Trees Under The Sun (Veyil Marangal), directed by Bijukumar Damodaran, won the ‘Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award’ at Shanghai International Film Festival which concluded on June 23.
The film was the only Indian entry at the biggest film festival in China this year. About a Dalit family from Kerala who migrate to a lower Himalaya village in search of better living conditions, Trees Under The Sun has Indrans and Saritha Kukku playing the lead roles. This year, the awards were decided by a jury headed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, acclaimed Turkish filmmaker.
The Golden Goblet for the best film was picked up by Iranian film Castle of Dreams, which also bagged the awards for the Best Director and the Best Actor. The festival’s grand jury prize and the best actress award went to Inhale-Exhale, a Georgia-Russia-Sweden co-production. Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani, who was recently accused of sexual harassment by a junior colleague, was part of the jury at the film festival.
Trees Under The Sun is Biju’s tenth feature film. His debut film, Saira (2007), had won two top prizes at that year’s Kerala State Film Awards, and had been screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinema Of The World section. In 2010, his Veettilekkulla Vazhi won the Netpac award for the Best Malayalam Film at International Film Festival of India, and in 2017, Biju won a Best Director award at Kolkata International Film Festival.
Actor Indrans had won the Kerala State Award for the Best Actor in 2018 for Aalorukkam. In his career in Malayalam cinema spanning over four decades, the actor has worked in films across myriad genres, especially comedy. He made his debut through the 1981 film Choothattam where he also worked as a costume designer. After doing popular comic roles in 80s and 90s, he made a shift to character roles in 2004, through TV Chandran’s Kathavasheshan where he played the role of a thief. Recently, he played the character of a Nipah patient in Aashiq Abu’s Virus, a big-budget survival thriller.