Undergrads Unite: Saho | Daily News

A Visual and Literary Masterpiece Portraying Undergraduate Struggle and Political Ideology:

Undergrads Unite: Saho

The following article is a review of the Sinhala novel and experimental film, ‘Saho’, written and directed by Professor Ariyaratne Atugala. The article provides a detailed analysis of the film’s themes and techniques used by the director, as well as an exploration of its political ideology and portrayal of undergraduate struggle. The writer assesses Professor Atugala’s sensitive creativity and use of surrealism in the film, and notes its ability to give insight into the pulse of the present-day younger generation of academics. The article also acknowledges the contributions of the film’s producers and executive producer. This review offers a thoughtful and insightful perspective on ‘Saho’ as both a visual and literary work.

In the first instance, the term ‘Saho’ came to be known as the first Sinhala novel written by Professor Ariyaratne Atugala a few months ago. This was followed by an experimental Sinhala film with the same title, which Atugala wrote the screenplay, lyrics, and directed. I had the chance to become a spectator of this film. Presumably, Saho is the pioneer Sinhala visual attempt to communicate the sensitivity and gravity of undergraduate struggle, affection, and group conscience in the conventional rat race of academics.

Saho has a political ideology and depicts the innerness of a select few individuals’ microscopic struggle in a macroscopic range of social happenings. It deviates from the narrative that has been read in several instances. The term ‘Saho’ is symbolic of a dear comrade departed but haunts the minds of those who were near and dear to him. There are two female roles and three male roles that appear as the forerunners of the central event, suggestive of a protest upheaval that paved the way for ‘Saho’ to disappear.

Tragic encounters

There are nostalgic moments of merriment as well as tragic encounters both on the campus site and outside. Atugala, as the writer, creator, and director, makes the minds of those undergraduates peep into their inner souls and clarify themselves as to the role of the academic during a given period of time where some reach the highest point in the ladder of examination or academic success, whereas some others never feel themselves as gifted and are led to be melancholic and frustrated.

Those who reach the pinnacle of steps end up as either teachers and/or well-to-do individuals in the social strata. Some are shown as happy-minded gifted individuals, and some others are schemers and/or opportunists. They, in their group feelings, sing, dance, and make love and gain a certain degree of delight. ‘Saho’ is a visually beautiful piece of art.

Humane perspective

The director is seen making use of the cameraman to elevate the frames and reach a surrealistic level of communication where seemingly realistic situations are given a momentary delight of surrealism, like in a magical narrative. This technique of magical reality is commonly explored in various fables, myths, and legends of the orient as well as the occident.

Perhaps the visual creative communicator Atugala wanted to utilize the folk and magical technique to create a better visual impact. As a spectator of Saho, I felt that the attempt has been explored to the utmost level of sensitive creativity. Atugala, the writer-director, may have gained inspiration from his theatrical achievements gained from exercises in the two plays he wrote and directed, namely Mahasamayama and Mahasupina.

The frolics and fantasies, as well as the whims and wit in campus life, are pared down to the minimum in order to elevate the humane side of the brief time encounter that reaches a climax in the attempt on the part of a female character in the process of unearthing the burial of the body of Saho, the dear departed. However, it is just a futile attempt of a mere lovelorn thought stream put into practice. All in all, the film ‘Saho’ is quite watchable and gives way to understanding the pulse beat of the present-day younger generation of academics. The three producers, HD Premasiri, Dr. Bandula Gunawardane, and Ravindra Guruge, plus the executive producer ElekaRuvanpathirana, ought to be profusely thanked.


Saho sweeps international film festivals with multiple awards and official selections

‘Saho’, the experimental Sinhala film by Professor Ariyaratne Atugala, has been making waves in the international film scene with its thought-provoking portrayal of undergraduate struggle and political ideology. The film has recently won multiple awards at prestigious film festivals around the world.

At the Robinson Film Awards in Italy, ‘Saho’ won the Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Editing, and Best Sound categories. The film also received the award for the Best Asian Feature Film at the Golden Leaf International Film Awards in India, and the Best Feature Film award at the ARG International Film Festival in France.

‘Saho’ has also been selected for the second round of the Cannes Film Festival in France, a rare feat for a Sinhala film. The film has already qualified for the final round of the Borden International Film Awards in Sweden and has been officially selected for the UK’s Film Festival, UK Lift-off Global Networks Film Festival, and Belgian BUZZ IFF Networks Film Festival.

Add new comment