TV Times

‘Yal Devi’ on t he track

By Susitha R. Fernando

'Yal Devi’ train track used to connect not only the Northern and the Southern cities of Sri Lanka, but also served as a conduit to the cultural exchange between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in the island nation furthermore helped combine the North and the East. The daily crossing of “Yal Devi” came to a grinding halt when she became the victim of a bomb blast carried out by the LTTE aiming to divide the country and establish a separate Tamil Homeland. Metaphorically, this event represents the ethnic conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhalese who used to live in harmony in the past but became enemies in their own homeland.

Dr. Sumedha Jayasena

While the government is making plans to rebuild the rail track, a professional expatriate has created a cinematic track titled ‘Yal Devi’ to bridge the two parts that were divided for decades.

Based in America and Molecular Biologist by profession, Dr. Sumedha Jayasena, ‘Yal Devi’ is the first Sri Lankan film produced by a group of talented expatriates in the USA.

The film was screened in a number of major US cities, and also became an official nominee in the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 2009.

Shot in Los Angeles, covering Malibu beach, Hollywood, Ventura as well as the city of San Diego, the case includes a mix of veterans and novices, including a Tamil and two Caucasian Americans.
‘Yal Devi will resume her journey again in the future is the hope of this movie,’ said Dr. Sumedha Jayasena speaking about his film. that reflected in the story of the movie.

“The theme of ‘Yal Devi’ is woven into an interesting and ever changing fictional story using several subplots depicting the intricacy of the Sinhala-Tamil ethnic conflict and the film has made a sincere effort to provide a balanced view on the ethnic conflict,’ the director in his debut venture said.

The complex story begins when Manoj, a Sinhalese, arrives in Los Angeles upon winning a Green Card Visa lottery and gets involved in a love affair with Savithri. Savithri’s family had settled in the US after escaping the Sinhala-Tamil riots of July 1983 in Sri Lanka. The LTTE helps Savithri’s family to get established in the USA. The initial sympathy extended towards LTTE by Yoga, Savithri’s father, through his monthly monetary contributions to the cause of the terrorist group, eventually becomes an economic drain upon the family. On the other hand, Manoj who views the ethnic conflict objectively is ridiculed by his friends as a person who has forgotten the atrocities committed by the Tamil terrorist group for the sake of a love towards a Tamil girl.

The Cast

‘Yal Devi’ is also a multiethnic and multinational film as the cast consists of both Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Tamils along with Americans. The cast comprises of multi-talented Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka and Shirani Kaushalya together with a group of talented novices Thushari, Sisira Senavirathna, Kithsiri Rajapakse, Madara Jayasena, Thusitha De Silva, Rajikka Natkunanathan, Ananda Markalanda, Ray Crase, Indika Seruk and Carl Evert who are introductions to the silver screen.

The Sound Track of ‘Yal Devi’ consists of three original songs - two solos and one duet - written, composed and sung by Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka. The theme song “Aradhana —Aradhanei” is a Sinhala/Tamil duet sung by Bhadraji and an emerging Tamil singer in Sri Lanka, Nilukshi Jayaweerasingham. The movie is also musically decorated by a pre-released song in Sri Lanka, titled “Ane Yal Devi”, sung by Sunil Edirisinghe, written by Wasantha Kumara Kobawaka and music composed by H. M. Jayawardena.

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