There are certain occasions when one feels that this life is an entire fantasy, a mirage, and so on. As Shakespeare’s most famous villain, Macbeth says, ‘’life is nothing, but a story told by a fool’’. True enough. But how would one feel if he had to meet unexpected experiences, one thing leading to another, and has to tackle everything with responsibilities, and human emotions in a mixture? It will undoubtedly, make a huge impact on a person’s life. The human mind is such an intricate character which is difficult to understand, and based on this fact, people can change within the next minute, whereas certain desires, emotions and certain issues can bring out the animal or the devil in you unexpectedly. This can be also taken under Buddhist Philosophy, which shows the sublime truth that ‘’nothing is indispensable’’.
Boodee Keerthisena’s latest cinematic experience ‘Nimnayaka Hudakalawa’ (alone in a valley) which is yet to be released, seems to exhibit all these elements; mixing fantasy with reality. Maybe it gives some kind of an answer to a certain extent. One could argue this is a film based on an intricate story with intricate characters, from viewers’ perception, but generally, it is up to the audience to express what they really think about the whole story. The film is able to keep the audience on their seats and wondering what’s going to happen next. It increases the viewer’s curiosity, which is, obviously the film’s beauty and the director’s creativity and vivid imagination.
Giving a short description of the film story, Vishwa is a creative director of an Advertising agency going through an experience that he has never encountered. His wife is pregnant and is about to give birth any moment. Meanwhile, he has to be in office and sort out an important advertising campaign. While he’s at the office he gets a call from his mother that his wife is just about to give birth and she is taking her to hospital. On his way to hospital he has this experience, or the series of incidents which are highlighted in the film. Through this experience he starts to fight with his fears and desires. He finally gets to the hospital, but then he experiences the unexpected. All these incidents make the viewer wonder, “can these things happen for real ?’’ it is a complicated story which takes a little time and a bit of pondering for a while, but finally, one can get a message in different ways. There are certain elements of the film that are simple yet noticeable.
These are often highlighted. For instance, milk seems to be depicting an important role in this film. There is a common term which we use in Sinhala language whenever we see or hear of something positive. We say ‘ elakiri’ which is somewhat similar to ‘damn good’ or, ‘great!’. Here in this film, Boodee, with his creative thinking has found an amazing phrase, which seems to be the slogan of the said campaign, ‘milk bloody good’. It is for this campaign that Vishwa and his team is trying to promote, a milk product.
In the scene where he meets a little girl waiting for her mother, she sees the milk bottle in his hand and wants it, saying that she is thirsty. The scene where he goes out to the supermarket to buy a milk bottle, and sees the same cashier, hears the same song , the element of repetition and the stretch of co incidents are highlighted.
Sometimes people think it would have been good if time stopped for a while and they can do things they missed and return to the past. But in Vishwa’s case, things seem to be different, for he wants to return to his present state of mind and wants to find out the truth. He wants to know why he’s seeing all these visions. From a viewer’s perception another fact that we can see is the brutality of war, the language difference and the human understanding no matter what religion, caste or creed we are in.
This can be seen where Vishwa meets the singer and sees her crying. When asked why, she replies in Tamil. Though he doesn’t understand the language he figures out what she’s saying through her tone and expressions. The next minute he sees her as a pregnant woman crossing the road, and also as a suicide bomber where he sees his own body in a hospital room, surrounded by his grieving wife and colleagues. One may argue that the whole story is connected with each incident while some may argue it is not. People may have different definitions about the film, but what Boodee tries to do is to convey an important message. Looking from a psychological view, it can be taken as having hallucinations of the mind, having imaginary visions and illusions, but it is up for the viewers to decide.
The Buddhist theory used in the film is also conveyed as the hermit whom Vishwa meets, while his astral body wanders above, explains why all these things are happening. The hermit says they are happening depending on our ‘karma’ and the sins we have committed. The co incidents, the people whom he meets, are all connected, according to his theory. He says, ‘nothing is indispensable’ and leaves it to Vishwa if to stay or leave this earth. The emerging of the animal or the devil is seen when the singer who Vishwa introduces to the music scene takes Vishwa to a night club and becomes an animal or a monster, unknown to him. Even the client of the advertising project turns into a completely different man, in his state of mind. The most amazing thing the film depicts is Vishwa’s struggle to balance real life with all these bizarre incidents.
The whole film is based on these unbelievable incidents and attracting the curiosity of the audience. According to Boodee himself, all of these characters are ‘stuck in a moment where time has stopped’. Boodee and his team have certainly done their homework in order to gain the attraction of the audience taking them on a cinematic journey, which leaves them completely stunned and bewildered, but thoroughly curious and impressed for a duration of 110 minutes. The cast comprises Saumya Liyanage as Vishwa and Sangeetha Weerarathne as Tharaka. Both do justice to their roles as the main characters. Ravindra Randeniya , Lakshman Mendis , Kingsley Rathnayake , Samanalee Fonseka , Sachini Ayendra and Suranga Ranawaka complete the rest of the cast. Boodee has again shown his mastery with visual effects while Lakshman Joseph De Saram, has done a musical masterpiece. The film is directed and produced by Buddhi Keerthisena. The screenplay is co-written by Boodee Keerthisena and Chinthana Dharmadasa.
Channa Deshapriya is the director of photography while Chandraguptha Thenuwara makes his esteemed contribution as the production designer. Spiced by fantasy, humor, philosophical theories, and action, the film leaves the audience with something to think about. While having such an efficient and a talented crew together with the wonderful technical effects, Bodee’s efforts will make quite a difference in the modern film industry. This contribution by him has been made towards a technically advanced fantasy cinema.