Asoka Handagama’s latest movie Aksharaya
Page 1 of 1

Author:  LankaLibrary [ Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:50 am ]
Post subject:  Asoka Handagama’s latest movie Aksharaya

Asoka Handagama’s latest movie Aksharaya
Of twisted motherly love

By Shamindra Ferdinando
@ The Island / 22MAR2006

This story is bizarre. The unexpectedly long movie begins with a poignant scene of a woman (Piyumi Samaraweera) demanding to have sex with her aged husband (Ravindra Randeniya) as their wide-eyed servant (Jayani Senanayake) watches. The hysterical woman pulls the man on to her body, and while doing this, hesitantly recalls how her mother watched them making love and the broken and terrified woman’s untimely death.

Piyumi plays the role of a tough Colombo-based Magistrate. Versatile actor turned politician, a former UNP MP, Randeniya is a prematurely retired High Court Judge, a pillar of high society.

Asoka Handagama’s latest movie, Aksharaya, erroneously translated as ‘A Letter of Fire,’ is a fearless effort to discuss a hitherto untouched adult theme. The unprecedented theme and Handagama’s boldness would trigger criticism, but I personally believe it would do a world of good to the struggling local cinema.

Handagama declared that he was ready to face criticism after the screening of the move at Cine City last Sunday. It brought an end to the five-day Bonjour Cinema 2006 jointly organised by Belgium, Canada, France, Romania and Switzerland in collaboration with the National Film Corporation. According to the organisers the event offered the local movie-goer "a collection of films that represent the richness and the diversity of the cinema industry of the French-speaking countries represented in Sri Lanka."

Although Bonjour Cinema 2006 was held at the Elphinstone Theatre, the special guest screening of A Letter of Fire was held at the adjoining Cine City and entrance was strictly on invitation

The two and a quarter hour movie could have been easily shortened by at least 30 to 40 minutes. But I did not notice anyone leaving the hall.

The story revolves around a disquieting scene where the magistrate takes off her 12-year-old son’s clothes as they discuss the boy’s love for rugby football. The boy wants to play rugby football as his distinguished father did at Cambridge. The mother insists that rugby football was for macho men and he should play chess. The boy gets into the bathtub. He looks confused as his mother takes off her bathrobe and gingerly steps into the bathtub. The scene surprised at least a section of the audience as bare-breasted, she sits across her wide-eyed son in a bubble-bath. It would have shocked any 12-year-old.

The boy demands to suck the mother’s nipples as he tries to assert his right. It was a powerful scene and implied regularity of such encounters between the two—a troubled woman and her son. This twisted motherly love destroys the boy.

Later, in school, when he looks at several photographs of nude women, prompting him to compare their breasts with the breasts of his mother, it underlines the disturbing effect the woman was having on her only son. He declares that his mother’s breasts are better.

Detected by a teacher, they flee the school after seeing the arrival of what they identify as a police jeep. Under weird circumstances, the magistrate’s son accidentally stabs a woman to death in an abandoned building they were hiding in.

Subsequently we are told the victim was a prostitute who served both men and women from all walks of life, particularly in the abandoned building. We are also told that among the clients were many respectable professionals including the boy’s father who unashamedly admits that he had slept with the woman on so many occasions that he could not remember exactly how many.

After stabbing the prostitute the boy ends up at the National Museum where he gazes at the shapely breasts of a statue, and befriends a teenage girl who happens to be the daughter of a crooked private security guard (Saumya Liyanage). The guard takes the boy to his one-roomed apartment on a high-rise. Here the story is predictable. On the boy’s advice the security guard phones the mother who immediately visits the apartment and offers him money to look after the boy. The boy’s father is kept out of this deal.

The boy, who is obsessed with his mother, draws a picture of a woman with big breasts on the floor under the bed and sleeps on it. The security guard’s daughter goes under the bed to give him warmth. Subsequently he demands that they bathe together as he had done with his mother, a demand flatly rejected by the girl. The young brat compares the teenager’s breasts with his mother’s as he struggles to cope with his mother’s unforeseen absence.

The boy urinates on a policeman cycling on the road. The scene reminds me of Handagama’s previous internationally acclaimed work. Incidentally, Handagama and some of his colleagues like Vimukthi Jayasundera are vigorously enjoying bashing the Sri Lankan State and its armed forces.

The mother quarrels with the security guard for leaving her son alone at the flat. The guard flatly refuses her suggestion of leaving his daughter with the boy. Their quarrel ends with the woman going on the rampage inside the National Museum. The fight ends with the security guard raping her. She is furious with the man for breaking her relationship with her son but is not angry about the violation itself. She lets the audience absorb the full measure of her misery without interruption as she reveals the secrets of her family’s twisted, sinister past. She reveals a drug-like love for influence derived from what she sees as the manipulation of her husband as she shares her secret with the security guard. A stunned guard hears that the lady shared her husband with her mother and she, in fact, was his own daughter. She flees the museum to die in the hands of her son, who accidentally (again) stabs her as she rushes in to take him and hand him over to law enforcement officers.

The father reveals his inability to satisfy his wife/daughter to the servant who complaints about not being given details. Till then, he maintains a form of composure under great strain. With the revelation of his loss of virility the house of cards come tumbling down.

Several scenes set off giggles in the audience. These scenes are compatible with the seriousness of the issue. It was particularly comical to see the servant squeezing the testicles of a policeman who comes in search of the missing boy on the magistratedirective.

The lady magistrate must have decided on a tryst at the museum when the security guard admits that he allows prostitutes to operate there for a fee.

She is found by her husband with a dagger embedded in her abdomen shortly after her son flees the scene with the security guard’s daughter.

Then we are treated to another group of students entering the museum with one boy gazing at the breasts of a huge statue that was being moved into the premises. Is he another victim of a mother’s too exclusive love?

Produced by Upul Shantha Sanasgala who also produced Sulanga Enu Pinisa, A Letter of Fire is a movie not to be missed. Filmed in Kalutara and Colombo, the movie draws immense strength from Harsha Makalanda’s music.

Author:  inuwan [ Sat May 06, 2006 2:26 am ]
Post subject:  Aksharaya (a letter of fire)

Aksharaya (a letter of fire)

Aksharaya (a letter of fire) is the latest move of international awarded Mr. Ashoka Hadagama. It should be release to Sri Lankan audience in this year. But after get all the legal permission to release, The Cultural Affaires Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has ban the film in his own unfairly decision. In addition Minister has said this is a blue film & I never allowed to public release of this film. OK, lets we think Aksharaya is a blue as Minister says. But we all know a lot of English blue films have been showed in Sri Lanka under the title of “adults only”. Mind you I am sure that Hadagama don’t waste his creativity to make a blue film. However Aksharaya maybe an uncommon creative expresses as Hadagama’s other work. But Minister’s bawdy mind can not understand such a thing. We also know it is a common sense Cultural Affaires is an invalid Minster post in our country. Therefore the man who is not having any other talent is appointing as Cultural Affaires Minister. Not problem if he is a top order foolish.

But it is a big problem to srilanken “intelligent” cinema fans. Sri lanken cinema has wide range creativity. We also have same ability of aesthetic. We can’t allow losing those things because of someone’s rural ideas. They couldn’t have limited our feelings range. Because Sri Lanka is a democratic country. Not a communist or Not a Kingdom of Mahinda. Aksharaya may be opposite to “Mihinda Chinthanaya”. But remember that all the srilanken are not “mahindalas”.

