DIRECTOR’S NOTE - Prasanna Vithanage
I have heard somewhere that a filmmaker should make at least one film on his profession. I realized how difficult a task that was as I was writing ‘Akasa Kusum.’ My two previous films were issue-based movies that tackled Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict; I focused my camera at how this war had affected us as people. This time around, I decided to turn the camera on my world, the world of filmmaking. This happened as I began making the story of Sandhya Rani a cinematic reality. In making a film about a film personality, and turning the camera on one’s self, could I be completely honest in revealing the innermost facts about ourselves, the same way we do when pointing the camera at others? Rani’s character has shades of Sri Lanka’s celluloid prima donnas, since the time movies began here. They were the objects of our fantasies and the creators of our dreams. But when they reached a point where they were unable to fulfill our intangible needs, they were discarded – replaced by a younger, more stimulating model. With her portrayal of Sandhya Rani, the queen of Sri Lankan cinema Malini Fonseka brought a heightened sense of reality to the film, culled from her four decades of experience in cinema. She took the role and made it personal, intimate and autobiographical – colouring it with shades only she could bring. What I finally saw on the screen challenged me more than I dare to admit. The reality that I sought to create on screen had taken a life of its own, becoming darker and scarier. The reasons for this, I am only beginning to discover. And I have a feeling it will take some time.