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Monday, 22 October 2012

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Notes on the road

'I call my films self reflective productions. I chose the mockumentary style to project the society as it is. An audience can exist anywhere for this kind of production. It cannot be divided as nations. Some of these cultural aspects can only be grasped by those who are familiar with it'

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. So goes former US president John Quincy Adams' quote. This seems to be one of the ideas which triggered young filmmaker Dennis Perera in his debut cinematic venture The Three Wheel Diaries, Originally influenced by Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries. The movie produced by Mano Nanayakkara is set to hit theaters in the future.


Kaushalya, Jagath and Thusitha in The Three Wheel Diaries

Long before he became a guerrilla revolutionary fighter and icon splashed across countless T shirts worn by angst ridden politics students, Che Guevara was a 23 year old medical student named Ernesto. Together with his his closest friend Alberto, Ernesto leaves the comforts of home in Buenos Aires and strike out across South America in search of adventure in 1952. Ernesto kept track of their encounters through notes which were later compiled into a volume as The Motorcycle Diaries. Inspired by this movie two Sri Lankan youth with the thirst for revolution too embark on a similar quest. They meet a third party, a prostitute named Wasanthi who joins in on their venture. The journey takes a drastic turn as the two friends witness the harsh reality behind Wasanthi's existence.

Q: What inspired The Three Wheel Diaries?

A: I have written about three scripts before The Three Wheel Diaries but we did not get the opportunity to put the projects in motion because they demand a high budget. When I wrote this script I realized that this project does not need a lot of funds.

I did not pen the tale by considering the budget. It happened subconsciously. Once I was done I knew instinctively that even if I had more money in hand I would be shooting this movie in the same manner that I have already done it because it suits its structure.

The storyline came to me after watching The Motorcycle Diaries. Most of my friends are Che Guevera fans. They look up to him as an idol. I believe that we need to cater production to such groups. I made this film questioning if Sri Lanka has the backdrop for a revolution. One of my key interests is to see how such an effort can be executed in local soil. This is something I question after seeing most incidents in foreign films. This is more of a research project than a feature film.


Dennis Perera. Picture by Saman Sri Wedage

Q: Is The Three Wheel Diaries a local version of The Motorcycle Diaries?

A: The main characters are merely inspired by the proceedings in The Motorcycle Diaries. That is where the idea of engaging in a similar quest springs from. The rest of the events unfurls in quite a different manner because the setting, lifestyles and time are are different. Therefore the two main characters, Thusitha and Jagath's experiences differ from those experienced by Ernesto and Alberto.

Q: What motivated you to make movies?

A: I cannot give a direct answer to that question. Most of the time we get into projects unconsciously but construct an answer when we are asked this kind of question. It is actually a question which needs to be explored and you can even make a film based on the results. My work is mostly a result of self study. However I have been engaged in the art scene before this. A group of us did a play called Thathagatha Kolama in 2007 which was nominated at the Youth Drama Festival and State Drama Festivals. We also did some music videos together.

Q: Whose work do you admire?

A: There are many international film directors whose work I love but this is not what lured me into the field. I actually took interest in cinema during my late 20s. It is a medium which I have used to deliver a political message to the public. I like Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu and John Cassavetes' productions. I also like Romanian New Wave films.

Q: Do you believe that artistic work like films can trigger a revolution?

A: I do not make movies with a Marxist point of view. I provide a stage for socialists and revolutionists speak for themselves. Sri Lankan Marxists share certain character traits and lead similar lifestyles. My film is not about the revolution but a exploration of the lives of those who are attempting to bring about a revolution.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect in making The Three Wheel Diaries?

A: This is not a conventional movie. Normally the camera captures scenes of a person reciting a dialog and the reaction of the person who was listening to the piece. The Three Wheel Diaries was captured entirely on the road. We did not alter any of the settings but shot the scenes as they were.

We improvised ourselves and we knew which props were available at the location but we did not know what was taking place there or how many people were infesting the street.

We formatted it in a way to suit the circumstance. Our actors merged into the real circumstances and we composed some of the details in the next scene according to the previous one. This is tough work.

Q: Is The Three Wheel Diaries more of a film than a documentary?

A: This is more of a mockumentary meaning a 'mock documentary'. Today the reality has become what the media projects. The society is dependent on what the media dishes out to them. Mockumentaries help to bring this feature to the fore. Some of the contemporary filmmakers have realized this and done productions on this aspect.

Thisara Imbulana Nino Live is based on the reality television programme culture. Udaya Dharmawardhana's How I Wonder What You Are is based on a war unspooling on TV.

Malaka Dewapriya's Bahuchithawadiya is based on the Internet. Gamani is as a parody of Vimukthi Jayasundara's Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land). Most Hollywood films made today are following this trend.

Q: How did you select your actors?

