One perfect shot! | Daily News


One perfect shot!

His inimitable style of story telling through frames has set him apart from other directors. Novel themes, storylines and presentations different to the hackneyed melodramas around family problems are cornerstones of Lalith Ratnayake’s creations.

The award winning director of ‘Arungal’ and ‘Teth Saha Viyali’ fame recently engaged in his debut cinematic venture with ‘Vishama Bhaga’(The Other Half). The film had already won recognition at a number of international film festivals – the latest being five awards at the Festigious International Film Festival in Los Angeles.

‘Vishama Bhaga’ won the First Time Director (Feature), Best Narrative Feature and Best Picture awards. It also earned Pansilu Wickramaratna the Best Young Actor award and the Best Supporting Actress award for Kaushalya Fernando.

“I always follow my own style of story telling whenever I take on a production. I express my feelings through a series of images captured from a camera lens. Unlike some directors who shape their productions according to the structures of certain international film festivals, I was truthful to my emotions. I believe that the jury of these film festivals recognized this feature and found it as a refreshing change,” Ratnayake spelled out ‘Vishama Bhaga’s success.

As the lead judge of the Festigious International Film Festival, Shaw Jones puts it ‘Vishama Bhaga’ is a “powerful film which shines a light on environmental injustice while simultaneously celebrating the human connection and our power to overcome adversity. The cinematography is superb, and Ratnayake weaves this stirring story with stunning direction; I was blown away by the beautiful performances of the stellar cast.”

This is not the first time that the film had won international recognition. It was among the best five films at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival. Known as the only category A international film festival in China and one of the largest in Asia, the Shanghai International Film Festival was held in China in June.

Ratnayake also made it the top five contestants competing for the Best Script Writer Award at the Asia New Talent Awards at the event. Other productions which had been nominated for the Asia New Talent Awards were from countries like Iran, Japan, India, and China. Pansilu too was among the nominees for the Best Actor Award. He competed with actors from Japan, India, the Philippines and China to earn a position among the top five.

Later the film won the titles of Best Supporting Actor (Jackson Anthony), Cinematographer (Palitha Perera), Best Director (Lalith Ratnayake) and Best Narrative Film at Asian Cinematography International Film Festival in the Philippines. They would be receiving their certificates for these accolades at the premiere of the film which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, on August 24.

‘Vishama Bhaga’ relates the story of twin brothers who embody different personalities and traits. The lead role, Ruwansiri, is portrayed by Pansilu while his brother, Pankaja, portrays the other twin’s character, Kamalsiri.

“I interviewed 76 twins and finalized four sets of twins for the roles. However there was an unexpected issue with my final selection. Pansilu and Pankaja were the sons of one of my friends. So I finally selected them for the roles because I felt that I would be able to guide them easily through the roles. Pansilu also had the features I needed for the character. Most of the film deals with moods and emotions rather than dialogues. Pansilu was able to bring out his emotions through his facial expressions well. He was good at listening to my instructions, following my lead and giving me just what I wanted from the character,” Ratnayake explained.

The film was shot in 2018 and the post production process was completed in early 2019. It was produced by Ven Aludeniye Subodhi thera on behalf of Shraddha TV under the guidance and blessings of Ven Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thera.

“It is very difficult to find a producer for an artistic film like this as they are always looking for commercial gains. However both Ven Aludeniye Subodhi thera and Ven Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thera were only interested in making a quality production embodying a meaningful message,” Ratnayake said.

Speaking to the Daily News Kaushalya Fernando said that the most challenging aspect of the film was that it had very little dialogue for the cast to recite.

“A majority of the story had to be related through actions and facial expressions. It is a very sensitive tale which relates that though two people may seem alike and get the same quality of education, they embody different personalities. They are both judged through formal education. Though it may seem like a simple tale, it has a lot of depth. The director has brought out his message in such subtle manner that it is narrated to the audience like a poem,” she said adding that she believes that steps should be taken to screen the film soon in Sri Lanka while the hype of winning the awards is still fresh in the moviegoers’ minds.

‘Vishama Bhaga’ also stars Jackson Anthony as Hemachandra, Hemasiri Liyanage as the grandfather, Priyantha Sirikumara as Bandara and Thilakshini Ratnayake as the music teacher, Sakunthala. 

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