Prabhakaran: striving for an imaginary state
Cast and credits
Producer: Osmond de Silva in Italy
Cinematographer: Jayanath Gunawardana
Art director: Sena Mambulage
Make-up artiste: J. Suranimala
Editor: Praveen Jayaratne
Assistant director: Donald Jayanath
Scriptwriter and director: Thushara Peiris.
Following the death of her parents, Kamalini joins and recruits her
brother 'Prabhakaran' into an LTTE sect. She gets married to Piyasoma, a
Sinhala youth obeying to a high echelon order, and settles down in a
LTTE's mission is to assign her a deadly suicidal mission, but
Kamalini's human feelings sabotage the mission earning the wrath of her
superiors. The climax descends to anticlimax at the end with the sect
seeking revenge for noncompliance; the turn of events, however, is not
The brochure distributed at the press show ranks 'Prabhakaran' as the
first film based on the ongoing war. A country scarred by a war of over
20 years obviously has many war-based films. Quite ironically many
Sinhala war filmmakers seemed to have been concentrating on backing the
terrorist cause by creating a negative image on Sri Lankan Army.
Scholars entertain different opinions on the original settlers in Sri
Lanka. However, one thing is certain: the LTTE does not represent Tamil
ethnicity, even if Tamils might be considered the original settlers in
Sri Lanka. Anyone, either Tamil or Sinhala, will suffer violence if they
stand against the Tigers. To sum it up, the LTTE is purely a group of
power-hungry terrorists. As for Thushara's portrayal, he questions the
right of Tigers for a separate state.
We live at a stage when International monitors go on saying Sri Lanka
is a country with a high rate of human rights violations with credits to
Sri Lankan Army. Hardly anybody would dare speak against the sheer human
rights violations carried out by Tigers, especially by recruiting child
Hence the brochure remains correct in its rank: 'Prabhakaran' is the
first film portraying the nudity of war initiated by the LTTE. In this
background, we should be proud to have a director in a calibre of
Thushara Pieris to be brave enough to do a film portraying the nudity of
a so-called liberal terrorist group.
However, an enthusiast will be disappointed to see Thushara state
that the film is neither pro-government nor anti-LTTE. I don't see
anything wrong with being pro-government and anti-LTTE, when so many
films do otherwise openly.
The horror of child soldier recruitment is stunningly depicted with
brilliant performance of Dasun Madushanka. It's difficult for Kamalini's
brother to cope with brutality he is expected to be equipped with.
Prabhakaran looks away when he shoots the Sinhala gentleman of his
father's age, and weeps the death caused by his own gun. His facial
expressions alone say it all!
Kamalini is torn between professional and emotional realms.
Professionally she is supposed to give up emotions; emotionally she
cannot handle the professional role. Being a tiger woman destined to
reach the targets by hook or by crook, her feminine flexibility however
makes her have second thoughts making allowances for her bonds both
existing and yet-to-be born: brother, husband and the baby to be born.
You can see a weak element of sensitivity in insensitive sect chief
sparklingly starred by Darshan Dharmaraj. Thushara's script sees this as
the centrepiece for brainwash, a concept commonly used referring to LTTE
as a whole.
The sect chief becomes a little sensitive when he sees the plights of
Prabhakaran and his sister. He reminds them his own periods of being
unable to cope with violence, and how he overcame gradually.
The constant brainwash on a separate state is one way of inspiration
for LTTE soldiers just to imagine committing suicide. Humiliatingly
human emotions outmanoeuvre the brainwash; hence Kamalini and
Prabhakaran go out of track.
Symbolism, though little, goes a long way. Kamalini sees
schoolchildren happily roaming with schoolbags. The scene slowly shifts
in and the schoolchildren become child soldiers with weapons on their
Thushara does not preach the evils of war, but he brings in actual
events - sidestepping the sensationalism - that make you feel so. If you
have a slightest idea about the ongoing war, you will realise what the
film doesn't say. If you get the right message, you will certainly leave
the theatre frustrated over films backing the terrorist cause.