Waking up for the GOAL | Daily News

Waking up for the GOAL

Things are not easy for the new coach. He has to work hard to ignite the spirit of the children destined to tilling the earth in this distant hamlet. With an uncooperative principal and a bunch of uncompromising kids in tow, the new teacher almost throws in the towel. But the fate has other plans.

Goal is Maharaja Entertainment’s latest effort in the widescreen. Their recent series of films indicate how experimental they have been in the commercial film industry. With Dharmayuddhaya, things were quite much smooth sailing, as the film was a remake of a well-favoured murder thriller.

Its plot is full of suspense, hence absorbing. No entertainment freak would have missed the opportunity for a second-time watch. When it comes to A Level, the next movie produced by Susara Dinal for Maharaja Entertainment, the phenomenon changed.

In Sri Lanka, the commercial filmmakers cannot afford to perform feats that the Hollywood commercial filmmakers are privileged with.

The Hollywood filmmaker can fuse artistic elements into their commercial ventures, whereas in Sri Lanka the filmmaker is strictly required to switch to the populist elements.

A Level deals with a social issue which does not seem the right technique if you need to prosper in the Sri Lankan commercial film industry.

The recent trend has proved that the commercial success is very much reliant on a limited range of themes: religion, history and juvenile are three specific genres.

Universal timeline

With Goal, the producers experiment on the third genre. To achieve that end, the producers employ already used techniques and tactics in addition to their own innovative characterisation methodology.

The movie narrates the rags-to-riches tale of a bunch of village kids who rise to stardom with football. The subject seems most appropriate and timely. But what lies underneath is more interesting than the primary theme. The film questions the role of the modern teacher on a universal timeline through three major characters: Mr Samarasekara, his principal and his wife. The characterisation introduces the audience to many forms of the teacher's role split between the traditional and the modern conventions.

Mr Samarasekara (Jayalath Manoratne) has immense faith in extracurricular activities. That is the only way out for an impoverished community where illiteracy reigns to a cancerous proportion. On the other hand, the principal (Kaushalya Fernando) is a practical woman with a coarse attitude towards Mr Samarasekara’s ideals. She is all too well familiar with the ground reality. The land is dry and parched to an extent where it is almost unrealistic to pour some water. In between (though not sandwiched) is Mr Samarasekara’s wife (Chandani Seneviratne). Where Mr Samarasekara adopts a harsh approach to the ‘village brats’, Mrs Samarasekara reaches out to them with a soft feminine touch. Where Mr Samarasekara loses, Mrs Samarasekara gains.

Mr Samarasekara is often harassed by the harshness and callousness of the villagers (including the principal). The principal is affected by her own rough surroundings.

Mrs Samarasekara observes the race paced between her husband and the village. She is unperturbed to work out a soft, yet yielding, strategy to win over the hard-hitting villagers to her fold. The film could well be acclaimed as a work that offers motivation to the younger generation, but in fact, it offers an incredible lesson on how to win the toughness.

Demanding portrayal

Dr Jayalath Manoratne takes the lead in a well-performed cast. In both A Level and Goal, he is delegated with a demanding character portrayal. In A Level he had to play a paedophile masquerading as a gentleman, whereas Goal offers him the dare of breathing a true-to-life interpretation to a teacher cum football coach. When this writer posed him the blunt question as to how he managed to portray the role quite well, the actor offered an equally blunt response: YouTube. He claims to have observed the movements of football coaches on a number of YouTube posts and tried to copy them downright.

As usual, Rohan Perera demonstrates the mastery of storytelling. At first, the film rings a bit of a bell of the award-winning Ho Gana Pokuna. But halfway through we take in that the scriptwriter does not have to stoop that low with his imagination power.

Perera's mastery of storytelling is not new to the audience. He has already proved his mettle with A Level movie.

Like we have stressed a few paragraphs ago, Perera takes pains to portray the conventional teacher’s role from a different angle. While questioning the teacher’s role, Perera syringes a fresh lease of life to Mr and Mrs Samarasekara which the local filmgoer has not experienced so far in the local cinema.

They are both affectionate towards the village. They both need to change the village for the better, though the modus operandi varies. 



Add new comment