This ban is a massage of some kind totalitarian. And also it is a problem about our freedom. Therefore we must announce our protest.

Let’s rally to Protect Sri Lanken’s Freedom of Expression.

Send your protest about film banging to

Nuwan Eranda.

Note – Those attachments are some srilanken civil organization’s protest letters relate this film banging. If you are also think this is a real problem to Sri Lanken’s Freedom of Expression then please forward this mail to all your friends. If you have some ideas about this matter, add it all and forward.

1. Young Film Makers Association (Sri Lanka) announced theirs resist to Minister of National heritage & Cultural affairs about his unfairly banning of Ahoka Hadagama’s new move AKSHARAYA. This is the press release letter which announced theirs opposition.

2. Another organization called national movement 4 liberation of arts has announced theirs protest about unfairly ban of Aksharaya – A Letter of Fire - to The Cultural Affaires Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana. In additions they said this banging is a part of hiding processes which is inability of government to take care children as well as other problems of country such as economical, terrorism,.. ect. This is the press release letter which announced those things.

Author:  sameera [ Thu May 18, 2006 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Aksharaya and Handagama

Dear Mr. SiteAdmin sir,

I followed the link you supplied and sent a letter of support to Mr. Handagama, who I too believe is a truely gifted person. However, Mr. Handagama has refused to post my comment on the site, which I believe is a violation of my right to Freedom of expression. So, appealing to your true belief of this right, I'm posting the comment here as well....

Dear Mr. Handagama,

I'm really proud to say that I had the privillege of viewing your breakthrough film "Flying with One Wing."
I had to say that it was a treat to see a real Sri Lankan woman nude posing for camera. The "Sri Lankan not allowed" we see on the internet almost always turns out to be foreign chicks with dark hair.
However, I must say, your wife turned out to be a real eye-sore :(
I mean, sir, what's wrong with her boobs?
Anyway, in conclusion, sir, I'd like to say that we are hoping and praying that you'd grant us the opertunity see your daughters nude as well. Please inform us as to when we would be able to see them.

Author:  Mihira [ Thu May 18, 2006 5:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

I don’t think there is any other phrase than “Freedom of Expression” that has been manipulated rather abused in this country. And thanks to that, young Sri Lankan film makers have lost it..!! They have lost even the artistic value of their own creations which is a crime. The classic example is “Sulaga Anu Pinisa” by Vimukkthi Jayasundara.

If you are an artist, you should know better; I mean a better way of presenting it. And one cannot get a way under the “intelligent – cinema” (Cinema for elite); simply because cinema is for everyone; it’s a shame that people in this great industry covering themselves under such lame excuses to sell pornography to earn an extra buck and others praise them.

These films; I don’t know on what grounds they win these awards; give very little value to the society at large.

In a way one would truly wonder why they recognize these films? Do they simply want to devalue the simple cultural values we possess; the values which holds the Asian family society like the bonding between a mother and a child ?; when there own is falling apart…!!

May be it’s their objective to encourage Sri Lankan film directors to producers this type of films with some marginal issue supported with some wicked visuals so they can disturb the young Sri Lankan minds with questions like ..Is there a thing called culture?…, Is it important in my life..?, Why cant I sleep with my mother, father, sister, brother or grand mother…?? Is ‘respect’ for self and others is important in life? or how much one should value it?.

Mr. Handagama, now that you have shown your children’s mother ……why not you feature your mother in you next film. I am sure you can come up with another fantastic script for that. And your film colleagues will support you and your team whole heartedly and you are sure to win another truck load of awards so that your investment will not go a waste.

Pls. remember you cannot run away. You are responsible for all your actions....!!

Author:  sameera [ Fri May 19, 2006 10:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Mihira wrote:
why not you feature your mother in you next film.


Have you seen that Handagama bugger? Plain old hideous! Imagine what his mother would look like!!! Uh!

I couldn't jerk off for a week after seeing his wife. Took 6 straight hours of Thai porno for me to recover. Imagine what seeing his mother would do to me

Author:  kalupusa [ Fri May 19, 2006 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  (Gada)Handagama

No guys, Just forget about the poor (Gada)Handagama’s wife, daughter and his mother (may be Handagama has not allowed his mother too, I mean according ‘Aksharaya, I mean this guy say it’s NOT sex. but genuine mother-son love, I wouldn’t know that)

So, KaluPusa says to (Gada)Handagama, put your black Jack Ass in next movie with may be Prof. Suchritha Gamlath ! (No ‘sucharitha’ at all) as a ’Loving Gay couple’. I mean (Gada)Handagama, may be it is the time to talk about real GAY couples now. Then you can start a campaign saying that gay-marriages should be accepted and it’s so wonderful, and can even show how to not allowed YOUR FATHER in the next movie.

After all, you can win so many International awards and most probably the ‘OSCAR’ in 2007. (Like movie ‘Brokeback Mountain’) and we poor Sri Lankan can be glad about you thinking that ‘Ammata huk*** hari Hadagama OSCAR gaththane kiyala’

Author:  tabkthambugala [ Tue May 23, 2006 12:34 am ]
Post subject: 

Nice to see quite a lot of Sri Lankan "Diciplinarians" have commented with exagerrated sympathy towards "Sabyathwaya" in Sri Lanka. I may seek opportunity to ask "What's Sabyathwaya here in this Dharmadveepa , having around 50 000 sexual harrassments for children each ear? What's child care having more than 100 000 street children? what's "Sucharithaya" having 40 000+ (1% of child population) sex labourers? No , friends , its not true "Sucharithaya". What preveals here is just a name of "Sucharithaya"

You claim (G---)Handagama has shown child having sex with mother. Did you watch the film? Don't you notice his continuous denial of that? Aren't you mimicking what's said by (Paya Wasara Samath) Cultural Minister?

I know you're honest. I know you are talking with a true love to our motherland. You don't like pornography to be shown here. But , i must say that EVERY NUDISM IS NOT PORNOGRAPHY. If so , first place to be banned , will be the dissection hall in our medical faculty.

Author:  baggins [ Tue May 23, 2006 3:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

All those guys who are out there in ur offices with nothing better to do than to lick ur boss' shoes and in ur free time go kill some "Handagamas" can go on with ur jolly lives. As u urselves say, watch Thai porno films for 6 hours, and then experiment that with ur girlfriends or wives. This is the 2500 year old cultural heritage every one of us inherit. It is a well known secret that usually most of the children watch blue films even before they hit 14. Poor things, they don't know what's happenning, everywhere people are shouting "Culture! Heritage! Our things! 2500!" and all they get to know about is blue films. No wonder these people don't understand what culture means.
And Mr.Thambugala, u r an idiot to reply these idiots. They really think that every nudism is pornography. Coz porno is the only thing they look for and know. That's our culture. 2500 years gone and we are still in the stone age. Yes, this is the country to be in! And anyway, they are just having their fun. Try organizing them for a protest campaign against the film. Then u'll see what patriots these guys are. No offence meant guys. I know from experience that all u do is just shout. So, "not to worry Mr. Handagama" I say. Coz sooner or later that film's gonna be screened, and all these guys will be still sweating in their offices while I treat myself to a good movie. We deserve one once in a while.

Author:  kalupusa [ Tue May 23, 2006 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Katha Aksharaya

Tabkthambugala, the whole discussion was not that whether the pornography is accepted or shouldn’t the sri lankan movies have nudism or not!

