Friday, June 27, 2008


This is the tale of three school friends on the verge of doing their Advanced Level Examinations. Sithum comes from a lower middle class family; his father is a Postman and mother a housewife. His story is about a budding relationship he initiates with Pooja. Ramith is from a middle class family and his father is the owner of an automobile repair garage. His story is about a crush he has for his teacher; Ms. Arosha and the bizarre dilemma he faces in order to please her. Prageeth lives in the lap of luxury because his father is a successful businessman. His story is about the events that follow after the sudden death of his mother. Each friend has their share of problems and aspirations and this film focuses on their lives for a brief moment.

HIRIPODA WASSA is written and directed by Udayakantha Warnasooriya. The film features a cast of young and fairly unknown actors such as Pubudu Chathuranga (Sithum), Jayantha Athapaththu (Ramith), Roshan Ranawaka (Prageeth), Chathurika Pieris (Pooja), Harshani Perera (Ms. Arosha) and Anarkali Akarsha (Veena).

What is the plot of the film…you ask? Well this film is unique because it has NO plot. It's just about the infantile antics of three so-called young adults. The storyline as far as Sithum and Pooja are concerned is the good ol' "rich boy/girl falls in love with poor boy/girl, but rich boy's/girl's parents try to break them up." In their case it's Pooja's brother who takes it upon himself to break this relationship up, probably because he's jealous his sister is getting more 'shlong' than he does. Ramith's storyline is probably similar to something we've all been guilty of; having a crush on a sexy teacher. But that’s as far as it went because I certainly don't recall trying to dispose of a dead body with my sexy teacher, which is what Ramith ends up doing. Unfortunately Prageeth's storyline is not better or interesting, either. He's just dating the most annoying girl in Sri Lanka (haven't we all been there!), oh and he just suspects his father of killing his mother…no biggy!

I thought I'd be accustomed to immature dialogue in Sri Lankan films by now, but no this film receives the dubious honor of having the 'most immature dialogue' I have ever heard. Warnasooriya's script is ridiculously puerile. It is obvious that in any country Kids and/or Teen Movies are written and made by adults. But these adults have the ability to relate to their subjects, prime examples are the Teen Movies by the American filmmaker John Hughes (THE BREAKFAST CLUB & SIXTEEN CANDLES). But it is painfully apparent that a clueless adult has written this script without an inkling of applicability to his targeted audience. The episodes of childish dialogue in the script are just too many to even quote in this review.

Once in awhile a movie comes along where nothing works except for the cinematography. This is NOT one of those films. There is nothing original about the photography but the clear and refined picture quality is appreciated.

The acting is just a train wreck of exaggerated overacting and performances riddled with stiff, unnatural (reading directly from the script) delivery. Many of the actors simply recite their dialogue. Of course some leniency is given to the actors because for many of them this is there film debuts. But that’s no excuse for the horrid acting this film displays. The only two exceptions are Chathurika Pieris and Pubudu Chathuranga who show a hint of natural acting ability. But it is Roshan Ranawaka and Anarkali Akarsha who provide the worst performances in the entire film. They are both in desperate need of professional acting training, unfortunately in this critic's opinion; not even 4 years at the Actors Studio in New York could help this talent less duo.

Although Udayakantha Warnasooriya is a capable director, he is clearly out of his element with the 'Teen' subject matter. The first act of the film is divided equally among the storylines of the three male characters but once the second act begins each story just moves along a tangent. After Sithum's story ends, Ramith's story begins and once that story closes Prageeth's story starts. There is no intersection of the three stories and the narrative seems to flow in a sort of straight tunnel vision, oblivious to the coinciding sub plots. This type of storytelling is similar to mistakes made by a first time director and not an experienced one. It is obvious that this is a commercial film and the main goal is to make a profit at the box office, but a director should have some scruples as to how much product placement he will allow in his film. This film is like a two hour advertisement for Rexona products. It is astonishing that a writer/director would make a film that has hardly any character growth or development. The film simply presents the daily existence of the characters and even the conflicts faced are forgettable. It is noticeable that this is a formulaic commercial film targeting the youth, with the use of clichéd plotlines, young new actors and original songs composed by Bathiya and Santhush but I feel that this film insults the youth of today as opposed to entertaining them.

Rating: 1 COCONUT

S. V. Fernando

1 comment:

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