Jayawardene is no stranger to stage and cinema but she was not a
well known actress. Hardly anyone knew her. But her
controversial role in Vimukthi Jayasundara’s award winning film
Sulanga Enu Pinisa (Camera d’Or, Cannes 2005) grabbed
public attention with critics censuring the moviemaker, actors
Nilupuli, in an interview with The
Island yesterday said, "I am glad I accepted Vimukthi’s
invitation and would not hesitate to act in a movie with a
similar theme. It was a pleasure to work with him."
In some ways Jayasundara’s movie is
similar to Sudath Mahaadivulwewa’s maiden feature film Sudu
Kalu Saha Alu. "I have acted in both," she said
acknowledging that her part in Mahaadivulwewa’s movie was small.
In Sulanga Enu Pinisa, she
plays the role of the adulterous wife of a homeguard.
She takes a wash, hears the sound of
heavy vehicles and goes topless to a window and looks outside.
She presses her breasts to the grill and looks longingly at the
scene outside—two heavy military trucks and uniformed men. She
wipes out paint from her breasts pointing to the fact that she
had pressed herself against the grill. The scenes are powerful.
They send a clear message. But is it true? Is it the reality and
the actual ground situation in vulnerable Sinhala villages and
settlements and in areas inhabited by Tamils? The Sinhalese,
Tamils and Muslims living under unbelievably miserable
conditions would be disappointed.
Nilupuli is glad the movie triggered a
lively debate. "Let us not fight over this but exchange views,"
she said pointing out to the fact that maestro Dr. Lester James
Peiris hailed Sulanga Enu Pinisa as a remarkable film
debut and a unique achievement for Sri Lankan cinema. She also
emphasised that Tissa Abeysekera declared that it was "a
marvellous cinematic creation."
She said she had studied under several
experts in the field and met Prasanna Vithanage when she was
studying at Mahendra Perera’s Vibhavi Institute.
She is thrilled that she also got the
opportunity to work with Asoka Handagama and Prasanna Vithanage.
"They are the future of the local cinema and they have the
courage to move forward despite obstacles," she said dismissing
claims that their work tends to undermine the security forces
and police. "This is ridiculous," she said, emphasising that all
four won international awards and wide acclaim for depicting
what she termed as the ground reality.
Handagama had given her her first role
in Thani Thatuwen Piyabanne. It was followed by Prasanna
Vithanage’s Ira Madiyama, Sudath Mahaadivul-wewa’s
Sudu Kalu Saha Kalu and Sulanga Enu Pinisa.
She said that Jayasundara gave her the
script. "I studied it thoroughly and accepted the role as it
suited me. I was confident of handling the biggest assignment of
my career," she said. "I did it well," she said claiming that
she won praise from many people. "Of course there are critics.
Critical analysis is necessary. It would generate interest," she
acknowledged but the entire movie industry must protest against
attempts to undermine the new generation of moviemakers.
She strongly defended a series of sex
scenes in Jayasundera’s movie. "Maybe another would have
produced the movie without them. But this is Vimukthi’s vision
and he has a right to bring it out." She insisted that she
accepted the controversial role as she was ready for it. "My
family and my friends as well as the vast majority of viewers
are firmly on our side," she claimed vowing to accept any role
if she was confident of handling it well.
This is what Vimukthi had to say at
Cannes: "If The Forsaken Land has something to do with my
country’s history, it is especially through its conveyance of
the suspended state of being simultaneously without war and
without peace--in between the two. I wanted to capture this
strange atmosphere`85For me, film making is an ideal vehicle for
expression of the mental stress people experience as a result of
the emptiness and indecisiveness they feel in their lives. With
the film, I wanted to examine emotional isolation in a world
where war, peace and god have become abstract notions."
Jayasundera recently contacted Deputy
Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera over the ongoing
debate over his movie. This was after National Film Corporation
Chief Sunil C Sirisena brought to Weerasekera’s notice of
threats being directed at Jayasundera. Weerasekera who publicly
criticised Jayasundera’s movie and the work of his colleagues,
Handagama, Mahaadivulwewa and Vithanage accusing them of being
part of a wider conspiracy against the Sri Lankan State has
assured that they never meant any harm.
Jayasundera had assured Weerasekera
that he was not under threat. Weerasekera has asked why
Jayasundera missed a recent meeting arranged by an advertising
company executive to discuss the issue. Jayasundera has claimed
that he was not aware of it. Handagama, Mahaadivulwewa and Tissa
Abeysekera had met Weerasekera and Brigadier Daya Ratnayake at
the firm’s office near Museaus College where they discussed the
issue at length but failed to reach a consensus.
Nilupuli said that there was no need
to be scared of "love scenes" "sex scenes" or any other
controversial scene. "I completed this movie early this year in
about a month. There were scenes depicting hard sex and
frustration. It’s a good movie. But it’s only a movie. My real
life is quite different and I hope the people would accept it as