I’m not a FILM expert but I’m a fully grown man to understand what are nudism, pornography, sex and ethics. Showing your young boy in a bathtub with your own mother in naked and getting her nipples kissed by her own child! Man is there any argument in this world that can say that can justify such an act?

Tabkthambugala, you questions whether I have seen the movie, of course NO, BUT did you see the reply from (Gada)Hadagama last week news papers to the secretaries reply 2 weeks back ?

(Gada)Hadagama HAS ACCEPTED the seen and said ‘the secretary has got scared by seen the son and mother bathing in a bathtub!’ isn’t this the same thing what we heard earlier from the secretary? If the wasn’t any such seen, (Gada)Hadagama would have simply said ‘THERE ARE NO SUCH SEENS’ (Please read Lakbima and Divaina on May 21st)

(Further according to Hadagama the Aksharaya continues by finding the teaches that the very same boy saying to some one that ‘HER MOTHERS BOOBS ARE BETTER THAN SOME PORTRAIT………well that completes the story here)

baggins, may be we all lick our bosses shoes…But SEMS YOUR SPECIFICALLY LICKING (Gada)Hadagamas ASS !
Poor thing!

Author:  kalupusa [ Tue May 23, 2006 6:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

By the way Tabkthambugala, I wonder from where you got those figures of 40,000 , 50,000 ! You say ‘what's "Sucharithaya" having 40 000+ (1% of child population) sex labourers?’ WHAT a BULSHIT ! Please let us know your sources of these fantastic figures.

There may be sexual harassments and child sex in SL and there are no place on this earth where this things don’t happen but your figures in thousand are just illusions and I’m pretty sure children in SL are much safer with their parents so far (except may be your and (Gada)Handagam’s home)

Author:  tabkthambugala [ Wed May 24, 2006 12:07 am ]
Post subject:  Facts are there

Hello Baggins , Thanks a lot for pointing out my weaknesses. Indeed , it (quarrelling with ediots for nothing) is one of most severe syndromes i am suferring from. Unfortunately (both for me and for those ediots) , I was still unable to get through it. Anyway , I am intended to think twice on posting here again , after hearing your friendly worlds. Once again Thanks Baggins!!!
Nonetheless , I cannot escape here as easily as i wish. Mr/Mrs/Ms/Ven/Rev/Whatever. Kalupusa has questioned about fantastic figures and numbers. So I have to tell them where i got them from.
Dear Mr/Mrs.... KaluPusa and all those who wish , Don't go anywhere else. Just go to website of our beloved National Child Protection Authority. ( ... 200301.htm ) For the convenience of you all , i will copy down some of its own words. (don't know i'm violating any law. I'm totally unaware about copyright laws!!!)

[b]"Child prostitution, child labour, violence against children and general inconsideration of children's feelings and views are evident in Sri Lanka.

According to the Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority, Prof. Harendra de Silva, nearly 20% of boys and 10% of girls get sexually abused in their own homes and schools at the hands of parents, teachers or someone known to them while Sri Lanka recorded nearly 150,000 children employed as servants and workers in homes and hotels around the country nearly three years back.

According to UNICEF and ILO statistics, there are nearly 40,000 child prostitutes in the country while 5,000 to 30,000 Sri Lankan boys are used by Western paedophile sex tourists in Sri Lanka. Nearly 10,000 to 12,000 children from rural areas are trafficked and prostituted to paedophiles by organised crime groups"[/b]

[i]Some corrections :- My 40 000 is 30 000 mentioned above plus those who are sold to local customers. My 50 000 is a calculation (Total No.of Child births(500 x 10% (minimum percentage subjected to sexual abuse annually mentioned above). Actual numbers may be much higher because I have assumed that those who are subjected to sexual harrassment is subjected only once (which is not always true)[/i]

Ok , Mr/Mrs/... Kalupusa , now think. How fair for you to say [size=18][color=blue][b]"Children are safer in Sri Lanka then anywhere ( Specially @ home and with their parents). "[/b][/color][/size][size=12][/size]

Author:  tabkthambugala [ Wed May 24, 2006 12:23 am ]
Post subject: 

Once Again KaluPusa , If a child sucking a mother's breast is pornography, why did you suck in your Infancy? (Probably You may not have sucked!!!!!). What do you feel if you see a woman in a bus feeding her child? "Wal Gaaniyak!!!!!!"
With basic psychology of Sigmon Freud (I don't think you may understand-perhaps you may charge him also as a pornographer-my heavens, ) oral sexual stage of a child's development starts when (s)he sucks mother's breast. If this is interrupted or exagerrated , there are some abnormalities in oral sexual desire of the child , which are manifested even in adulthood. (These are quite natural and not rare). If this psychological truth Handagama is going to tell , and if you shout against it , please sir , please think of yourself again.

Author:  sameera [ Wed May 24, 2006 1:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

tabkthambugala wrote:
harrassments for children each ear?


Now you want to discuss Ear-f**ing now? Well if you had actually tried it, you'll know that its no fun. Guess some people when they don't find it amusing in one ear, they try the other one.... hmm... Man that's stupid! Both ears are the same size.

Hey, Mr Baggins,
Are you any relation to Bilbo Baggins of Lord of the Rings Fame? Well of course, if you are, then you must be a hobbit. And, anybody who's seen LOTR will know that majority of the hobbits were gay. So of course, you must be on Handagama's side.

Btw, about experimenting with my grilfirend, well what can I say? What's life without the thrill of experimentation. Of course, you probably never experimented or jerked off yourself. Now, I have to respect that. Besides, its not your fault you got ear-f**d before you turned 10. That's the price you pay for being born a hobbit.

Author:  sameera [ Wed May 24, 2006 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Facts are there

tabkthambugala wrote:
National Child Protection Authority. ( ... 200301.htm ) ....

"Child prostitution, child labour, violence against children and general inconsideration of children's feelings and views are evident in Sri Lanka.

According to the Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority, ...
According to UNICEF and ILO ...
[i]Some corrections :- ...

Wow, somebody's being doing his research pretty darn well hasn't he.

Excellent man! Excellent!!!
People, take note! This is how you prepare for a business venture. There tons of sorry ass businessmen out there who screwed up because they weren't paying attention to the basics, like,
1. Political and judicial enviornment
2. Potential and consistency of supply and deman
3. The demographic and geographic concentration of the supply and demand

Now, if you are planning to launch your startup company to sell women and children for sex, Mr. Tabkthambugala has shown you the way. That guy must probably making millions with his business right now.

And of course people, remember! When people like Mr. Handagama come forward and try to convince the population that
Children are not safer in Sri Lanka then anywhere ( Specially @ home and with their parents)
do stand by them. That's the best advertisement you can get!

Author:  baggins [ Wed May 24, 2006 6:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

If any of these people knew the proper way to go about an argument over a topic, I'd have jumped in. I'm sorry to say that I suffer from the same disease which thambugala has. So, let me tell u people something.

1. We can think of the film in question in two ways.
1. The film portrays reality in Srilanka.
2. The film does not protray the real thing.
All those smart asses out there can tell me what it is. But I'm sure that none of us has seen the film. That is why I'm waiting to see it.

2. Those who do not know about something called oedipus complex, plz type ur searches in google right now.

3. Read up about the unconcious ya all. Maybe u don't have one. Who knows?

4. Those who are gonna say Freud is wrong, do speak this out as well, Einstein is wrong as well.

5. I'm really dissapointed to not have found an advesary here. All these people are children. little-grown up babies. So sorry for u I am.

6. "These films; I don’t know on what grounds they win these awards; give very little value to the society at large.