A: We searched for a person who fitted the image of the character rather making an attempt to mould an actor into the role. Most people, especially artistes, go along with the stereotyped image linked with their status.

We also selected people who were concerned about the project rather than other matters like the environs in which it will be executed.

Kaushlya Fernando did not hesitate to make the sacrifices that the character demanded She was very professional and did not mind following my advice even though she is a senior artiste and I am new to the scene.

Jagath Manuwarna and Thusitha Laknath have experience on stage. They both share similarities to their characters.

Jagath acted in Prasanna Jayakody's second movie Karma which is screening these days and Thusitha acted the main role in Vimukthi Jayasundara's Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds).

Q: What is your next venture?

A: I am currently working on two scripts and also penning a story for a teledrama which will be directed by a friend. I need to complete work on a documentary titled How to Become a Filmmaker With 10 Dollars.


Diaz: 'I'm not too old for kids'

Actress Cameron Diaz refuses to rule out her chances of becoming a mom in her 40s because she is confident she will be a "capable" parent later in life.

The 'Charlie's Angels' star, who has dated Justin Timberlake and baseball star Alex Rodriguez, previously confessed her plans for a life of domesticity were dashed when she landed her breakout role in 'The Mask' at the age of 21, and marriage and babies quickly took a backseat to her film career.

Since turning 40 in August, single Diaz admits her priorities haven't really changed and she is still not that keen on getting married.

WTVA


Short film competition 2012

The National Film Corporation (NFC) will hold a short film competition for budding young filmmakers. The event is organized with the aim of showcasing, appreciating and encouraging youth creativity.

Application forms can be collected from the NFC. You can even obtain them via mail if you send a money order of Rs 100 to the Chairman, National Film Corporation, Torrington, with a self addressed stamped envelope. Address it to: The Sectional Head, Cinema Cultural Department, Sri Lanka National Corporation, No 224, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7. The closing date for applications is November 17 before 3 pm.


Sridevi's working on another project

Speaking fluent English is not only a big deal for a Maharashtrian housewife as shown in Gauri Shinde's English Vinglish.


Sridevi

The film's message of overcoming a linguistic barrier has gripped many a movie lover who are rooting for Sridevi in English Vinglish in the way cricket lovers cheered Aamir Khan in Lagaan. An ecstatic Sridevi says she never expected English Vinglish to do so well and her next film will happen soon.

Q: Were you expecting this kind of euphoria or did English Vinglish's box-office success come as a surprise?

A: I'm in seventh heaven. I wasn't expecting this degree of success. I did the film because I loved the script and enjoyed shooting it. I knew people would enjoy watching it. I knew it would be appreciated, but not like this. I think the industry has a variety of films and I am glad audiences are open to seeing good films.

Q: What has surprised you the most?

A: Everyone had positive things to say about the film, which is a very unlikely scenario. Usually, some people like a film and others don't. Everyone has their own views. But I am surprised with the unanimous reaction.

Q: You've made a successful comeback. Is the industry rushing to sign you for your next film now?

A: (Laughs) No. There's no queue of filmmakers outside my door. When it happens, I will tell you.

Q: You were away on a long hiatus. When can audiences expect to see another Sridevi film?

A: I definitely want to do films, but I want to do good ones. I don't just want to be on screen. Unless a subject appeals to me, I won't do it.

There are many talented directors I want to work with, but the question is, 'Do they want to work with me?' Hopefully, my next film will happen very soon, don't worry.

Q: Will it be with your husband (Boney Kapoor)?


Sridevi in a scene from English Vinglish

A: It's too soon to say. Boneyji and I are working on a project.

Something should be finalised soon. But I can't say when. As for other producers, there have been talks, but nothing worth revealing as of now.

Q: What was Boney's reaction to English Vinglish?

A: He didn't say anything. He didn't comment at all. He just came and hugged me.

Q: Will you be part of the much-awaited Mr India sequel?

A: It's too early to talk about that. The script is isn't finalised. The writers are still working on it... let's see.

Hindustan Times


Kaif's condition to romance Khan again!

Not many actors in Bollywood get the chance to dictate their own terms and conditions while doing a film. But, Katrina Kaif seems to be the lucky one to do so.


Salman and Katrina in Ek Tha Tiger

Kat, who has delivered a major hit Ek Tha Tiger along with Salman Khan, has dictated her own condition to romance Khan again.

Most people have loved the Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif jodi on and off-screen. The couple has allegedly parted ways last year, but they haven't retrained themselves from pairing up together on screen. Recently, when a leading daily asked Katrina about her pairing with Sallu, the actress replied that if their pairing is successful onscreen, they would definitely work together again.

But, Katrina has also laid a condition to romance Salman in films. She said that she would work with the actor, only if they get better project than Ek Tha Tiger.

"But we won't work together unless something is a step above Ek Tha Tiger," she said.

One India

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