Dr. D. Bijukumar on his latest film Painting Life that will be filmed at Chitkul in Himachal Pradesh

In the recent past, each film of D. Bijukumar’s has been an exploration of the communication between man and nature. So if he sailed all the way to the Andamans for his previous film, Akashatinte Niram, this time around he is trekking all the way up to Chitkul, a small village of 610 people in Himachal Pradesh to shoot his movie Painting Life. It is the last village on the Indo-Tibetan border.

“For the last three-four months, I have been travelling intensively, scouting around for locations to shoot this film about a film director who gets cut off from his cast and crew because of a landslip. Last month, I finally located this village,” says Dr. Bijukumar, who has gathered awards and honours from all over the world for his movies that tend to delve into the psyche of his protagonists. Bijukumar considers himself lucky because a week after he left Sangla, 28 km from Chitkul, it was making headlines when the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh became stuck there for 60 hours after the area was cut off following landslides.

“The road from Sangla to Chitkul is considered one of the most treacherous in the world. There are no ATMs or petrol pumps in the village and it is truly pristine. My story is about how man reveals his true self in the midst of nature,” says Bijukumar.

Prithviraj plays the film director. Priyamani plays a tourist and Krishnakumar, her husband, a businessman, who are also forced to stay in the village as landslides destroy the roads. Scripted by the director himself, the film follows Prithviraj’s character as he breaks loose from the shackles of civilisation and tries to understand the villagers and the lives they lead. Each character displays a different nature when they are forced to shun the trappings of modernity.

“In this movie, when this director of pucca commercial films gets cut off from the world, he begins, ever so gradually, to interact with the villagers and the surroundings and, in the process, discovers himself too,” narrates Biju. Agreeing that many of his films involves a journey, he says that he is trying to portray a person’s inner journey through visuals that reflect the personal voyage.

“We hope to begin shooting in September after Prithviraj finishes the shoot of his Hindi and Tamil films. At present he is in London for the shooting of London Bridge,” says Biju who is teaming up with Prithviraj for the third time. M.J. Radhakrishnan is the cinematographer of the film. Produced by Dharmik Films, the film will have sync sound. Issac Thomas Kottukappally is scoring the background music.