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Film review

Guerrilla Marketing: More restraint vital in visual construction

DERIVED from the Spanish diminutive "guerra," guerrilla means a hidden fierce attack force and we call marketing for selling things but a more sophisticated term than simple selling.

Sangeetha Weeraratne in a scene from the film

The combination of these non-Sinhala terms gives an entirely different twist to a concept the director has in mind. So Guerrilla Marketing happens to be the title of a modern day Sinhala film.

Director Jayantha Chandrasiri has moved away from his style of film making to a different stream which appears alien in structure and style. If we pull out the essence as a storyline it will be given the impression of another event in today's society.

Very authentic are the characters and situations even though magnified or even limited at times from the director's requirement of narrative display.

Even a very basic emotion can be heightened due to the situation and the effect it has on the person concerned. There the director takes full advantage of cinematic technique.

Political campaign

The marketing technique used for the election campaign does not carry the weight it pretends to have. It is the picture and sound that thunder, not the brilliance of the ideas. The love story of Suramya and Thisara is another point that lives off the key characters, Rangi Suramya and Thisara.

The political campaign overpowering everything, even the advertising man appears as the most emphatic ideal of the film.

The current political environment of the country, cheap concepts and abusing power are realistic impressions of the film.

It even reminds us of certain politicians when it comes to the advertising man caught in the rat race and guilty of abandoning his first cousin with whom he had been in love and ends up with a serious nervous breakdown; but at a certain point it narrows down to the love story as the only reason; it is not sufficiently convincing.

We see certain incidents with the political campaign having affected him adversely.

The narrative entwines a bizarre situation of political propaganda, corruption and deceitful love affairs. With the thundering sounds, fast jump cuts, at times you are thrown off to delirious moments. The story line applied is quite complicated which harasses the viewer and affects his peace of mind.

Jayantha Chandrasiri has experimented with a theme and a narrative structure taking a fresh step in the Sinhala film market. Making direct attacks on certain vital issues, which we are faced with, in a way is a serious matter for discussion. He is motivated to enlighten the public of the web they are caught in; and to which they are blind.


Thisara's character is one of arrogance. His display of words to the prospective clients and sticking a red ribbon across his wife's face and proudly presenting it as one of his creative ideas, amply shows what an empty character he is; Jayantha's particular introduction describes the man in his real form.

This scene is very important, it sums up today's marketing trends. Television gives an ample display of foolish, blunt and even unethical advertising methods used destroying the sensibilities of the people. Very cheap ideas are forced to the public with a good coating of icing. Jayantha exposes this at one go.

In the opening scene we are brought into a party thrown to a prospective client, the presidential candidate. The marketing man showing his capabilities and (so-called) innovative ideas; shows a couple of dashing terrorists or soldiers in commando attire which is superfluous. The entire scene gives a thundering headache, which has no direct relevance to the narrative.

This film appears to need more restraint in visual construction. You don't throw about all the weapons you have. It needs a methodical rhythmic display of force and action. Due to some of the weak formations the sequences of the past and the latter stage of the narrative appear pale with little significance.

Viewer's point of view

We honour and appreciate the formations and visuals of a director in the stature of Jayantha Chandrasiri where he also has the freedom of structuring his story. Yet, the reflection of it from the viewer's point of view could be different.

The love episode, however concealed, hangs as a forced sub-plot with a bit of "sukiri" and conflict. The two women and the man working under the same roof as superiors and subordinates are a suspicious lot suggesting a loosely knitted area of the plot. There could be many other possibilities of these characters meeting in different places and situations.

The film would have worked without the pale love story. The bloody conflict of the presidential candidate and later president; Thisara, the commoner, is the most powerful element in the film.

Here I wish to refer to a particular scene, where this crafty president quite coolly walks into the bedroom of Thisara and his wife in the early hours of the morning; this visual adds a beautiful meaning to the entire film, irrespective of reality or illusion.

Feudal system

There seems to be a caste clash symbolically used in the socio-political sense. The presidential candidate carrying the name Gregory William Macarthy Maha Adikaram denotes his affliction to the ancestral ruling Kings in the past where feudal system existed and also the relationship to the Colombo high society influential people favoured by the British - Thisara is from an ancestral simple drummers and dancers family who were treated as low caste in the feudal society and who had a great distance from the King and the Adikarams.

The final clash between Gregory and Thisara incidentally reflects this class clash. In reality, in the recent past mostly two high-class families have ruled this country. So, the narrative brings to play this situation where ultimately the common man gets defeated.

Jayantha Chandrasiri has made a very bold attempt to examine the truth behind politics. This we appreciate very much; the pack of lies, the candidates are capable of telling the innocent public to swallow is too much to bear.

It reminds us of so many such characters in real life, which no one even wants to discuss today. We are deceived, no doubt! - Jayantha Chandrasiri shows how it is done.

Although we are made to see Thisara as insane, the presidential candidate is also an ego centered eccentric character and a number one cheat. Jayantha Chandrasiri also underlines that the so-called marketing techniques of the day which are mercilessly hammering on the innocent public with falsehood.

Society has been crushed losing its sense of realization of what is truth and what is falsehood.


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