The Tender Trap (Sankranthi) Room for maturity
Scenes from the film
Sankranthi, a film by Anuruddha Jayasinghe which hit the silver
screen, is a film woven around a primatologist, Dr.Gerad (brilliantly
portrayed by W. Jayasiri) his research assistant Sunimal (Bimal Jayakody)
and his young wife Pam (Sangeetha Weeraratne).
During his research jaunts, Dr. Gerad observes a growing attraction
between his young wife Pam and handsome research assistant Sunimal. He
wants to prove that the similarities of erotic and emotional
relationship between male and female among the humans and apes. He sets
a trap where his wife and research assistant get involved without their
knowledge. However, the gentle trap ends in tragedy.
Although the film has, somewhat, excelled in photography and in terms
of sound effects, it seems that both the director and the script writer
have not paid much attention to developing characters to their
sequential and logical ends. The purpose of the story is almost obscure
and incomprehensible as the story develops into a tragic ending.
The letter opener which Gerad bought as a souvenir for Sunimal that
was kept on a table in Sunimal's room, Pam's encounter with Sunimal who
is just after a shower and the attraction between Sunimal and Pam which
is implied from the very first frame of the film and Gerad's insistent
that Pam should take Sunimal for a jaunt, are set-scenes to facilitate
the final scene of tragedy rather than being part and parcel of the
The plot if it had been used to portray incongruity between the
father figure Dr. Gerad and his young wife Pam in terms of age and
sexual potency, resultant crisis in the institution of family and the
sexual fulfilment that Pam tries to derive from Sunimal, would have been
a matured work of art that would have lingered in the mind of the
W. Jayasiri, portrayed his role brilliantly, shedding light on other
characters. Bimal Jayakody as Sunimal also played his role convincingly.
His facial expressions have also been natural and well-blended into the
Hemasiri Liyanage, though he played a minor role as a bungalow keeper
and cook, was natural in his portraying of the character, especially at
critical scenes such as when Dr. Gerad comes to spend a night in the
bungalow accompanied by his young wife Pam and research assistant
Sangeetha Weeraratne, who played the lead female role as Pam, though
natural in some scenes, has not been able to maintain it throughout the
film. Perhaps, time is ripe for her to come out of her over-acting in
portraying characters and let her inborn talents flourish so that it
could be of benefit to Sri Lankan cinema.
Music Director Navarathna Gamage, Art Director Welegedara Ranasinghe
made their contribution to the success of the film as the sound effects
used bring out the emotional state of the characters.
Music maestro Naushad Ali remembered today
Naushad Ali's, was one of the first to introduce sound mixing and the
separate recording of voice and music tracks, in playback singing. He
was the first to continue the Elute and western musical instrument
clarinet, the Sitar and Mandolin in film music.
He also introduced the Accordion to Hindi film music and was among
the first to concentrate on background music to extend character's moods
and dialogues through music. But perhaps Naushad's greatest contribution
was to bring Indian classical music into the film medium.
Many of his compositions were inspired by Ragas and he even used
distinguished classical artists such as Ustad Amir Khan and Pandit D. V.
Paluskar in the film 'Baiji Barwa' (1952) and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
in the film 'Mughal-E-Azgam' (1960).
The film 'Baiju Bawra' demonstrated Naushad's grasp of classical
music. To quote India's greatest playback singer Lata Mangeshkar who
sang for him in that film, "The music he composed for 'Baiju Bawra'
surprised even me. It was entirely different from what he had done
before. Different Ragas were used for different situations and the
purity of the Ragas were maintained to the greatest possible extent".
Today is a year since the demise of this great music maestro.
He is fondly remembered for his memorable scores to movies such as:
Rattan (1944), Anmol Ghadi (1946), Shahjehan (1946), Keemat (1946),
Natak (1947), Dard (1947), Elaan (1947), Anokhi Ada (1948), Mela (1948),
Andaaz (1949), Dillagi (1949), Dulari (1949), Babul (1950), Jadoo
(1951), Deedar (1951), Aan (1952), Baiju Bawra (1952), Shahab (1954),
Uran Khatola (1955), Mother India (1957), Mughal Azam (1960), Ganga
Jamuna (1961), Mere Mehboob (1963), Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966).