Tsunami that surfaces boundless love | Daily News
Film review

Tsunami that surfaces boundless love

The tsunami killed thousands and wreaked havoc in the lives of many other thousands in Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004 morning in a few minutes. Non-negotiable are the chaos it made, many of its victims still live like zombies unable to comprehend what happened and not knowing where were their loved ones who were with them a minute ago and disappeared in the next caught in the massive sea wave and dragged into the oceanic abyss like paper dolls.


Dr. Somaratne Dissanayake’s new film Tsunami produced by Renuka Balasooriya brings back the true destructive nature of this unforgettable devastation binding us with astonishment just a minute after the story unfolding on the screen. Then another Tsunami emerges slowly but steadily that culminates with the last scenes of the film drowning our lives in humanity and dampening our eyes with tears for its unbounded love and compassion.

Kalyani (Niranjani Shanmugaraja) and her husband (Dharshan Dharmaraj) live in Trincomalee in Sri Lanka selling dry fish. They have a two-year-old daughter. On the Boxing Day (December 26, 2004) morning, they engaged in their livelihood as usual when suddenly the sea receded. The husband called for Kalyani who had gone inside their house to keep the drowsy child on the bed, to show her this unusual sight. Seeing the people who gather fish in the receding water, they also joined with them with a basket when they saw the fast approaching massive wave and ran to the shore as fast as they can but not before they were caught in it and dragged towards the sea.


They were separated from one another and found each other at a hospital. But they missed their daughter and frantically searched for her everywhere but they could not find her. On the day, a Sinhala family (Himali Sayurangi and Bimal Jayakody) with their daughter of the same age also got caught in the wave, while they were on a trip to Trincomalee. They were also fortunate enough to save their lives but they too lost their child. Eventually, they found their daughter at a camp where Tsunami refugees stayed.

This daughter, though they think theirs, has different characteristics and speaks Tamil and seems saying events of another life. Her story is spread in the village and consequently become a national topic of reincarnation. The story is published in a national newspaper and it is sighted by the Tamil couple, who has now another daughter but is still searching for her lost child.

They approach their probable daughter through another couple who have become friend of them in an unexpected event. But the Sinhala couple in Kandy refuses to give back the daughter that they love as their own. This leads to a legal battle for owning the kid between two couple which takes us to the depth of humanity, unbounded parental love and severe conflict in the child who is unable to differentiate between neither the meaning of ethnicity and religions nor how to handle the true limitless love of her biological parents and of those who looked after her in the aftermath of the Tsunami like the irises of their own eyes.

Universal love

Even though Tsunami opens up many avenues which are equally important to discuss and understand, Somaratna Dissanayake constructs his (on a true story) on universal love and bonds. The story is studded with brilliant acting and advanced techniques that instantly get our attention. Tsunami 2004 in the film itself is a grand reproduction. The aftermath scenes of the Tsunami (destruction, hospital scenes and others) gruesomely capture hearts.

The main characters portray their roles gluing us with their lives and seeking our help in resolving their conflict which is undoubtedly universal.

The daughter’s role is brilliantly portrayed which needs special mention. She has been placed in an incomprehensible situation by the disaster. Love and compassion rules her life rather than any other bond in the life such as ethnicity, language, and religion. Love towards parents and love that for her has no definition make her life miserable. But heart talks well when the mouth shuts.

Her role unfolds slowly stirring unbounded love of two mothers and fathers which compels them to give away their invaluable asset, their daughter to one another.

They consider only the happiness of their child. They sacrifice theirs for their daughter’s happiness and wellbeing, no matter where she is going to stay thereafter.


Cinematography (Vishwa Balasooriya) of Tsunami brings the Sinhala film industry to a new era. He captures the vastness of the circumstances and ultra chaotic situations of its characters masterfully with his professional techniques and camera angles.

He gives beauty its place though and stresses the meaning of life. Tsunami swallows everything through his camera angels surfacing the mother’s love and universal compassion.

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