Directed by Lalith Rathnayake / Reviewed by Triptayan Chatterjee
When a continental culture gets covered with the holy way of life directed by Buddhism then it makes a sense of universality. Director Lalith Ratnayake just stands at that wonderful point. With all his philosophy of life he made his unique film VISHAMA BHAGA (The other half) with tremendous spirit of this universality amalgamated with a contemporary social problem, the film has been a masterstroke. Just in the backdrop of a massive health problem in the island state of Srilanka, this Sinhalese film has made an outstanding output of art, which is remarkable. On a delicate theme, Lalith has added a landscape with beautiful storyline and editing, which has brought the film at a hype. The whole hearted effort of making a film has been ultimately successful. A theme of spreading the message of a universal problem, and how generation after generation get affected by it reminds us the gradual decay of well run civilization in the backdrop of South Asian Cultural aspect.
It was war ravaged Srilanka. Peoples had to look for new lives. Agriculture is the basic source of the economy of the country. But here happens the misfortune. The usage of pesticides in massive scale in the farm fields, brings an extensive disease. Kidneys get affected in massive range. Family after family gets sick and the power of toil gets decreased day in and day out. In this scenario a school going child Ruwansiri comes into scene. His elders are already effected and he approaches. A cute childhood gradually goes into the darkness of the civilization. The story involves him into his daily life particularly his education. A math teacher takes a serious role here. The question arises here what will be the ultimate fate of this childhood? What will be the consequence? This burning questions has been the theme of the film which is very much relevant in the modern scientific world. Development is necessary, but it brings calamity in the life of the general peoples of the planet. Here hides the universality of the film.
No doubt the screenplay of the film has been able to manifest the theme. The shot distribution is very much delicate following the storyline strictly. At the very beginning camera stands fixed and the boy runs from one side to another. He was going to collect water from a spring. Camera did not follow him.
It has brought a lively charm which tells the story beyond the camera. Moreover the running has been uniquely symbolized at a par with the journey of life to get some source of basic living. Acting of Pansilu Wickramarathna and Priyanka Sirikumara has been proved very strong. The cinematography with Red Camera has really been different from others. Particularly the usage of the camera has not crossed the limit of necessity. It scores highest. Light has been normal. Editing has been strictly with the shot divisions of the directory. No extravagant effort has been seen. All the stages of the filmmaking has brought a unique flavour in favour of the wonderful film THE OTHER HALF.
For any good film the film language has been the last word. Film has a different language unlike others. Legendary film makers has proved it. The work of detail especially in the narrative films has been a yardstick of success.
In the different stage of making THE OTHER HALF, this has been surely proved. To get the real flavour of independent film it is a must see one. It is a living history of the modern civilization.