3 user 25 critic

Papilio Buddha (2013)

3:09 | Clip
A band of displaced untouchables in Western Ghats of India embrace Buddhism in order to escape from caste oppression.


Jayan Cherian


Jayan Cherian (story), Jayan Cherian
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Credited cast:
Kallen Pokkudan Kallen Pokkudan ... Kariyan
Saritha Saritha ... Manjusree
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Prakash Bare ... Sp
David Briggs ... Jack
Narayanan Nair ... Chief Minister
Kallen Pokudan Kallen Pokudan ... Kariyan
Sreejith Ramanan Sreejith Ramanan ... Dr.Prasannaraj
S.P. Sreekumar ... Shankran
Sujatha Sujatha ... Dalit activist
Antony Thekkek ... Gandhian Ram Das


A band of displaced untouchables in Western Ghats of India embrace Buddhism in order to escape from caste oppression. Papilio Buddha explores the life of a group of displaced Dalits in the Western Ghats of India and probes the new identity politics based on Ambedkarism, gaining momentum among the Dalits in the region, in the milieu of an ongoing land struggle. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:

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Release Date:

15 March 2013 (India) See more »

Filming Locations:

Wayanad, Kerala, India

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby (Dolby 5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Initially banned in India due to its criticism of Gandhi, it was only allowed release once speeches against the Mahatma were muted or blurred. See more »

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User Reviews

An Overly Dark Approach To State Stark Issues.
27 May 2014 | by TejasNairSee all my reviews

And I believe the makers took darkness very much literally. While the lack of proper lighting in the scenes is okay, the amateur narration of what feels like a vague story disappoints.

There is no specific conclusion to what the makers told the story in the first place nor do they provide a solution/explanation. Some of us are well versed with the atrocities of the minorities, the struggle they experience every day in their lives, and we also know few of its causes. Now, I think the makers wanted to convey a broader perspective into the matter, but they fail. Titling the film after a rare butterfly specie's name which is also a small talked-about issue in the film is where the makers start to go wrong.

I can relate with the use of adivasis and non-professional actors, but it does affect the film when none of these can act. And the poor direction just aggravates it all. The whole 2 hours looked like a drama of spontaneity.

Then topics like homosexuality, nature invasion, attacks on women, rape, religion and casteism are all touched but they are left hanging as the film ends with a silent note. While I always appreciate boldness in films, all the stuffs it had to show was pure bland and ridiculous. You talk about homosexuality, but there is no need to show two men kissing; the use of f-word could have been avoided; third-degree tactics of policemen on Maoist/Naxalite suspects could have also been dumbed down to superficiality; erotic sex/foreplay could have been done without, etc.. All these elements makes me wanna question the makers' intentions because at the end of the day, they focus only on certain checkpoints, never explaining the ABCs.

BOTTOM LINE: It might talk about sensitive topics, but when you are making a film (and not a documentary), you pay attention to the basics. There's no reason to add songs, stupid slapstick or melodrama; we are fine with pure drama played on intense BG score. Is that asking for more? Anyway, Papilio Buddha is a self-righteous kind of a modern propaganda cinema. Avoid!

I wonder why it was banned. People would have watched and openly derided it. The makers would get the feedback and never make such movies again. Reminds me of 2013's box office bomb, Jayasurya-starrer Pigman.

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO

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