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 Post subject: Uduganyamaya - agony of a generation
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:57 pm 
Uduganyamaya - agony of a generation

by Ranga Chandrarathne
SO / Sunday, June 4, 2006


The latest film by Sudath Devapriya that hit the silver screen throughout the country is a film depicting the dark era of terror where the State employed extra-judicial methods to crackdown on leftist insurgents resulting in the death and disappearance of more than 60,000 civilians between the ages 18-25 and a large number of adults.

Sudath has tried to portray the impact of the State counter-insurgence strategy on the lives of the civilians, particularly children, who lost their parents due to the insurgency.

This strategy of indiscriminate elimination of suspects led to create a fear psychosis, and badly affected the economy and the entire social fabric. The trauma and agony born out of violence and involuntary disappearances still prevailed among the affected families and communities who are afraid even to give evidence, though that Government which was largely responsible for the social decline and made our motherland a cultural desert is no longer in power.

The story is set against the background of a pastoral village surrounded by a lagoon and the main occupation of the population is fishing and coconut fibre industry. Sirimal, a nine-year old boy, lives with his parents in this village. Sirimal's father is the village ferryman. Youth started to engage in suspicious activities and Sirimal's father had to ferry them to isolated islands in the lagoon. Meanwhile the army visits the village and warns the people not to harbor insurgents.

Story goes...

The slow moving life of the village is shattered by constant abductions, disappearances and killings as the insurgency enters a bloody violent phase. One day, Sirimal's father goes missing with his ferry.

His mother goes from pillar to post in search of her lost husband. Sirimal's life is badly affected by the loss of his father. Sirimal roams in delirium among the bushes, in pouring rain, and ultimately he enters into an army camp believed to be a detention centre, in the hope of finding his father. Schools are closed and the daily routine of the villagers is shattered by the civil strife and the brutal crackdown of it.

With the crackdown of the insurgency by State forces, life in the village returns to normalcy and schools open. A new era is dawned with the election of a new Government, and officials visit the village inquiring about the disappeared persons, and they offer cash compensation for the families. Mass graves were exhumed and finally Sirimal's father's body recovered.However, Sirimal refuses to believe the death of his father who occupied a dominant place in his life.

Sudath has dedicated the film to 60,000 youth who had disappeared and were killed in the brutal crackdown of the left-wing youth uprising in the late 1980's.

Almost all the actors have done justice to their roles. Sirimal (Boy)- Mauli Fernando, Dingiri (Girl)- Tisuri Uwanika, Mother -Chandani Senaviratne and father -Suminda Sirisena have portrayed their characters brilliantly, and the director Sudath Devapriya has handled the cast masterly without allowing one character to rise above the other, and has avoided chances of overacting, in keeping with the tempo of the film.

The film has also shattered the orthodox prototype of a village woman who is often portrayed as a weak and vulnerable character. However, Sirimal's mother (Chandani Seneviratne) is a strong character and does not yield to the undue pressure of her employer and starts to ferry villagers.

However, the fighting on the ferry between Sirimal's father and the village Mudalali is somewhat artificial, but it only serves to patch up Sirimal's father's talisman, which he keeps towards the end of the story. When Sirimal, finally, comes to grips with reality he throws coloured fish and perhaps all articles that remind of his father, into the lagoon.

The film ends with a happy note of starting a new life. Against the Tide reminds us of the dark period of UNP-led State terror and those innocent civilians who lost their lives in the brutal crackdown of the insurgency. It is a film that every Sri Lankan should watch, particularly, those who have not been exposed to violence during that period, and is a fitting tribute to thousands of civilians who perished in the crackdown. Real life images, excellent cinematography and apt background music has made this film stand out among the films that lack both, content and artistic quality.

Sirimal (Boy)-Mauli Ferdinando, Dingtiri (Girl)-Tisuri Uwanika, Mother-Chandani Senaviratne, Father-Suminda Sirisena, James-Richard Weerakkodi, Army Officer-Saumya Liyanage, Village Master-Giriraj Kaushalya, Dingiri's mother-Duleeka Marapana are the cast. The cast being actors and actresses, and not stars, have played their allotted roles brilliantly. Mauli Ferdinando and Tisuri Uwanika played their roles convincingly and showed that they have a bright future in Sri Lankan cinema.

Creations before

Sudath Devapriya is an experienced director who was responsible for producing a large number of children's tele-dramas, including Amba Yahaluwo, which won the Honorary Jury Award at the Prix Jeunesse Television Drama Festival held in Munich, Germany in 1990. Sudath also won many awards for his tele-dramas and films such as " The Crossing" which won the Sri Lanka Film Critics Forum Award in 1991.

Art Direction-Rohan Samaradivakara, Cinematography-M.D. Mahindapala, Costume Design - Kumara Karaudeniya, Make up- Vasantha Vittachchi, Sound Controller- Kaliga Gihan Perera, Music -Sarath Fernando, Editor-Ravindra Guruge, producer- Sudath Devapriya, Editing Studio- The Video Team Sri Lanka and Executive Producer-Enoka Fernando have also contributed to make Uduganyamaya a successful film.

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