Sri Lanka’s flagging film industry can take a cue from a team, comprising
internationally famed film-makers and artistes that is here for the filming of Solar Eclipse – a film based on the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. There is a heavy Indian presence in the crew which is understandable given the culture that revolves around the main character, Gandhi. But the authorities representing the film affirmed at a press conference held in Colombo, last Saturday, in connection with the upcoming cinematic production that the ‘attraction’ was not Gandhi, but the script which promises an action-packed movie.
Co-Producer of Solar Eclipse Chandran Rutnam told media representatives that as many as 25 nationalities will be involved with the film that will be shot in locations at Ranmitithenne, Galle and Colombo.
The subject Mahatma Gandhi has the potential to stir up a hornet’s nest if filmed in India and that’s why the major portion of the film is to be shot in Sri Lanka. The script includes little known interesting details that led to Gandhi’s assassination. The authorities of the film said that there were times when verifications had to be made to check the authenticity of such content because what research unearthed was so interesting. Co-director, Producer and Screenplay writer Pankaj Sehgal said that a horde of Hollywood actors and actresses will be playing interesting roles. Jesus Sans will play the role of Mahatma Gandhi. Several local artistes will also get opportunities to be members of the cast. He said that the film will take the audience on a journey through violent India.
When Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, Pope John Paul the Second felt that this demise was similar to the sun disappearing, but the darkness was only for a moment. Jawaharlal Nehru had likened the death of this great Indian leader to that of a light going out. The authorities of the film had considered the opinions of these two individuals when naming the film, Solar Eclipse.
A question was asked from the audience whether the film would be based on a particular time zone in the annals of history. Sehgal responding to the question said, “This is not a period based movie. It’s an action-packed movie.” He said a location like Galle was ideal for the film’s setting because this is a place where nothing much has changed over the years.
Director of the film Karim Traidia said that he had read the script in one night and was so excited about the content. “I am backed by capable and skilled people. The producer is backing me. There is pressure on me and I love it,” he said adding, “The action in the film defines today’s audience.”
The film will be audience ready only in 2017, but Rutnam promised that it will bring glory to the country. According to Rutnam filming of Solar Eclipse has the backing of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and the permission of the Defence Ministry, due to the use of guns and military hardware. Rutnam also said that the filming of Solar Eclipse was possible due to the beginning of a business relationship between Film Location Services PVT Ltd and Nugen Media of Dubai.
Veteran film-maker Rutnam stressed on the fact that Sri Lanka was a film friendly country and the film Solar Eclipse will kick-start the work of Film Location Services Private LTD. He added that some of the biggest and the most successful films like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Bridge on the River Kwai were made on this island.