සිතිවිලි (Sithiwili)

Prabakaran (ප්‍රභාකරන්)

Posted in Thoughts by Nalaka(නාලක) on June 16, 2008

Prabakaran the MovieI saw Prabakran.

When I went to Regal Cinema to watch Prabakaran, I was highly doubtful that it was a good movie- good in the sense of being artistic. I already knew that it was good in the story, message, and objective departments. I especially wanted to know what so pissed off the LTTE supporters in Chennai, India that they sent media freedom on a hike and beat the shit out of Thushara Peiris, the debutant director of the movie and hijacked the original copies of the movie.

My initial impression was that Thushara Pieris is trying to make a buck out of the current anti-terrorist and pro-military sentiment in the country by making a cheap movie and capitalizing and dramatizing the hijacking of the movie reels so as to increase the ticket sales. I remember, asking someone who had watched the movie, when it initially came out, about its quality. “Crap,” he said- “just a cheap movie- no point in watching”. But a few weeks back, my good friend Namal and fellow blogger posted a very nice and eloquent post on the movie and told me that all Sri Lankans should definitely go see it.

So after a lot of putting it off, I finally did see it yesterday.

Boy, was I glad to be proven wrong about my doubts!
It is an excellent movie.

The story flows smoothly from beginning to end and revolves around a pregnant would be suicide bomber living in a border village and her brother, Prabakaran, a child soldier with the LTTE. The movie explores topics that were, before this, conveniently or treacherously left out from most other movies that were set on the same background. It speaks of the suffering and insecurities in the border villages, the tolerance of the Sinhalease in accommodating Tamils amongst them (obvious to anyone living in Sri Lanka, but for some reason overlooked by everyone preaching harmony to us from outside), the forceful proscription and retention of child soldiers by the LTTE, the culture of hatred that propels the LTTE terrorist machine, the hoodwinking of NGO’s by the LTTE, the humane side of Sri Lankan soldiers, and more …

Movies like “Sudu Kalu Saha Alu”, “Ira Mediyama”, “Sulanga Enu Pinisa” were also set on the same theme and were “international recognized” and “critically acclaimed”. I watched “Sudu Kalu Saha Alu” and was utterly disgusted. Well, “Sudu Kalu Saha Alu” was cinematographically excellent, the story was convincing- at least to an outsider, say somebody sitting on the panel at an international film festival. But the spirit of that movie was plainly and hideously pro- LTTE. Pro-terrorist in the sense that it propagates the same beliefs and values that the LTTE terrorists want to propagate. One example that made an indelible sore impression on my mind from the movie “Sudu Kalu Saha Alu” was a murder scene committed in front of a Buddha Statue, with the statue prominently and symbolically highlighted.

Didn’t have the opportunity to see “Sulanga Enu Pinisa” but according to those who did, it is even worse than the other one.

I did watch “Ira Mediyama” and I should admit that it was an ok sort of film when you try be very objective, but it definitely had “this war against the terrorist is pointless, joining the army is a waste, the terrorists are humane …” kind of air about it. And watching it you get the impression that the director has his eyes on the international award and had forgotten his duty to his country…

Watching “Prabakaran” after all those other movies was like getting a breath of fresh air. Cinematography wise, there are a lot of places that would benefit from improvement- but Thushara definitely has his heart in the right place.

If you haven’t watched it, please do go and watch it…
Encourage Thushara and other directors like him to make more movies that takes the real picture of life in Sri Lanka to the world.
Spending an evening and watching the movie is the least you can do…

It just passed his 50th day of screening in Sri Lanka- so you probably would want to hurry before it is taken off. You can see it at: Regal Colombo, Lido Borella and many other theatres island wide.

If Mr. Thushara Pieris happens to read this post, well done and please, once the theatrical screening is over, release the movie as free divx video on the Net. That will take it to thousands of more viewers…

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13 Responses

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  1. puncha said, on June 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Hiki hiki ayyandi….I know’ he’s done a great job, trailer was enough to get an idea.

  2. harshadewa said, on June 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I was waiting for someone to recommend it. Thanx Nalaka! he he🙂
    Should watch it!!!

  3. thekillromeoproject said, on June 16, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Totally crappy movie….. it seems he’s trying very hard to score some brownie points with the government….. lol

  4. namal udalamatta said, on June 16, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Dear Nalaka Ayya,
    Thank you so much for your brilliant article. Shall we invite to all of patriot Sri lankans to see the prabakaran once again ?

  5. Nalaka(නාලක) said, on June 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    To: thekillromeoproject,
    I suppose your verdict of “Totally crappy movie” comes after an actual viewing of the film?

    Would be enlightening if you could list out one or two “especially crappy” points/scenes of the movie…

  6. Shammi said, on June 16, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Nalaka, hey you have become a critic. I didn’t know that you can write like this. Its great. Anyway It’s true. All Sri Lankan should see the Prabakaran.

  7. Shammi said, on June 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    watch ‘taare sameen par’ and try to comment. It is touching

  8. Nalaka(නාලක) said, on June 16, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Shammi,
    I’ll definitely watch Taare Zameen Par (2008 Filmfare Best Movie Award), as soon as I find a copy.
    Thanks.

  9. ethnichybrid said, on June 16, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    I watched Prabhakaran and thought it was an extremely shoddy movie both in technique and content. It is movies like these that contribute more to the ethnic conflict. It was totally biased, and its lack of addressing the responsibility of the GoSL was dissapointing. It was a typical movie that sees things in black and white. And this movie was almost as if it was commisisoned by the GoSL. In addition the quality of movie making was appalling. The husband of the main protaganist was the only excellent actor who showed a range of emotions, the funeral mourning scenes was so laughable that I initially thought they were professional mourners hired for the funerals. If this is the reaction and common perception of ordinary Sri Lankans expect a long drawn out war (as if its not already) and don’t complain about the ethnic conflict. It is here to stay and get used to it!

