And they lived happily ever after ? | Daily News

And they lived happily ever after ?


The name Enokaa Sathyangani Keerthinanda is legendary in Sri Lankan cinema. Though she is still one film young she holds the record for winning the highest number of awards for a Sinhala film.

Her second movie which she dubs as an 'unconventional love story' comes in two parts. The first of the two, 'Cindrella 1' is slotted for release in January 2016 in CEL circuit cinemas.

"Cinema is a subject which needs to be studied, understood and which needs to expand. One should not think of adding just one new ingredient to the same everyday formula. That is not the duty of a creative soul. A creative person should lead the society. He or she should bring the spectator to a higher level," says the filmmaker who is striving to make a difference in the local movie arena.

Q: 'Cindrella' enters the scene such a long time after 'Sulang Kirilli'.

A: Yes, it is exactly 12 years after that I am back with a movie after making my debut 'Sulang Kirilli'. Meantime I did get many offers to make movies from producers. Three renowned male producers and a female producer offered to support me if I engage in movie making again. However there was a motive behind each offer. They were after making profit from the movies.

I do not know anything about marketing products in that manner. I only know how to make movies. I informed that to them. That put a full stop to all their persuasions. Cinema maybe a medium which gets through to people but it is also a work of art. It is more of an exchange of sensitive thoughts and emotions rather than a product which can be marketed.

I wanted to give something to the fans which I can enjoy. Rather than go for what is popular at the moment I wanted to gain a strong foothold as a filmmaker. That is what my conscience says. I may not conquer the market but my conscience will remain untainted.

Enokaa Sathyangani

Q: Why is the film called 'Cindrella'?

A: 'Cindrella' is a fairytale which is popular among the young and old. Cindrella is a beauty who was forced into a lonely existence away from the outside world. One day she gets a chance to break those boundaries. Her life transforms entirely after that journey. However she is allowed to be in that enthralling state only for a short period. This is the truth in life that the story teaches us and the same goes for, Isanka, the protagonist in my movie.

Upeksha Swarnamali portrays Isanka's role and I believe that it will be a turning point in her life.

Q: You have branded 'Cindrella' as an 'unconventional love story'. Please elaborate.

A: That is true. This is not a stereotyped production. 'Sulang Kirilli' too is not the typical kind of tale you would find in movies made during the era. Therefore it won national as well as international acclaim. I do not like to make a commercial production out of 'Cindrella'.

Though the theme rotates on romance I have ventured out of the popular notion towards the subject. This is a new experiment which I have engaged in by thinking out of the box. Maybe the traditional moviegoer will reject the film but I am ready to brave the storm.

What interests me is not how many people watch the movie. The discourse that the movie spurs is more important to me rather than its box office success or its profit. However a quality production usually captures masses. Movies like Bollywood's 'Devdas' and 'Three Idiots' and Hollywood's 'Notebook' and 'Life is Beautiful' are good examples for this.

Q: Making movies based on popular fairytales and folk tales and giving them a modern and dark twist was a trend in Hollywood in recent years. Is this what inspired you to make 'Cindrella'?

A: I used the name 'Cindrella' as a symbol. It is not a movie which brings the fairytale to life. It is not even based on t he fairytale. However there are certain characteristics which both the girl in the fairytale as well as my protagonist possesses. I was inspired by 'After Sunrise' and 'Before Sunset'. After watching these two movies and having enjoyed the rhythm and techniques behind the productions, I wondered why other moviemakers cannot make such unique creations.

It is not the talents of our filmmakers which are at fault. The movie scene has evolved to resemble a primary market after the 1980s. The idea that if there is a crowd, then anything can be made into a movie and marketed to them is the popular belief. About 100 percent of our commercial filmmakers base their productions on North and South Indian movies. Therefore these productions were full of commercial and artificial elements. The moviegoers too adapted to this trend.

I did not want to be trapped in this snare. I wanted to experiment with the real concepts behind romance. Such features are found in Western and European movies.

Our cinema industry is trapped in the artificial elements which we have borrowed from Indian cinema. Most of the filmmakers are afraid to venture beyond these boundaries because they fear that their movies will fail to captivate masses and that they will be branded as failures.

I do not have such fears because I do not hold a place in commercial cinema. If filmmakers like myself do not attempt to break through these boundaries, then we are in danger of creating a future in which we have no other choice but to watch only such movies which are copies of Indian productions.

Q: What were the obstacles you faced in making 'Cindrella'?

A: I faced many problems while making the movie as well as during the pre production stages and while trying to get a cinema circuit for screening the film. The film was shot in Tangalle and Hambantota. We had to venture back and forth crossing many miles to capture the shots we wanted. That was very tiring especially because we had to be at work every day by 6.30 am. We normally worked till around midnight each day. Our team slept for about three hours!

We set the shooting period of the two movies - 'Cindrella 1' and 'Cindrella 2' for 29 days and divided it into four schedules.

We employed four cameramen for the task. I had to make sure that the flow of the movie is not disturbed. The few who had seen the movie appreciated the beauty and strength of the movie. We also used four art directors for the four shooting schedules.

Nadeeka Guruge set the musical score for both movies. There are 13 songs in the movies. Seven music directors worked with us. Kasun Kalhara, Athula Adikari, Samitha Mudunkotuwa, Amal Perera, Indrachapa Liyanage, Nadeeka Guruge, Chitra Serasinghe, Kushani Sandareka, Navaratne Gamage, Dumal Warnasooriya, Upeka Nirmali, Janith Dilruk, Tharindu Arshakularatne, Nadeeka Jayawardena and Malik rendered their voices for the songs.

Editing was done to a certain rhythm. I have given more importance to dramatization.

I have rejected the fast pace, slapstick comic characters, stereotyped thugs and the over acting elements found in commercial cinema. I have given importance to the artistic elements, thought provoking aspects, entertainment and the true nature of romance in my production. That was the most challenging aspect in making this production.

Q: You have been in the field handling diverse areas for a long time. Did you learn anything new while making ‘Cindrella’?

A: Yes, certainly. ‘Cindrella’ is not a movie genre which I am use to making. Since I wanted to make ‘Cindrella’ to fill a much needed void in the industry, I decided to construct the plot in a different manner.

The tale flows through seven days. It is unusual for a dramatic change to take place in such a short period. Therefore the first part of the movie centers on the fantasy created within the minds of the two lovers.

The second part of the movie shows the painful side of romance. Shock, intrigue and vigor are some of the elements which will come to the fore here. Part two will follow as soon as part one is taken off theatres as a back to back release. 


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