Sri Lankan Filmmaker Says Madras Cafe Was Not An Honest Movie

The Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage alleged that Madras Café was not an honest film, noting that his country’s movies are taking a hit from the more famous Bollywood productions. Mr. Prasanna also lamented the dearth of market for Sri Lankan movies in India.

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“The problem is (Madras Cafe)… doesn’t touch the characters. It has caricatures… those are not people. To me it’s not an honest film. You cannot make a film when it doesn’t come from the heart,” said Mr. Prasanna.

“But I know the government was very happy,” he said.

He was at the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival.

John Abraham starrer Madras Café is a political thriller film, set in India and Sri Lanka against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war. The film starred Nargis Fakhri and John Abraham in lead and is directed by Shoojit Sircar.

However Vithanage admits the popularity of Indian films in Sri Lanka and says that Sri Lankan movies can’t compete with Hindi cinema.

“We can’t compete with Bollywood. Sri Lankan films are taking a beating from Bollywood,” he added.

He also reveals that Krrish 3 was now running in several cinemas in his country. “The big budget Bollywood films and blockbusters are really popular in Sri Lanka,” he said.

According to him, the Indian young actors are more versatile and professional in terms of learning different languages. He also lauded the Indian film industry’s technological advancements as he uses the digital technology available in India for his movies.

“In Sri Lanka, even simple technologies are not available. Directors like me use the digital technology available in India for our films. We can send our films to international film fests (only) because of the standards you have here,” he said.

Despite the efforts, because of the ethnically polarized situation in his nation, it has become “difficult to cultivate Tamil cinema” in Sri Lanka where around 74 percent of the population speak Sinhalese. “Because majority is Sinhalese, its Sinhalese cinema… It is very difficult to cultivate Tamil cinema.”

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