“How to Deal with Pain – Palutawa” deals with the tragic tale of the rural village “Palutawa” near Sigiriya. In the 1980s, then the ruling party deployed the army to massacre all the young and able men living in Palutawa during one single harrowing night to curb political dissent. The story revolves around a villager who managed to cleverly dupe the army and survive the massacre. Directed by veteran journalist Nandana Weeraratne, the film is the result of over a decade of research into the incident. I contributed to the film as the director of photography.

“How to deal with pain” is a poignant unraveling of trauma, loss, and the daring human spirit that drives even the most traumatized amongst us to survive. After the tragic night of the massacre, the women, children, and elderly in Palutawa were left to fend for themselves amidst horrendous scars and difficult circumstances. The trauma of that incident still lingers in the village, decades later. Palutawa is an agricultural village, where the main crop is onion. The film details how the survivors dealt with the daunting challenge of rebuilding their lives and continued agricultural activities amidst exceedingly difficult circumstances.

“How to deal with pain” marked a milestone moment in my life, as I was able to get involved with the project soon after I bid goodbye to my academic career at the University. We screened the documentary at a Human Rights event in London in 2014.


Film Credits

Behind The Scenes