In a way one would truly wonder why they recognize these films? Do they simply want to devalue the simple cultural values we possess; the values which holds the Asian family society like the bonding between a mother and a child ?; when there own is falling apart…!! "

Look at that. Perhaps he knows more about films than those who really know. That's what the minister thought as well.

I really wish that u'd stop licking ur boss' boots coz now u've said u r doing it. U r so much fun guys.

Author:  kalupusa [ Wed May 24, 2006 7:07 pm ]
Post subject: 

Tabkthambugala, I’ve said in my reply
‘I’m not a FILM expert but I’m a fully grown man to understand what are……’
So please call me MR. 

Thank you for the wonderful resources links given, I’m still studying them….

Now Tabkthambugala, You haven’t answered my question, Did u see the reply from (Gada)Hadagama last week? If not pls do read the article and come back….

You say
‘If a child sucking a mother's breast is pornography’
, Absolutely NOT !!!!!
<font color="#00CCFF">That’s call ‘BREAST FEEDING’ </font>

Why don’t you download the trailer from <a href=><font color="#FF0000"></font></a>and see you’re self whether this ‘child’ is in his age of sucking her mother nipples for ‘bread feeding’! By the way Tabkthambugala, I haven’t heard of any mother who breast feed her ‘child’ in bathtubs, Have you? Hmmmmm……..

Now do you understand the theory here? There is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig difference in ‘breast feeding’ an infant and get SUCKED her nipples by child in a BATHTUB…

If you still do not agree, well what can I say……..if you are married and have kids,…… hmmmm……….I don’t say any thing……….[/url]

Author:  tabkthambugala [ Wed May 24, 2006 8:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yes Baggins , I agree with u. Actually talking with one fool is quite more difficult than talking with a thousand normal (mentally healthy) persons. Statistics are not from anywhere , but just from Child Protection Authority , which is planning to litigate against the film. These are not my facts. But they have mentioned as I myself wrote them!!!. Indeed it's the stupidity of me which persuaded me to get into a debate with those who lack simple reading ability.
Many claim Freud is wrong , but none says why. The reason for their shouting is nothing but the "Cultural and Religious Flu" they are having. Those who are not ready to accept the truth when it comes in any form , are simply NARROW MINDED. Querelling with them is simply a wasted task. So , I will make an end to my posting here. If they are blind to truth , what's the use of showing them the truth??
(Anyway I thought of writing the word "oedipus complex" in my previous comment but i wasn't sure about spelling for "oedipus". That's why i used alternate words. )

Author:  sameera [ Thu May 25, 2006 9:46 am ]
Post subject: 

baggins wrote:
I'm sorry to say that I suffer from the same disease which thambugala has.

Dear Baggins Uncle,

I'm really proud of you for admitting that you two are sick. That didn't really shock me btw, as I kindda guessed it the first time you posted. In anycase, they say that admittence is the first step towards recovery. I too think that Aksharaya should be shown. It would help those like you, who are suffering from severe cases of Oedipus Complex (or as it's known at its severe stages: "The Mother F***er's Syndrome), could accept their state and work towards recovery.

(BTW, do you have a clip on that breast-feeding thingy in the film? Is this babe's boobs just as bad as Handagama's wife's? If not, can you post it some where? I'd like to see them. She's kindda good looking).

And mame, have you not achieved anything in your life that you need to stalk public forums looking for
baggins wrote:
an advesary
? Are you that insignificant of a man, that you need to prove to strangers, that you are some kind of an intellectual? And what's this your obsession with licking boots? Since you seem to be a google expert, I have two words for you to search too: "foot fetish"

In anycase, since I seem to have grabed the attention of a benevolent gentleman, can I ask some assistance from you and your NGO?
Look the thing is unlike in western unis, SL universities don't have automatic condem dispensers. Its not like we don't do it, right? And not having a machine really doesn't teach abstinence, sply when we get horny. :oops:
You know its really embarassing for us to go to a pharmacy and make the "O" sign with the fingers to get a condem too, b'cos now-a-days everybody seem to know what that means :( Not very good for the girlfriends either when we have leave them at the bus halt to get one.

So Mr. Tabkthambugala, can you guys help us campaing for this? Probably, you could get Mr. Handagama to do a film on this.
Please ?

Author:  baggins [ Thu May 25, 2006 10:53 am ]
Post subject: 

First thing,

"And mame, have you not achieved anything in your life that you need to stalk public forums looking for
baggins wrote:
an advesary
? Are you that insignificant of a man, that you need to prove to strangers, that you are some kind of an intellectual? "
Apply this on urself. We both know what's going on. Just for ur knowledge, I'd love to remind u that u haven't answered any of the real questions in this forums rather than questioning others' sexuality.

And thanx so much for telling us that u r in an university. That clears up a whole bunch of problems. I have to agree with u, I'm not such a significant man as u, u being in a campus. That's what Thambugala thinks as well. He tries to constantly tell us he's in the medical faculty. U r doing the same thing. Now ask urself again who's having the identity problem. Me, or u?

Anyway, let me remind u something. All u guys' lives revolve around sex. And trying to refuse that. Unfortunately, in front of complete strangers u meet on the net who don't know u, and whom u don't know, all ur culture, heritage and other chit chat break down and what we meet is the real u who is behind the mask. U may re-read ur posts to confirm this. So, when Handagama is talking about sexuality every film, he's talking about the real thing. So don't get mad at him Sameera, coz he's talking about u, u should be proud of urself.

One question, how can u bring down the whole film to one scene? Why do people like u always only see the part about sex? do re-read ur posts again.

And do tell me how Handagama can destroy the "spirit" of this country with one scene in a film which will only be allowed for adults? Is this "spirit" so weak? Is the sense of culture of the adults so weak? Anyway, while u r screaming ur troats out at Handagama, why don't u launch the same sort of protest against Baywatch, B&B, Praveena, Hello- gedara kawuda, etc? Don't these affect u and ur loved children? Don't blue films affect u? Where are u to protest against these? So, why is it that u only see this film in this light?

And, Sameera seems to have a problem with my name. I'll just say that I understand what Hobits mean in LOTR. Unlucky u that u only see sex in that too.

This is my last post. I'll let u guys eat up Handagama between urselves. Last thing, do get serious about what u r saying. All those "Outside(& inside) invaders" who are trying to destroy "our culture" are. Aren't they? U'll have to get darn serious to really stop this. It'll be a life long fight.

Author:  sameera [ Thu May 25, 2006 12:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is my last post.

Ane ehema kiyanna epa :(

Me machang umba ara pissu Chamil neda? Ado sorry machang mata andura ganna bari una.

Mokak da ban me Culture lu, history lu, "spirit of the country" lu. Kawda ban owata kamathi?

All u guys' lives revolve around sex. And trying to refuse that.

Ithin ban, aththane? Mama naha kiyuwada? Umba mane ehema hitha gena thiyenne. (Umba Chamil nam, umba eka dannawane).

I'm not such a significant man as u, u being in a campus
. Awul ganna epa ban. Umba thawa parak exam karala balapan.

Mama hithuwe mai, ara tabkthambugala hadayayi umbe paththe hitiye kiyala. Baluwa hama umba api dennath ekkath upset ne. Moka da ban e?

