ghose was screened here.
Bijukumar, who had debuted with the State award-winning Saira in 2007, has over the years made 10 films, many of which have won accolades at film festivals within the country and outside.