Jayantha Chandrasiri’s newest film Gharasarapa | Sunday Observer

Jayantha Chandrasiri’s newest film Gharasarapa

Senior journalist Jayantha Chandrasiri’s newest film Gharasarapa, screened at the Tharanga theatre at the National Film Corporation last Friday, drew many admirers and the house was full with viewers sitting on the steps, inside the hall. As an invitee I sat in one of the front rows amidst the distinguished guests. Although the screening started a little later than the scheduled time, it was worth waiting more than an hour. The packed audience patiently watched the film till its end, in pin-drop silence. One reason why the spectators waited till the end was perhaps, they also wanted to have their dinner that was ready to be served after the show. The other reason is of course the interesting images, moving in the close-ups on the wide screen that made the audience curious to learn what would be next.

I was interested, because I had never seen on screen the Kalu Kumariya antics and the presence of the Catholic priest and the venerable attention of the pious villagers, the choir rendition and people at prayers, performing religious rites. The excellence of the cinematographer was depicted with meaningful shots that exhibited the nuances of body language and facial expressions.

Apart from the obvious features in a good film, the audience, knowledgeable and mature cine-goers in understanding what true cinema is, the subtitle in English helped the non-Sinhala in the audience, to follow the story with ease.

But what is the story? Most of us are conditioned to expect a watered-down storyline in a film, to judge whether it is good or not. The scene close to the end – lasting about 8 to 10 minutes- when the married lady doctor and the married professor meet after so many years, is a memorable sequence I liked best, because it was handled well by the director and the cinematographer, without any dramatisation. It is a natural performance, with a concrete assertion by the female character, while shock and uneasiness on the part of the male character was acted well. The respective players were Sangeetha Weerarathna and Kamal Addararachchi.

I was happy to see Kamal after a long spell and he proved himself well, as a jovial, married Prof, with a seriousness and a purpose in uttering his thoughts while maintaining a cool demeanour.

Sangeeetha acted with dexterity as a professional doctor, cool but showing her hidden excitement without overacting. She looked beautiful, with due credit to the makeup and hairstylist Indika Udara Lanka.

Sriyantha Mendis looked different from his normal appearance and played his role as the Catholic priest.

Jackson Anthony was unbelievably a real snake as Kalu Kumara. The Tamil parents were not convincing as they reacted differently not befitting the situation. I liked the role played by Ameesha Kavindi as the Prof’s possessed wife. Kavindya Adhikari and Dewanka Porage, as Vidya and Sandares, respectively, were the two teenagers with a promising future.

Director of photography was Prabath Roshan, Editing and Mixing by Dilan Gunawardhana, Art direction by Piyatissa Akuramboda, and music by Chintaka Jayakody. The film was produced by Arjuna Kamalanath.

This being an International Film Festival, the entry of Jayantha Chandrasiri for his story, dialogue, and direction, was primarily because it was a novel film, depicting exotic nature.

I will not relate the story, but recommend readers to see the film and decipher it.

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