Author:  rajith2006 [ Thu May 25, 2006 6:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

I searched on the web about this film "Aksharaya" or "Letter of fire" or whatever. And I came here. I saw all the comments here. And I'm sorry to have seen some of them. How can anyone who hasn't lost their sanity say that a sexual relationship or whatever between a mother and a son can be just? Perhaps for thes peopel it is not. But we know what our culture is even if some try to destroy it. And I'm happy to see that those peopel are not here anymore.

Author:  Asoka Handagama [ Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  My Aksharaya and Their Aksharaya

My Aksharaya and Their Aksharaya

By Asoka Handagama
@ DM / 04Jun2006

For the very first time in my life I witnessed a “film (p) review” published in pioneer English daily newspapers in the country by a group of lady-critics who have not seen the movie. This so called (p) review was, as they claimed, based on views and reports of those who have seen the film, media reports and website information. I was shocked to see that prestigious English newspapers like Daily News, Daily Minor were so down in their moral standards to publish an essay on an unseen movie under the caption of Film (P)review.

These learned ladies review a movie called Aksharaya, of which the name is as same as the one I scripted and directed. The characters are similar. Apparently the difference is the content and the presentation. In their film, the director, whose name is unknown, has glorified the incestuous relationship between the mother and the son. In my Aksharaya there is no incestuous relationship between the mother and the son at all. If anybody who has seen my movie can prove that there exists such a relationship in the movie I will withdraw my film from proposed circulation. That does not mean that I don’t have the right to portray such a relationship in a film. But for my film Aksharaya, such a portrayal was not necessary.

They blame the PPB under several charges. Firstly, for approving a film in which an ‘unnatural’ relationship between a mother and a son is depicted. As I don’t know whether the PPB has approved such a film, I reserve my comment on that. But, the relationship between the mother and the son in my film Aksharaya is the most ‘natural’ one of all.

The human subject begins with the castration of the umbilical cord through which a child is attached to the mother’s body. This separation from mother’s body is still incomplete as the child has to depend on mother’s breast feeding. In a normal family, it is the father (father’s law) who intervenes and breaks this bond.

The story in my film revolves around an elite family within which this role of the father has not been performed. The consequent confusion in the boy’s mind drives him into a vicious circle of tragedies from which he has no option to escape. This is because of his failure of entering into father’s symbolic world, i.e. the culture. This is the story in the outer layer of the film. Interwoven with different layers, the real politics of the film lies in the lower layer, which is the subtext. Unfortunately, the current discourse is nowhere near that.

If somebody asked me whether the relationship between a mother and a son was sexual, I would, with no hesitance, say yes. It is of course sexual, but this sexuality is in the unconscious mind. This can easily be demonstrated, without going into deep psycho-analytical explanation, through commonly observed examples. The most commonly heard quarrel in a traditional family unit is the so-called ‘Nendamma leli habe’ (grudge between mother- in-law and daughter-in-law). Why most of the mothers, especially in rural areas, are jealous of their daughters-in-law? Can these learned ladies explain the psychological background for this? Is it because of the wickedness of the mothers-in-laws..? Or due to the jealousy of the mother towards the intruder (daughters- in- law) who robs her object of desire.?

I would like to ask these ladies to conduct a survey across the district courts in the island to have an idea about the regularity of the cases filed by the wives seeking divorce, charging their husbands for being attracted to the mothers. Once there was a news item in the papers that a wife had filed a case against her husband charging him for sleeping with the mother. (That does not mean that they had sex). In another such case, the charge is that the mother feeds the son (husband ) while she (wife) is watching. There are plenty of such cases. The most frequent observation is that some men want to marry women who look like their mothers. The bond between the mother and the son is so strong and that is why Queen Mahamaya had to die after giving birth to Prince Siddhartha.
Father (his symbolic world) appears as a ‘bar’ separating the child from the mother’s body. (If this separation is imperfect, the ensuing child will be a pervert). Once this separation is done the child loses his object of desire and at that point the real journey of the life begins. All of us in the society are in search of this lost something. This desire is sexual, and it is in the unconscious mind.

There is no religious literature other than the Buddhist, in which this complex human subject was addressed. Enough examples can be traced from the Jathaka Potha, Parajika Pali, Anguththara Nikaya etc. Irony in the case of Aksharaya is that most of the protestors based their protest campaigns in the name of the Sinhala-Buddhist culture. These ladies blame the PPP, for approving a film that shatters the family values and cultural standards. How can a film shatter those values and standards..? A film for me, does not destroy (or create) anything in reality. If one film can shatter family values and cultural standards of a society, those values and standards can surely be protected or rebuilt by another one. I humbly reveal my inability to do it. If anybody can provide me with such a script I will be more than happy to exhaust my energy to make a movie based on that.

Author:  Savithree [ Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:31 pm ]
Post subject:  In defence of Handagama

In defence of Handagama

by Revata S. Silva
The Island / 17 June 2006

It is rare during the last 59 years of Sinhala cinema that a film earning such a widespread publicity like what Asoka Handagama’s fifth film Aksharaya (A Letter of Fire) has received even before its release. Some agile viewers hope this is yet another stunning sexual movie, which includes incest scenes, like mother-son sex, and the interest to watch it looks to be ever increasing!

Handagama has always been controversial since he first entered arts as a stage drama director in the mid ’80s. He later went to the extent, as his ardent critics always remember, of "stripping" his own wife before the camera in his own film (Thani Thatuwen Piyabanna).

‘Twisted Motherly love’

But it should be noted here that the ongoing surprisingly premature attack on his latest film was triggered by a newspaper article – a film review -- appeared in The Island of March 23, 2006 (Pg. 5). The article was "Of Twisted Motherly Love" written by Shamindra Fedinando, a fellow staffer.

It was later mentioned in some media reports that Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, the Cultural Affairs Minister, who later interfered to stop the public screening of Aksharaya even after it was approved by the Public Performances Board, had decided to see the movie only after Shamindra’s aforesaid article. Along with the story line of the movie, the article carried a detailed description, of some exquisite scenes—the much hyped bath tub scene—included in the film.

My colleague has not been a full-time film critic though he is remembered for his earlier pulverizing on Vimukthi Jayasundara’s pseudo-Cannes-winning Sulanga Enu Pinisa. This time his "accidental" interference on Aksharaya, though he may have done it in good faith, spelled disaster to the movie.

But an interesting thing happened subsequently. Shamindra told this writer that he liked the film very much after watching it at the Cine City theatre, Maradana where it was shown as part of the Bonjour Cinema Festival jointly organized by the National Film Corporation. He was of the view that Handagama has apparently deviated from his usual practice of ruthlessly attacking the Sri Lankan State, its culture and its defence services, as it was predominantly evident in most of his earlier works like Me Mage Sandai (This Is My Moon).

He said it was a good sign. In fact, in his review Shamindra wrote: "Handagama’s boldness would trigger criticism, but I personally believe it would do a world of good to the struggling local cinema." After the controversy triggered, following his own article, Shamindra continued to support Handagama and was of the view that the film should be released for public viewing.

Yet, there were more interesting points in his article. He had left in it an ample space, understandably due to his "unconscious" unawareness, for agile Handagama critics to take advantage and imply the article as something that was strongly against both Handagama and his film.

For example, he wrote "`85Aksharaya erroneously translated as ‘A Letter of Fire’`85", hinting at a probable effort to attract (envious) foreign audiences, and gave prominence to a message sent by Abdou Diouf, Gen. Secretary of the Francophony, who was one of the organisers of the aforesaid festival. The article depicted Vimukthi Jayasundara as a "colleague of Handagama" while mentioning that Aksharaya was produced by Upul Shantha Sannasgala, who incidentally was the local producer of Sulanga Enu Pinisa.

