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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

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Film Review

Challenges unchallenged

Persistent and innovative, with the film-goers and entertainment foremost in mind, Udayakantha Warnasuriya is the Sinhala film director who has accepted the challenge of enlivening the audience in search of joyous diversion and a journey to conquer the complications in day to day life of the simple-minded people, who seek to escape stress and monotony.

Pubudu and Sheshadri in Challenges

Disorganized life leading itself in the direction that demands of the youth arranged in a moving strong cinematic narrative form, the director brings out a movie that turns to be a rare experience for the viewer, keeping the viewer all the time live and alert, but relaxed in the meantime. Challenges is one other movie by Udayakantha who is on a mission to discover something fresh and diversionary, whenever he gets behind the camera.

Childhood acts are neither logically linked nor progressively developed; it is only a reflection of what mostly reflex actions of what a child mind does. Prior to establishing itself in adulthood the child experiments even at risk, to imbibe itself in glee and sheer cheer. Child’s relationship whether friendly or hostile, with its parents and friends, it fosters and enlivens the background in its preparation for the future. The director picks up this diversity to inspire a rare cinematic treat, in offer to the audience who seek instance joy and escapism from the laborious routine in particular, but leaving an opening to all to make a gain in retrospect.

While in adulthood, the society is a challenge to the adult, but when in childhood, child is a challenge to the adult. Eventually the adult who tries to discipline the child finds that he had been through the same kind of development during his childhood and every living being moves in a cycle of events. The circumstances may differ, but the confrontation and challenge is similar and unavoidable; so tells challenges.

Usually what we see in cinematic compositions is an intense tussle for the love of a single girl. In contrast, Renuka and Kishan in pursuit of Sharanya’s positive emotional response, are on two diverse avenues and in search of an exciting end. Their approaches however varied are not alien to romantic pursuits which thrive among the youth. They want instant pleasure and lasting stability in attachment. What challenges does is to enliven these approaches of two different individuals leading themselves to an unenvious clash Kishan’s search for sensual solace in skin beauty of Sharanya in contrast with her spiritually communicated strength sought by Renuka. This conflict takes the moviegoer to a world where he is familiar with either world of romance, open and hidden.

Singular events which are clustered in sequence in the child in the company of his father, mother or his friends drew parallels with the past of his own father which slowed down the disciplinary force of the father towards his son. In this instance one of the well-knit and executed scenes is the one is where the people were drinking. They started quietly, gently and on a jovial note; but ended with fisticuffs, quarrels and domestic upheavals.

When a child grows up, the challenges it has to face are both social and domestic and it becomes a struggle for the child to overcome these challenges confronting him in its personal life which it wants to make it down to earth and self-satisfying, no hallucinations.

This is the hard but real challenge one faces in on conjugal life. Asela Randunne the father of Renuka projects life between a father and son in childhood life of the latter which begins to disintegrate with the son emotional moving out of the spiritual and moral grip of the father. He is destined to enter the reality of life from the fantasy the father entertained in him in youth. The youth who takes life lightly and think that they have no responsibility in shaping and shouldering the future both at social and family level is posed with the challenge how to conform themselves through accommodation of domestic and social challenges one is forced to live with.

His father being a University Professor, he could have given an emphatic lead and guidance to his son in everyday life. However, when one is to go through life, one cannot bypass the events, hazards and youthful thinking irrespective of the status of one’s home background. The son was expected to learn and emulate the father and earned lead from him. But, the two belong to two different social periods and layers separated by over three decades. So emulation of the father is in contrast with the personal and periodical changes that had taken root in the society. Therefore, the challenge for the child became harder with the challenge posed by his eminent father; the conflict became more complex and the challenge became more aggressive.

Inner rhythm of the movie focuses on the conflict between platonic love and romantic allure which eventually ending with a triumph for platonic love. Kishan seeks instant pleasure in companionship with no sense for an inner feeling that would last. Renuka is on a steady reflection of inner-strength. The film-maker ends the film on a triumphant note leased as a reward for true love that lasts and cements family life. It is a challenge for the pretty girl Sharanya whether to seek solace in surface romance where one has the option to give it up if it is not satisfactory to be invested in a permanent bond of marriage with all its ups and down inescapably rooted. Finally bond of lasting love registered in marriage triumphs.

Structurally the end seems to drag on which however, is no set back for the audience because they are already cinematically in the grip of the creation. The scene where the young girls and boys are bathed in mud through symbolically means everyone who goes through the life has to be bathed in unpleasant situations, it is aesthetically a somewhat inconsistent demonstration. Even the ceremony held at the college too, was rather an anti-climax because it did not emerge well. The grip of the film is in the tough challenges in life, rather a smooth and would have been better.

Shashandri performing the role of Sharanya fits herself well into the role. Her passive existence goes a long way in making this movie a success. She is an ideal selection and a refreshing introduction. To make the film focussing on the variety of challenges the growing youth have to face is the biggest challenge for Udayakantha Warnasooriya in his two decades of career in film making. Entertaining and gripping with elation, Challenges is a film of that rare breed which meets the challenge of audience demand for joy and entertainment.

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