Producer fights for justice of 'Dharma Puthra'
It's an uphill task for a filmmaker today to have his film selected for screening when one considers the problems of overcoming a multiplicity of tasks involved.
Included among them are the search for a director and a scriptwriter which come foremost. Writing the script for the screenplay and looking for a suitable cast and crew comes next. Further, selecting locations and months of filing and post-production labour have to be faced.
Dubbing, editing and making prints in India and finally obtaining a circuit adds to the suspense. And the final crushing blow falls when no platform or screen is forthcoming for the release of the film sums up the tragedy of the filmmaker that is prevalent in Sri Lanka cinema today.
Nimal Sumanasekera, the producer of 'Dharma Puthra' is the latest victim of this sad plight in which the Sri Lankan film industry is faced today.
Millions in financial loss and deprived of his right to take his film to his audience, the producer is preparing to take the film distribution company, Movie Producers and Importers (private) Ltd before the law. On a series of allegations levelled against the distributor and the National Film Corporation, the film producer complains that the parties failed to provide theatres and sufficient time to screen his film.
Earlier filmmaker Priyantha Kolambage who directed an internationally acclaimed children's film 'Arumosam Wehi' had complained that his film which was released on the Ridma Circuit, the circuit belonging to the National Film Corporation was removed to screen adults' only films. He too charged that the film was unfairly taken out even before it was picked up by the audience.
Now Mr. Sumanasekara complains that even without following the basic practices his film was removed from the theatres and he claimed that the Film Corporation too kept mum against the alleged injustice done to the film and the film director and the producer.
"While the Film Corporation takes no notice of this issue, filmmakers and producers in general have to overcome several obstacles to take their films to the public today," said producer, Mr. Sumanasekara.
"The first interference was by the Chairman of the National Film Corporation who demanded to change its initial title "Buddha Puththra". This was despite the Censor Board giving approval to the title," the film producer said.
Referring to the series of allegations in relation to his film 'Dharma Puthra' Mr. Sumanasekara said, "Though the film was to be released on July 28, 2007, at the National Cinema Maharagama the main theatre of the MPI circuit, the circuit of the distributor Movie Producers and Importers Pvt Ltd was not given as the management wanted to continue with another film of another film distributor.
"Similarly theatres where the film was to be screened as agreed was not provided causing a massive loss to us," film producer claimed.
Nimal Sumanasekara also complained that in ‘Sunil T Cinema’ Kalutara the film was screened only for four days thus depriving the audience of viewing the movie which was on a theme on Buddhism. This caused a massive damage and financial loss to the production.
" The basic practice like keeping the film at least for fourteen days was violated’ Mr. Sumanasekara complained. "Prior to the release of the film an advertising campaign through newspapers, posters, radio and television was done spending a lot of money but all was a loss," he lamented.
Having received no reply to the letter of demand he sent to the distributor, Mr. Sumanasekara is preparing to take legal action to ensure justice is meted out.