By Sydney Knight
Thanks to the medium of the film one is able to audio visually be a part of a political and social commentary of our times. This is exactly what the above mentioned film currently being shown at the Savoy and various other theatres is doing. The story that this film portrays is in the backdrop of the 30 year civil war in Sri Lanka. The battle between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Defence Forces is conveyed.
The thinking of the LTTE and their methodology of violence is shown. So is the work of the Defence Forces, Sri Lanka. In this context a story unfolds.
The story of an Army person falling in love with a Tamil woman and marrying her. The Tamil woman’s own story is conveyed. So is the story of the Sinhalese soldier. At the height of the war the Sinhalese soldier is wounded and becomes a captive of the LTTE. In the context of his woundedness the soldier meets a junior Soldier to whom the wounded Soldier gives a task. The task being if at all possible to tell the wife of the Soldier wounded about his eternal love for her. This becomes a reality and the junior Soldier meets the wife and the child of the senior officer and his family.
The horror of the war is depicted very well. However in the midst of the war human values are not forgotten. In this context the Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE is seen positively unlike the authors of the current Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC). During the ceasefire when a Sri Lankan Soldier once a captive of the LTTE is recognized by the LTTE woman high command they exchange pleasant words. The woman LTTE person in her own way conveying apologies and the soldier telling in his own words about forgiving, forgetting and moving on. This film in the context of conveying the horrors of war depicts the loyalty of the Sinhalese Soldier and the commitment of the LTE and certainly the manner in which the Army suspects all Tamils as the LTTE and the LTTE think that all Sinhalese are bad. In the context of the reality of war the film conveys what is possible. The positive side of the future Sri Lanka as a place that belongs to the majority and the minorities. Seated at the Savoy that evening my mind went back to the many films I have seen there. Some of them war films which took place in other countries.
In those days of the past one never imagined the possibility of a 30 year civil war. How does one go beyond this film? It is very clear that the people responsible for conflicts are our party politicians of every name and colour since from 1931 those in party politics chose to use language, race, religion and caste to win votes. At the beginning it seemed alright.
However when the cake was not sufficient to be shared and all Talks failed violence became the tool. This was not only in the North but also in the South for 1971 and the late 1980’s are the realities. In fact beyond Sri Lanka in our region and in our world persons have taken to arms to achieve their goals when they perceive a majoritarian rule and thus injustice. One must congratulate the persons behind this film because they as a part of the Fourth Estate in Sri Lanka today are creating good public opinion so that we could rebuild Sri Lanka from the ashes of war.
Unfortunately from what I saw at the theatre this film is not one of those popular films. However it is a film that I hope that everybody from Hambantota to Jaffna and Batticaloa to Colombo will see for it is a good film and those who are trilingual will understand and appreciate the dialogue. May we have more films of this type.