These references in the article looked to have awakened, if not provoked, a certain governing ideology in our society. The usual Handagama antagonists took weapons against the man thinking the ever stubborn filmmaker has made yet another artwork damaging and discrediting the nation and its majority Sinhala Buddhist ideology. In the mean time, it was assumed that Handagama, by making such films, had played to the hands of eerie, conspicuous foreign forces often represented here by Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) which Handaya (as Handagama is affectionately known) was said to be always depending on throughout his arts career.

As a result, during the recent media pandemonium on Aksharaya, Gunadasa Amarasekara wrote (The Island, April 27, 2006, Pg. 7): "These cinematic creations are part and parcel of the neo-colonial cultural invasion which appears to have taken a serious turn over the last two or three years with the emergence of the nationalist forces in this county." Amarasekara in his interference identified Handagama as a "treacherous force backed by NGO dollar kakkas."

Therefore, by "supporting" Handagama, Ferdinando has virtually put a cat amongst the pigeons! He too couldn’t have helped it. The reason may be that Ferdinando has, like Amarasekara, been always identified as a vigorous voice, in our print media, on the Sinhala-Buddhist ideology.

Conspiracy theories

The timing of the Aksharaya uproar is important. Unlike previously, when Handaya’s films were shown, this was to be released at a time when the filmmaker’s age-old opposition was extremely powerful. That was due to the certain juncture which the country has arrived at with regard to the LTTE-oriented ethnic crisis.

In this backdrop, we should try to see the issue from the angle of the filmmaker. Handagama, we can assume, should be having close links with certain NGOs and, on some instances, he was known to have been actually funded by such NGOs to make peace related— sometimes not artistically noteworthy—tele-serials. For example Me Paren Enna (Take This Road), which was shown in 2004 on Rupavahini.

There is an intricate issue to discuss here. Does Handagama actually support an ante-nationalistic (or ante-Sinhala Buddhist) agenda by making such teles or films? Or else, is he carrying NGO money, by making such films, back home with a view to living a luxurious middle-class life with his family? Or else, has he been compelled to take such a risky and, may be, harmful step as a result of the existing, intricate and unsupportive economic system which binds an artiste? Finding the answer here asks for some serious, impartial investigation. In this sense, Shamindra’s conclusion that Handaya is a "colleague" of Jayasundara could be something erratic.

There is clear demarcation between Handagama and the likes of Jayasundara where their artistic practices are concerned. The way Jayasundara came to the instant limelight and went away with a Cannes Award to reside in France brings serious questions to the mind of any sober thinker.

If Jayasundara was a rogue in his artistic practice, this rogue could be best identified or defined not in the light of the Sinhala-Buddhist, nationalistic ideology. Emergence of artificial and phoney artistes like Jayasundara is harmful not in the process of making a solid, independent nation but in the respectable existence of genuine, social-conscious arts practice in a given national structure. (This is a wider issue which needs to be discussed in a different context.) One thing is certain. It’s not pragmatic or accurate to consider Handagama as a similar entity as Jayasundara as Shamindra does in his review.

Who is Handagama then?

Handagama should instead be taken as someone who takes up socio-political issues in a psychological level or, to be more precise, psychoanalytical level. He may be the most "political" cinematographer here at present as his themes and presentation, mostly in his later works, leave space for an appropriate and important political discussion in this country.

We saw this highly influential nature in his arts when Vimal Weerawansa and Deepthi Kumara Gunaratne were hotly engaged in a socio-political discussion before the public as Handaya’s Me Mage Sandai was shown in far off places in the island five years ago. This was a rare occurrence in the Sinhala cinema culture.

And it was always forgotten that Handagama is usually engaged, at least in his last two or three works, in a different cinematic genre identified as "Psychoanalytical Cinema" or cinema which leads to a valid psychoanalytical discussion.

Psychoanalysis is essentially a Western idea. The P’analytical Cinema Genre (David Lynch, Michael Haneke, David Cronenberg, etc) is very much centred in the West. And, in the meantime, it’s true that there are certain conspicuous, destructive Western ideas that are deliberately spread in the East with an extremely malicious intent. So, what has Handaya got to do with them as long as he is not taking any undue advantage off them nor acting as a local arm or agent of those forces?

Psychoanalysis may not be a Western conspiracy. It may well be used as an effective tool to understand, and solve, the governing social problems of the Sri Lankans. In any given society, there should be liberty to criticise its culture at least to achieve two justifiable objectives: One is to question the existing one and its present limitations and the other is to enrich it with more humane, developed substances.

For those who have seen at least a good four, five Western p’analytical films, Handaya’s Aksharaya would only be a trivial experience and would leave only a shock on our culture and society. It’s hard to fathom how it could be treated as an "obscene" portrayal of (an imaginary) "pure" local culture.

In this context, Handagama is really unfortunate to be always under attack and to be discarded as an oddity (kupadiya, pissa) and an enemy of a nation purely due to the non availability or lack of a serious or developed cinematic culture or discourse in this island.

Here is an ailing discourse which doesn’t even have at least the prime artistic notions precipitated in other parts of the world following the development of the modernist criticism. After famous court cases like "The Lady Chatterley’s Lover" and "Fanny Hill", the world started to look at arts through an "ethical" code, not through a "moral" code (the gist of basic criticism). Except in highly exceptional cases (Salman Rushdie, "Da Vinci Code"), this has been a universal practice.

The ‘thing’ called ‘nation’

In defence of Handaya, at this juncture, there should be some kind of counterattack as well. Interestingly the most sophisticated retaliation measures against "the ante-Handagama front" can be derived from the p’analysis school itself.

The "Thing" called "nation"; this is believed to be the fundamental factor disgraced or disturbed by Handagama’s later films. And, at the same time, it’s the very factor which his critics are looked to be fervently standing for as well.

Psychoanalytically, this "Thing" (called "nation") is purely an "Enjoyment" in the present era of human (socio-economic) history. On a physical, traditional level, the concept of "nation" is represented or formulated by its written history, culture, heritage, etc. But, when the inner human mind is concerned, these outside representations take up a whole new, different picture.

Here, we can refer to an explanation given by one of the most popular Slovenian p’analytical socio-cultural analysts, Slavoj Zizek. Nationalism, according to Zizek, can be identified as an eruption of this "mass enjoyment" into the social field. He argues the individual of a society identifies himself with the specific myths of nation’s enjoyment. Thus, the concept of "Nation" gets its legitimisation today.

During phases of ethnic tension, Zizek says, the nation becomes a "Thing," the source of our enjoyment. The "Other" who disrupts this "Thing" (in this case, Handagama) becomes one who tries to steal "Our" (Sinhala Buddhist nationalists’) enjoyment away from us by ruining our "way of life." The "Other" permanently tries to steal the very basis of "Our" enjoyment. Therefore we grow hatred towards the enjoyment of the "Other" as he threatens to steal "Our" collective enjoyment.

Let’s look at a simpler example here. Imagine the section "Us" denounces women wearing tight, "sexy" denim pants. This section "Us" now collectively "enjoys" a common "way of life." It overtly implies that women should not be sexually objectified, depicted by putting such Western denims on her. But, theoretically and covertly (and p’analytically), this "Us" are collectively "enjoying" the denim and, more accurately, what that denim covers (the female body).

