TV Times

Aganthukaya shot in record time
By Susitha R. Fernando
At record-shattering speed experienced filmmaker Vasantha Obeysekere completed the filming of his latest direction ‘Aganthukaya’ (Outcast), a story on a theme the tragic plight of a principal.

The seventeen day filming on location in Kurunegala was completed last week Mr. Obeyesekere said "This is the shortest period in which I completed a film in my journey as a filmmaker".

"I could never have had this achievement without the support of my crew who worked tirelessly from 8 am to 12 pm everyday for last seventeen days," said Mr. Obeysekere speaking of his crew with gratitude. "Special word of thanks should go to my cameraman Ruwan Costa with whom I worked for the first time and my assistant director Daminda Madawela. "I am really pleased with their support," the veteran director added.

"Completing the film with just 20,000 feet of reel, I have saved nearly Rs. one million for the National Film Corporation (NFC) who sponsored the film with the new scheme to fund five directors to make films,". The estimated budget for the film was Rs. 7.5 million Vasantha Obeysekere says that he was able to complete the film with Rs. 6.5 million.

Talking about the filming of his earlier directions "The films directed by me during the last two or three years I was able to complete filming in twenty to twenty five days but this was the first time that I could finish filming less than twenty days".

"This film had all the blessings including very fine sunny weather that was ideal for the script and strangely rain started only once the last shot was over," said Vasantha Obeysekere speaking on the filming his eleventh directorial attempt.

Dealing with the repercussions of the politicising of society Aganthukaya narrates a plight of a principal who was caught between the principles he lived for and he withstood for and the pressure from outside.

Describing the film as timely Vasanatha Obeysekere said that this is about the politicizing of society and one individual's struggle to fight back not wanting to compromise.

Overcoming conflicts continuously, at the final point of the film the protagonist who is a principal himself sums up the entire message of the film saying, "Whole society has become corrupted. If I am to compromise my principles to suit this system my life becomes a lie…The only sin I committed was that of loving my country,".

Asked whether this was his personal view about the present Sri Lankan society, the long standing film director said "This is exactly what I believe in that was happening in our country right now. We have a timid intelligentsia, people are so threatened and totally lacking in courage".

"The original story I wrote two or three years back when I came to know about an incident in a school. But I feel the script is more timely now than then" said Mr. Obyesekere.

The main cast is played by Saumya Liyanage, Chandani Seneviratne and Sanath Gunatilake. The director says the film which is in its postproduction stage will be ready within next two months.

Vasantha Obeysekere was sponsored by the NFC when his script was selected the best under the new scheme to support Sri Lankan filmmaking. Photographed by Mahesh Nishantha, Aganthukaya is produced by Malcolm Manthara.


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