  10. Nalaka(නාලක) said, on June 16, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Warning: possible spoiler on the movie ahead.
    If you are planning to watch the movie soon, you may not want to read this.

    Dear Mr. ethnichybrid,

    > It is movies like these that contribute more to the ethnic conflict.

    Well, I respectfully disagree. There were no anti-Tamil sentiments anywhere in the movie.
    The main protagonist, Kamalani, hailing from a Tamil village inside the terrorist control area, and married to Piyasoma, a Sinhala villager, is well respected and loved by the Sinhala villagers.

    When some of the villagers are hacked to death by the LTTE, the anger of the villagers does not turn against Kamalani, as one would expect in a ‘society filled with hatred against each other’.

    > It was totally biased,
    Was it? Kamalani was motivated to blow herself up, because her parents were killed by motors fired by the army. That doesn’t paint a very rosy picture of the army, does it?

    > and its lack of addressing the responsibility of the GoSL was dissapointing.
    There are a hundred and one NGO’s and INGO’s and opposition parties and news papers and websites and ‘concerned individuals of the civil society’ that continually addresses ‘the responsibility of the GOSL’ that I do not think it is necessary for the one film that came out after a very long time with a fresh, realistic take on the ‘ethnic conflict’ to appease that same crowd by pointing that old, yet very fashionable finger…

    > It was a typical movie that sees things in black and white.
    Again, I have to respectfully disagree.
    The movie is narrated from the points of view of LTTE cadres, a LTTE leader, a few POWs in LTTE custody, and a few border villagers. There is, for example, no narration from the perspective of an army soldier or an NGO worker operating in the un-cleared areas. It glimpses at only a few lives from the tapestry of life in the conflict zone. A few lives, a few stories from among a thousand and one such stories of livelihoods broken apart by almost three decades of war.
    It never says the LTTE is bad, or the GOSL is good. And unlike some movies of the same genre that went before, it doesn’t imply otherwise either.

    > And this movie was almost as if it was commisisoned by the GoSL.
    Well, it is not.
    However, if the GOSL is up to it, they should do well to commission a few more movies like this from directors like Thushara Pieris.

    > In addition the quality of movie making was appalling.
    Oh, well… Are you comparing it with movies like Gladiator, Life is Beautiful, and such? Remember that we can’t expect Oscar level quality from a debutant director. But I do think it is good enough …

    > The husband of the main protaganist was the only excellent actor who showed a range of emotions,
    > the funeral mourning scenes was so laughable that I initially thought
    > they were professional mourners hired for the funerals.

    The main protagonist, Kamalani was also good. So was the LTTE leader, the child soldier Prabakaran, and most of the main cast.
    About the mourning scene being not that good, I agree.

    > If this is the reaction and common perception of ordinary Sri Lankans expect a long drawn out war (as if its not already)
    > and don’t complain about the ethnic conflict.
    > It is here to stay and get used to it!

    I do not understand this logic, nor the context.
    What exactly is the “common perception” you are referring to?
    ‘Reaction’ to what?

    Anyway thanks for the comment.

  11. thekillromeoproject said, on June 17, 2008 at 9:55 am

    If I actually have to point out the specifics points on why this was such a crappy ass movie…. you need to think seriously about you’re capacity to review films…..lol

  12. Nalaka(නාලක) said, on June 17, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Don’t worry about hurting my feelings.
    Go right ahead.
    I am not a movie reviewer anyway … art is not my thing.
    What I wrote was just about the impression that the movie made on me.

    But I am honored that you mistook my attempt as a review- even an incompetent one.🙂

  13. ram said, on September 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    thekillromeoproject seems to be trying to criticise Nalaka’s comments without any valid facts. looks like he has mis understood many things in here. First thing is he doesn’t like people experessing their views on a good effort made by this film director. It’s true there are so many individuals in this country who earns a lot by supporting terrorism and supporting all possible ways for the continuation of the war.

    I totally agree with Nalaka and his ideas. This is a film one should watch as a citizen of Sri Lanka and who wants to see an end of the terrorism. May be thekillromeoproject thinks that the war will end once all Sri Lankans become supporters of LTTE. thekillromeoproject, do you really think that Sri Lankan government should support for pro-LTTE and the film makers who produce films to break the morale of the Sri Lankan forces. SLGo should actually help for the film makers who produce films to keep the morale of the forces but not for the pro-LTTE films. Again I think one should not be a movie reviewer to express his personal view on a movie.

    As a Sri Lankan, I value the effort of making this film. That’s not because it’s a great moview on technical side, but it has done it’s duty as a Sri Lankan.

    thekillromeoproject, if you really think that the government and Sri Lankan forces should loose or give up this war against LTTE terrorists to end this war, that’s an idea of a no brainer. This war is not against tamil people, it’s against the terrorists who blast bombs on civilians and bruitally killed many tamil and sinhala civilians.

    hey thekillromeoproject, let me know how you personally benefit from LTTE winning the war or at least being strong enough to fight against the people and the Sri Lankan Government for few more decades? there are people who really supports LTTE becasue they personally gain something from a long lasting war or from LTTE winning the war. Don’t think that the ordinary people, Sinhala and Tamil would gain anything from this war or supporting for the LTTE win.


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