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
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
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.