This "denim paradox" (externally objecting while internally enjoying), one can assume, is fixed with the Sri Lankan rural majority consciousness. This (rural) enjoyment gets questioned and disintegrated when it is confronted with the "real" denim (wearing women) in the city. But still they ("Us") would shout at promoting looser, more decent, ‘un-sexy’ and eastern-type skirts for women. This outcry is really coming out of nothing but a hidden enjoyment of what is really covered by the denim (female legs, buttocks).

In such a situation, if someone promotes women or girls wearing tight denims, this "someone" instantly becomes the "Other" who goes against the collective "enjoyment" which ultimately constructs the "Thing" called "nation." This ‘someone’ here might be just trying to show something that is common (like ordinary denims). But by doing so he or she ("Other") has without any knowledge violated a common rule by unsettling a collective ("Our" or "Us" which propels the "Thing") "enjoyment." Who is really derogatory, obscene, "wal" or "kupadi" here? Is it "Us" (the ‘rural’ ‘national’ consciousness) or the "Other" ("Aksharaya")?

The latest situation

The more recent developments on "Aksharaya" have made the issue more complicated. When the "Aksharaya" rivals are identified as "Deshapremees" (lovers of the motherland), the "Aksharaya" supporters have interestingly become two fold. One set is understood as obvious "deshadroheens" (betrayers of motherland) or NGO kakkas today but there is another pro-"Aksharaya" camp that does not have any name or identification for them. They look like some kind of supernatural beings whose interference here is not clearly understood in the present context.

The "deshadroheens" or the NGO kakkas here deserve such a big pouncing on them. They could really be more aptly termed "Liberal Capitalists" as they act as apologists today without any criticism against the harmful political and economic conditions here. Their interference with regard to either "Aksharaya" or any unhealthy socio-political condition won’t bring about any effective solution nor would they bring any substantial social change.

They pretend to be the guardians of true arts here but they really are just surviving on the money they earn from NGO funds. Amongst these bogus "Aksharaya" supporters, there are people who have really been charged for child abuse offences!

A good example here is a conference held last month at the Colombo Public Library, in support of the film, with the participation of about eight "fantastic" organisations. It’s astonishing that Handagama had to fall to such a level of expecting the support of anyone, no matter who they were, without having political mindfulness on what those people were up to.

Some of the organisations that voiced favour for the film that day had been realistically non-existent. Some of them, it is believed, have had a membership of only one or two and have organised themselves for reasons that only those two or three people would know. It is learnt that some speakers that day had actually been involved in child abuse cases. Interestingly, one aim of that conference was to make a protest against the alleged child abuse charges on Handagama.

Handagama has to be politically alert, not to find freedom from the ongoing court cases, but to survive his own political image. His struggle has not been put in the right place nor has it been understood properly either by his friends or enemies. One should not necessarily wear the national dress if one fights for the cultural development of this country. On the other hand, those who wear pure white are not the most moralistic or cultured people you find these days.

Enjoyment shifted as ‘cinema factor’

The "enjoyment" of the "Thing" called "nation" supplies a newer knowledge. The usual Handagama and "Aksharaya" rivals, who were awakened by the Ferdinando film review, are camping very clearly, as they have always been, to protect their "enjoyment" of the Pro-Sinhala-Buddhist "Thing." Their interference has become at many times more forceful than even what Shamindra would have imagined. He would never have expected any child abuse case or incest taboo arguments resulting from a film that he predicted would "do a world of good to the local cinema."

The pro-Handagama line, meanwhile, looks to have been dominated by some cunning forces always looking for an artificial issue for them to save their faces. "Aksharaya" serves as a cover-up for those culprits. Their "enjoyment" nowadays is aligned with this "cinema" factor. They are now ready to sell this film as a commodity on their cheap stalls for their benefit.

These cinematic contours reveal features on how (certain) ideologies function these days. Our focus is ‘forced’ to deviate towards a film ("Aksharaya" or "Da Vinci Code") urging us to overlook the real problems surrounding us (the war, excessive commercialism, breakdown of law and order in society, etc.). It’s certain that none of these films would have made any substantial impact on those more governing, realistic problems if they were allowed to be shown here without any ban or bane.

Amid this irrepressible "enjoyment" of a "nation", the much needed discussion, which could really have emanated from the film "Aksharaya," made by an outsider or "Other" to enrich the "struggling" (as Shamindra wrote) national film and arts discourse, has been thrown out to the backyard. It’s something foolish if not hilarious.

Author:  sameera [ Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:54 am ]
Post subject: 


The subject of Handagama's next film about "twisted kiri-amma love"

Eat that Sri Lanka!!!


Author:  VINDANA ARIYAWANSA [ Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:24 pm ]
Post subject:  An open letter to Asoka Handagama

Dear Asoka,

First of all let me apologize for addressing you by your first name. I am well aware of the fact that in a polite society a person doesn’t address someone else by their name unless that person is being asked to. You are neither a friend nor a colleague of mine, a status which wouldn’t permit me to call you such. But In my own self-righteous mindset, I found an excuse to justify myself for calling you Asoka. That’s purely because I am an avid fan of your work.

Ever since I had the opportunity to watch “Dunhinda Addara” and “Diyakata Pahana”, I became an instant admirer of your authenticity which you demonstrated on those Tele Dramas with immense steadfastness. I wish I could say the same thing about your initial work “Prabathaya”, but that didn’t impress me that much. It was nothing out of ordinary. But the previous titles mentioned were revelations for Sri Lankan audience and despite the mixed reception and criticism received as a whole, I believe it has won the hearts of many viewers and specially a couple of people I knew closely, who were fortunately blessed with good senses to creative forms of art and to identify and appreciate once they experience them. Your work also gave me the impression that you might be a maverick in your field of work. Since then I was keenly observant about your future work. I was looking forward to see an honest, creative, passionate, fearless filmmaker/writer working at his best. Unfortunately I missed out on watching couple of your movies, which are “Chanda Kinnari” and” Thani Thatuwen Piyambanna”. But I had the opportunity to watch “Me Mage Sandai” and I was very much impressed with that. That’s when I started to appreciate your nerve to swim upstream in a society where majority of people suffer from socio psychological fabrication. We still live in a society, like medieval times and the following period of enlightenment haven’t reached us yet, so we could generate our own opinions rather than blindly following what are being told by societies' cultural, political and religious leaders. That is a very regrettable state, but we are left with no choice, so it’s better to continues with the path we have chosen, which you as an artist rightfully does.

But speaking of “Thani Tatuwen Piyambanna”, even though I haven’t seen the movie, I became aware of the story line. I have to tell you that I have also seen “Boys Don’t Cry” by Kimberly Pierce, a true story about a girl name Brandon Teena who grew up in state of Nebraska and finally got brutally murdered. Please do not even fathom the fact that I am trying to call you a counterfeiter or in plain slang a rip off. . No absolutely not; I was proud of you as a Sri Lankan when you made that movie and stood by your creation. Similar story lines can happen all around the world. And even if it is a remake by any chance, as long as the movie itself is done with great ingenuity, it deserves the same respect just as the original version. When Sergio Leone made all those spaghetti westerns, remakes of Kurosawa’s Samurai movies, starring Clint Eastwood, the different between him and Toshiro Mifune was the Winchester gun instead of samurai sword. Akira Kurosawa’s, great samurai movies were remade in western in a different cultural set up , but the end result was a series of good movies not far from the greatness of Kurosawa’s work. And Kurosawa has often mentioned how he was inspired by John Ford and his movie hero John Wayne. That is what inspired him to create the movies he made in his kind. He went to greater extent not just to appreciate John Ford as a filmmaker but to impersonate him by dressing just like him while he was on movie set. Among the other Japanese technical staff working on his movie, Kurosawa was distinguished not just because of his height which was unusual for an average Japanese native, but for his outfit as well. The point I was trying to make with the above references was, that inspiration can travel across the globe, transfer to continents and people with the capacity to recreate good forms of art by upholding or even may be surpassing the original should be highly appreciated. And regarding “Thani Thatuwen Piyambanna”, all I could say is bravo to you for your efforts for making a movie which followed serious fallout and having the courage to face dreadful consequences. I am still looking forward to watch it whenever I get an opportunity. And yet again I applaud and support your audacity for creating a cinematic piece of unconventional nature.

