Text and pic by Harsha Udayakantha Peiris
Malaka Dewapriya a young cinematographer with a determined mission towards a cinema with a richer conception to uplift the social bases of the communities has launched fieldwork for his first feature on silver screen for the local and international audience, namely, ‘Bahuchithavadiya’ which narrates the saga of a multidirectional thinker in a rapidly globalising society.
“In depth, the film talks of the nature and behaviour of the life of youth in a world that is rapidly changing with the advancement of technology and globalisation. The present context has taken us towards a society where we all are consumers within a post capitalised market oriented set-up.
In this social encounter we are being used by others whilst we use others and in return, to reach our dreams. There is a dream in us to be developed and emerge as a prosperous nation and to see ourselves financially viable citizens. In this man made cocoon, we are driving our dreams along our own courses to reach the apex of personal wellbeing.
But how effective are these paths taken by us to reach greener pastures of life, when we individually take them to drive along. Sometimes, there are dreams in us to fly to alien destinations where we think we can simply find the life’s satisfaction.
The technological globalisation has enforced us on one hand, to obtain a virtual visa through various social media that have encroached our lives to offer first hand information of our life patterns to someone else totally unknown to us, but enjoys a monopoly of decisive power to finalise and decide how we should think, what we must consume or what our requirements and desires should be. But are we well aware of this?” asks Malaka.
“So my creation talks of a youngster who is in a mission to satisfy himself through these paths of cultural capitalism,” he says.
‘Bahuchithavadiya’ on the other hand is a reflection of all human relations. It talks of another perspective of how one could express himself or narrates his life’s expression. “It is more like a contemporary feature. I am not the decision maker. My audience is my reader. Therefore, the final reading has to come from the society,” Dewapriya says.
Born in 1979, Dewapriya was graduated with a B.A. degree on International Relations and History from the University of Colombo in 2005. Following the graduation, he received a scholarship for Video/Film New Media at Akademie Schloss Solitude, in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2007.
He also received an Asia Pacific Artists Fellowship, which partially supported his “short-term” residency as a visiting artist at the GoYang Art Studio, for visiting international and domestic artists, affiliated with the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea, in 2008. Malaka first became involved in theatre in 1991. His later work engaged a variety of the arts, including film, photography, theatre, and radio drama.
Being a visual artist, he has also presented several award winning short films and video installations namely, ‘Anxiety’ in 1998, ‘Penetrate’ in 2002, ‘Exchange’ in 2003, ‘Life circle’ in 2004, ‘Transference’ in 2006, ‘Today’ in 2007, ‘Malte’ and ‘End Loop’ in 2008 at a number of international screenings, competitions and exhibitions.
His short film ‘Transference’ won the Best Silver TEN Award in the Short Films category at the Mumbai International Sport Movies and TV (FICTS) Festival, first held in Mumbai, India, in 2006.
His creations have deeply touched the unenlightened corners of human mind and the undisclosed spheres of the human society in which the human being is perpetually engaged in a struggle against shackles of political, economic and cultural constructions.
“I did my first short film several years ago using a hand-held camcorder. My short films took me from Asian to many other European destinations. Today I see a conceptual poverty in the film industry in Sri Lanka. Here, we have the technology. For example, for my latest film I am using the state of the art technology of the RED 1 Camera. In another two years time, the cinema productions world-wide will abandon cans and will shift to the latest technology. But what matters to me here is the fact how far I am effective in capturing the lives of people through this technology,” Dewapriya says.
Dewapriya believes that the local cinematographers need a more practical ideology. “We need people or artists who can think new and contribute to the socio economic development of this emerging nation. In such a context, what matters for most is not the technology that we use but the technology of thinking. We have to be innovative and creative. We should experiment and research to find out what we exactly need to be prosperous and for this task, a cinematographer should have a vision of the plot upon which he addresses his audience. We have a root cause and we have taken an innovative course towards an effective social change that is productive towards a positive difference to awaken this generation to contribute for the socio-economic and the socio-cultural development. The positive criticism of any prevailing political context encourages a cinematographer to seek a pictorial and lingual development in cinema. It serves towards a greater extent in any creation. If there is no resistance in what he addresses, no universal truth can be explored. Therefore, such a creation by an artist is a dedicated sacrifice for the socio-economic or socio-cultural development of the society which in turn contributes to the national development. It brings success not only to its cast but equally for the intellectual development of the audience who visits it,” Dewapriya says.
The cast of ‘Bahuchithavadiya’ includes experienced, expert as well as armature actors and actresses to the cinema. The main cast includes Kalana Gunasekara, Veena Jayakody, Lakshman Mendis, Damitha Abeyrathna, Samanalee Fonseka, Sulochana Vithanarachchi, Rajitha Hewathanthrige, Geetha Alahakoon, Prasadini Athapaththu, Nimini Buwaneka and D.B. Gangodathenna. The crew that has worked for more than fifteen years with the director involves in a confident team work to make the creation a success.
The film, written and directed by Dewapriya and produced by Manohan Nanayakkara of the Asia Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd; will be released at the end of March this year as an innovative digital presentation that deviates from the traditional narrative style of the ordinary cine format. Vernon Abeysinghe serves as the Assistant Director of the film while the camera is by Chinthaka Somakeerthi. Music is by Nuwan Withanage.
The film is edited by Harsha Dissanayake. The film will also be distributed through other alternative digital formats to reach the home theatre and will represent Sri Lanka at several international film festivals as well.