Vijayaba Kollaya: Does it plunder hearts? | Daily News


Vijayaba Kollaya: Does it plunder hearts?

The late popular novelist W.A. Silva’s (1890-1957) novels have infused life to many a Sinhala film. Many of them including Kele Handa, Higanakolla, Siriyalata and Deiyanne Rate had been blockbusters.

Vijayaba Kollaya (Vijayaba Plunder) is the latest film created from his yet another novel of the same name. This time, veteran film director Sunil Ariyaratne took the task of adapting the novel Vijayaba Kollaya to a good commercial film.


Vijayaba Kollaya, in a nutshell, revolves around a triangle love story against a historical background (1521). Many who read the novel may recall that their hearts mellowing and bringing teardrops to their eyes, as they were reading the novel. Sunil Ariyaratne may have experienced the same and considered making it a memorable film.

Nilamani (Senali Fonseka) is the only child of a regional leader (Kelaniya) of 16th century. She is engaged to one of his leading soldier, Asanga (Ashan Dias). This provincial leader comes to know that a spy from the Kotte kingdom has entered his area to reach the Portuguese who camp on coastal area of the country to discuss a plan to topple the other Sinhala kingdoms. Asanga, donned different clothes, is looking for the spy when he gets caught to a group of villagers who mistakenly took him as a spy and clashes with them.

Nayanananda, (Hemal Ranasinghe) the real spy from Kotte, suddenly arrives at the clash and helps Asanga to beat the villagers, as it is told by others later. But, consequently, Nayanananda is captured and tied to be taken to the king. Asanga, set his heart to help Nayanananda in gratitude, assists him to flee the location.

Fleeing, Nayanananda, happens to enter a stable of the provincial leader where, all of a sudden, he meets Nilamani. She and Nayanananda fall in love with their first sight and this leads to fierce duels between Asanga and Nayanananda, their reconciliation and unconditional support for each other which eventually ends when a Portuguese spears a knife on his back. Asanga breathes his last near wailing Nayanananda and Nilamini over his sacrifice.

Untouched ingredients

Sunil Ariyaratne, no doubt, has enough ingredients in the novel to create an immortal love story. However, he missed those by not portraying adequately the raging affair between Nilamini and Nayanananda. The scenes lack sincerity and commitment from its stakeholders for these scenes to be outstanding for an epic.

For example, many scenes at the Portuguese camp missed vibrancy and energy they need. They seem to have been squeezed to a limited space and crew. A need to finish the film as soon as possible may have made them less vibrant.

Had the Portuguese captain’s voice more vibrant and guttural, it could have sharpened his character and may have energized the flow of the story. Moreover, it seems many main characters act a shade below their full potential of what they have been asked to accomplish.    

Typical imitation

The song that Nilamini sings reminds Mani Ratnam’s introduction of his heroines against enchanting backgrounds in his many films such as Roja. Wars in the film should have been fiercer and involved more participants and space. Many of them seem complacent. The historical events including the three princes, sons of king Vijayabahu VII and another son from his second queen, Deva Rajasinghe and the Vijayaba Kollaya itself of the story flows like standard stage drama episodes.

Cinematographer (Channa Deshapriya) could have created better angles in filming wars, horse galloping and many other similar scenes. But he has been thrifty and may have been confined when creating camera corners that could astonish spectators. Overall, the cinematography neither amazes nor beguiles the audience.

Short of expectation

The music, Rohana Weerasinghe, makes no difference either to suit with an epic. Overall, the music provides only a slightly innovative, imaginative aspects but it could have been more creative. The acting does not reach the standard to be mentioned as outstanding or advanced but just enough to cover the outer traits of the main roles.

However, Vijayaba Kollaya cannot be wrapped with bad or failed label. It has many plus points. Taking the novel ‘Vijayaba Kollaya’ to create a film is not an easy commitment. Sunil Ariyaratna has met many a film goers’ expectation. But it has not come to a point where a matured audience could ‘gasp’ at the end feeling that they have witnessed yet another outstanding film.

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