Film Review 
One Shot One

by C. A. Lenin Divakara

Formerly of the Faculty of English, University of`A0 Sri Jayawardenepura)

The Sinhala poet Parakrama Kodituwakku's accolades on Ranjan Ramanayake's film ‘One Shot One’ has aroused a hornet's nest. Reputed film critics have criticized the poet turned–critic saying he has ventured into an unknown field.

According to the producer Soma Edirisingha who defended the poet turned-critic and the director announced that ‘One Shot One’ does not claim to be a work of art and it is a Bioscope whose one and only objective is to entertain the audience.

Technically every film is a bioscope. Nevertheless since the advent of the Sinhala cinema the Sinhala-speaking public have been using the term to describe the pure and simple entertainment spiced with music and dance with a dash of violence and containing a didactic story with an ending ‘They lived happily ever after’. It is taken for granted English ‘bioscopes’`A0do not have this formula but stun the audience with explicit sex and violence. In fairness, it should be mentioned that some 'bioscopes' earned critics' acclaim by virtue of their originality. Raj Kapoor's and Mehbook's hindi films are shining examples of this genre.

Against this backdrop ‘One Shot One’ deserves comment and cannot claim immunity from criticism and demands a different criteria which critics wisely use to assess the quality of the films of the like of ‘One Shot One’ as they do with 'Horror' 'Detective' 'War' 'Musicals', etc. In doing so critics may even rank them among works of art.

Now, the vital question is whether 'One Shot One' a quality entertaining film.

Directors of entertaining (Commercial) films (Bioscope) should be knowledgeable as to the different levels of enjoyment possessed by various audiences who can be placed at different points of the spectrum. At one extreme are the most gullible. At the other those who`A0critically enjoy the entertaining film. The former are enthralled by the incredible feats of the ‘hero’ who make minced meat of the 'villain'. It is the critics' role to asses the quality of ‘One Shot One’ considering which level of enjoyment it provides to the audience.

Unfortunately most film-makers are blissfully unaware of the potential of the local audience - the highest level of enjoyment they may attain.

In the present social context the larger-than-life portrayal of the 'Hero' of the films gains mass appeal because they tend to identify with the 'Hero' even for a moment, the audience a cross-section of the general public, relish watching the 'punishments', mercilessly meted out to the 'villain-of-the-piece', the corrupt politician.

Is this a political film? Definitely not. ‘One Shot One’ does not shed light on the hidden political agenda nor does it impart political education on the structural violence prevalent in society nor does it involve the audience in political dialogue. On the contrary, physical violence is presented as the

panacea. Fortunately, Sri Lankan audiences are too intelligent to be misguided or misled by RR's 'message'. What would be the fate of a person who will dare to emulate the 'Hero'? Will RR dare bell the cat himself in real life? If RR is a true social reformer with a social commitment he should involve the audience in meaningful political dialogue and help them to grope for root causes of corruption in public life. In doing so, he has the liberty to spice it with all the ingredients of a 'bioscope'.



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