For the first time in the Sri Lankan film industry, ‘Leader’ the controversy-ridden latest film directed by Ranjan Ramanayake and debut production of Beven Perera is to be screened in record 50 cinema halls around the country.
Having completed the entire production (with a script that was approved by the National Film Corporation), the Censor Board suddenly made an objection to the release of the film for public screening. Creating much controversy, the objection was due to some of the scenes that came in the film which were a mild attack on the contemporary political situation.
However, the filmmaker and the producer fighting back to have the entire film in the theatres managed to win it over and the film is to be released in the EAP circuit Cinemas together with some of the theatres in other circuits from January 23.
The massive budget film with a popular mode has used devices of latest film technology like special effects, expensive rope erasing facility and the DI technology with which the entire film is re-coloured and digitally designed at the Ad Lab in India.
Subsequent to Sri Lankan release, ‘The Leader’ is also to have a round of international screenings in more than fifteen countries including Australia, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Switzerland, USA, Japan, Korea, Cyprus and all the countries in UAE, specially for the Sri Lankan domiciles there.
While South Indian up-and-coming actress Ardeen Khan is playing opposite Ranjan, the role of the villain is also played by an actor from Thelungu cinema and a Thelungu copy of the film is to be released in some of the South Indian theatres.
The other key roles of this film is played by Anton Jude, Anusha Damayanthi, Janesh Silva, Chathura Perera, Babu Anthony, D. B. Gangodathenna and Sandun Wijesiri, Kingsley Loos.
The Leader’ is a mockery of all the politicians’ : Producer
Making entry to Sri Lankan cinema the producer of ‘Leader’, Beven Perera is of the view that his film is a satirical comment on the politicians of all the parties and the present political system.
Attorney-at-Law, a businessman based in London and an art lover, Mr. Perera joined TV Times to share a few ideas on the making of the film and his plan for the future.
TVT: What made you to take up film producing, a seemingly risky business today?
Beven: After my education in Sri Lanka, I went to England without a penny and I want to repay to the country I was educated in with what I have earned. And my selection was cinema, a good film for the Sri Lankan audience. With this idea I started searching for a director and Ranjan who also was my classmate, was my selection for the task.
TVT: Don’t you think selecting Ranjan, a politician now, is a disadvantage for the film?
Beven: I don’t think so. When we started the film in 2005 Ranjan was not attached to any political party and I don’t think he had any idea to enter politics. Ranjan came to politics in 2008 and by then we had completed the entire film and even made copies. On the other hand I have no political party and am an independent person. In fact at the beginning of this film we were of the view that the film should be independent and we came to the conclusion that we should not involve in any character assassination and support any political party.
TVT: Do you think now Ranjan being the director and main actor engaging in politics would affect the film?
Beven: Just as an actor should be able to be a politician, a politician should be able to be an actor. Being a politician, it should not be a hindrance to become a filmmaker. And at the same time I am sure that Ranjan would not push his political idea into the film unfairly.
TVT: So, is ‘Leader’ a political film?
Beven: It is a political comedy. And in this film we have made comments on all the political parties with humour. If the politicians can’t take it as humour, it’s their problem.
TVT: You are to release this film in 50 Theatres around the country. What was the response from the distributors?
Beven: This is the first time in the recent past that a film is simultaneously released in 50 cinema halls. In addition to EAP circuit we have also got a number of theatres from other circuits as well. There is so much demand for the film by exhibitors and distributors that in certain towns all the cinema halls wanted to have the film in their theatres.
TVT: What is the outcome you expect from this film?
Beven: I did this film out of my passion for the cinema and not expecting huge profits from it. However this could be the first step to initiate a bigger international film project in Sri Lanka. And I firmly believe that we could go to international film market with good commercial films as well. I have to thank Deputy Chef of Staff of the Sri Lanka Air Force and the Pilots for helping me in location shooting and difficult Ariel shots during the production.