Now let me get back to the real reason why I decided to write you this letter. I had the opportunity to watch you latest work “Aksharaya”. My anticipation of your newest creation was very lofty and just as expected it didn’t disappoint me. That doesn’t also mean that I was 100 percent satisfied with the movie as a whole. Unfortunately I believe I didn’t get to watch the last few moments of the movie, so my judgment may not be complete by quite a margin. But from what I saw of your latest cinematic work fulfilled my personal movie watching experience with satisfaction.
Again not losing track on the purpose of this letter, which is utterly about “Aksharaya”, let me divert my focus back on the subject rather than drive myself into psychological self disruption for insignificant concerns. In the world of real moviemaking that genre is called “Film Noir”, which is a fact I am sure you are very much aware of. In french it means black movies (pardon my eagerness, I also know quite well your knowledge of French and the fact you don’t need any reminder of what is means), not sticking to conventional happy endings as Frank Capra's movies famous for; these films expose the human behavior at their darkest hour when they are trapped or suffer in unusual circumstances. One of my personal favorite noir is Polanski’s “China Town” and there are many more made throughout the world in the past fifty years and even modern filmmakers such as Pedro Alamodovar, Quentin Tarantino are very much capable of making films of that genre. And these 21st century filmmakers did that to near perfection.
Getting back to the point of my writing, which is about your movie, the way I see it Asoka, the Sri Lankan mainstream audience is not ready for this kind of movie. They have a hard time figuring out this than the notion of how the coin change given to them on the private bus conductor whose life is dedicated to scamming people on regular basis, keeps doing it to them everyday no matter how hard they try to stay vigilant.
That unprepared, unexposed, unawareness, inexperienced, nature of average audience and lack of insightfulness in the artistic senses, are the main reasons to turn this movie down. The so called opinion makers aren’t that different from them. For their survival they lack the nerve to go public and acknowledge a creation which can be unconventional but not unusual. We can forgive the general public whose only exposure to cinema is nonstop flowing of commercial Hindi movies and two bit soap operas made of people with a double digit IQ. But very few people who have seen and experienced greatness of world cinema, where are they when we need them? I guess it’s one of those questions that we can never find an answer in our society during out lifetime.
I liked your movie, it was a good experience, it was a breath of fresh air and it reserved my faith on you as the most promising moviemaker of our land at this time. The opening credits were refreshing, and had a small resemblance of the “Aviator”, when Howard Hughes was little and his mother was bathing him. Again please understand that reference was a complement, not an accusation of plagiarism. Another fact that took me by surprise was the reference to “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov” and famous professor Humbert Humbert. I have seen both movies made by Stanley Kubrick and Adrian Lynn. I won’t have to tell you who impressed me most. There was a very thin line between the qualities of both movies. In my opinion, Kubrick hit the home run on this novel 50 years ago. Mentioning that in your movie was such a pleasant amazement. And practically how many Sri Lankan movie goers would you think be familiar with that or even any novel with a vague similarity to “Lolita. My question was how they could relate to the movie without knowing that. That dream of Ravindra with reference to the novel plays a huge part of the psychological and behavioral nature of the protagonist. In my opinion what needed is an open unbiased discussion for general public by a group of people who still have some form of credibility left so they could convince the public to enjoy this movie with their eyes not being clouded by cultural, social and sexual hypocrisy. The reason I mentioned this because I had the urge that this kind of movie should be watched by our audience. In a country like United States you have various types of audiences who are devoted to various types of movies. Some go watch cult movies, and other watch Disney movies, but they don’t protest that other filmmakers should be hanged and those movies shouldn’t be made. That is called freedom of choice. Unfortunately one of many things our country still doesn’t have. But on a positive note, even in our country nobody’s putting a gun to a person’s head and makes him watch something. It’s still their own discretion if the public wants to watch them. I believe the Bureaucrats are the once who deprive them from experiencing your movie.
Like Moses said, “Let my people go, I’d say let the public watch it and make their own opinions. Adults can consent whatever they wish as long as it’s not illegal. So let them watch the movie, and come to their own conclusions. Voice them over the TV, radios and other forms of media. Some may root and some may jeer. That’s freedom to agree or disagree. Both parties have their say and it will be heard. And that’s the other main reason I believe sans the previous, why people are deprived of experiencing your movie.
Finally I would like to point out some of the flaws that I have noticed during the movie. Again this is my personal opinion. Not the voice of the nation. I sincerely hope that you believe my criticism of this movie is solely based on my personal opinion, without any type of bias or influence. The usage of English dialogues was a good thing. There were some flaws in communication which hurt the flow of the movie and made it a little too way dramatic. Especially using the type of language which was applied in your movie is not the conventional communication form locals are used to. Its mostly modern American lingo, and when that comes to effect the writing should be near perfect or flawless in order maintain the portrayal of the characters through their communication. I think you have weighed quite a chunk of your creative ability to sustain the flaw of the movie. And when it comes to characterization, you must have seen great film noir's had individuals who were psychologically traumatized just as some characters in this movie. They often shift between real weird behavior when they are on their own and attempt to be pretentious and compose a contradictory personality among others. In my opinion that character balance in your movie didn’t convince me, especially with the character of Ravindra. And also as a writer you have shown some surprisingly great depth and ability in your previous works which I have come to admire profoundly. In this movie my expectations were not met with such standards on the part of screenwriting. The topic, the subject is phenomenal, but the storyline I couldn’t say I was totally happy the way it carried the movie. And that’s all I could think of what I saw as flaws in your creation according to my personal opinion. The reason I emphasize of that term “personal “is, I don’t want you to think by any means that I consider myself as a person who is capable of criticizing, evaluating or even passing judgment on your creation which is a result of your intellect, skill and effort.
Overall as I mentioned earlier, this is a movie in many ways a revelation in the history of Sri Lankan cinema and I want you to know that I am proud of you as a fan of yours and you didn’t not let me down and you certainly didn’t insult my intelligence while I experience your movie. That is something I could hardly express about the Ceylonese movies made in recent times.

Finally I want to thank you for your efforts, cause in many ways it means a lot to me. I am a passionate explorer of truthful, honest forms of art and I am a dreamer. Robert F. Kennedy once said,” some people see the things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask why not? “. I believe that with strong resolve. You inspired me and that is priceless. This is also an exceptional encounter beyond an average aspiration, which I am incredibly grateful for. Thanks again Asoka, I wish you all the best of everything for years to come, which may help you to continue creating good inspirational works of art.


Vindana Ariyawansa
May 31, 2007
North America

P.S. – What I am sending you here is the first draft, without revisions or alterations. I basically let my thoughts flow uninhibited on the keypad without adding any second thoughts. Just thought I let you know.

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC + 5:30 hours
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group