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Yal Devi Glides along the reel

With the theme of exploring the vibrations of terrorism in the isle and the lives of expatriates in the west, Sumedha Jayasena’s maiden movie Yal Devi is getting set to hit film theaters. The movie had been screened in several main cities in USA amidst raving reviews.

Scenes from
Yal Devi

“Many questioned why I did the movie. Several incidents inspired me to piece together the episodes. I am one of those Sri Lankan expatriates living in Los Angeles who has never mentally left Sri Lanka. I have followed the events in home soil on a routine basis and have been studying the rift between the ethnic groups in detail,” Jayasena who is also the main actor, producer and the joint script writer of the film noted.

He had built up the storyline for Yal Devi along with seasoned writer and artiste Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka. Though he emerges from a scientific backdrop, employed as a Molecular Biologist, Jayasena reveals that art is in his genes.

He says: “My father was an ardent Sinhalese poet who followed the footsteps of the late Kumaratunga Munidasa. I grew up listening to him reciting his creations aloud. I was driven to compose quite a few verses myself. However my decision to venture into cinema sprung out of my keen desire to experiment with new technological devices.” Yal Devi is a touching tale in which two individuals who have fled from home to find a better living abroad are drawn together.

They who represent different ethnic groups of the country forget their differences when they encounter love. For Manoj and Savithri, their diverse traditions, customs and languages are not barriers. Metaphorically the attempts to tear them away from each other are a sign of the elder generation’s antagonism towards each other.

 Director Jayasena at the sets

The movie indicates that all ethnic harmony will prevail only if Yal Devi, the train which made its way from the south to the north will once again begin her journey so that visitors from each region are able to cross over and roam among each other within the country.

“My ambition was to make a movie which both Sinhalese and Tamils can watch and share experiences together.

The rift between the two groups was not confined to the shores of the island. It had spilled over to many countries in the western part of the globe. The US has been a part of the international theater for this conflict. I wanted to portray how the society operated towards this problem in foreign countries and its affect on the Sri Lankan migrants,” Jayasena said adding that the movie includes English dialogues as well as English subtitles so that the western audience can follow the tale.

The cast comprises of many new faces including Thushari as Savithri, the main female lead. Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka, Shirani Kaushalya, Madara Jayasena, Rajikka Natkunanathan, Kithsiri Rajapakse, Sisira Senaviratne, Tusitha de Silva and others also portray significant roles.

Sunil Edirisinghe’s well loved track Aney Yal Devi is among the songs which are a part of the film. Other songs are penned by Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka and sung by Nilakshi Jayaweerasingham and Jayatilaka. The music is by Shantha Gunaratne. The movie is a Pixel Place Production.


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