A serious but splintered film
Nisala Gira (Silent Honour) a fascinating facet of
Take it with both hands when you are about to get something that you
lost once are perhaps the most evocative lines spelled out by Nanditha
(brilliantly portrayed by Nimmi Harasgama), when Radha conceived a child
in prison. Radha (Nita Fernando) is the main character in Nisala Gira
(Silent Honour) by Tanuja Anawaratne, the latest film to hit the Silver
The story revolves around a high society Minister's wife Radha (Nita
Fernando) and how she is entangled in a web of international drug
dealers leading to her eventual imprisonment.
Saliya (Ravindra Randeniya) is an honest politician, a rare breed
indeed, perhaps found only in cinema. He declares a war on drug
trafficking earning the wrath of the drug dealers who want, at any cost
to stop, Minister Saliya from ratifying SAARC agreement on combating
However, the plot to assassinate Minister Saliya takes a tragic turn
when his gifted son who had shown signs of becoming a world famous
concert pianist is killed by unidentified gunman.
As Radha losses her purpose of life, she begins to live in world
between reality and fantasy. Grief-stricken Radha becomes a pawn in the
hands of the drug cartel when she was handed over to Marko, a bogus
doctor (Saumya Liyanage) through an ambitious and ruthless family friend
Cynthia (Angela Seneviratne).
Although marked by its higher picture quality and impressive
cinematic diction, significantly the film lacks credibility that it
should have, from the very beginning. For instance the trial is
conducted only for Radha, though she was arrested with a group.
If the facts will include in a fiction, those facts should be
accurate and should not be fictional. Other partners who have been
implicated in the incident were also missing in the bus that carries the
prisoners to the prison. This is, perhaps, due to the ignorance on the
part of the director or his deliberate attempt to mislead the audience.
Nandita's death sentence is factually incorrect since death sentence
has not been activated in Sri Lanka for over three decades. It is also
unrealistic that Nandita being taken alone to gallows in hand cupped.
This is also amounting to misleading of the public.
When death sentence is pronounced on a convict it will eventually be
converted into life imprisonment and Radha's rather prematurely release
is also doubtful and far from being the reality.
Another technical aspect that the director has missed is the concert
scene in the prison where prisoners play with brand new instruments in a
concert. It is highly unlikely that prisoners have brand new instruments
and clad in immaculately clean clothes.
This scene is extremely unrealistic; Nanditha's playing violin, Kudu
Amma and Damitha Abeyratne miserably failed. It is the only scene in
which Nimmi does not perform well. The Director is squarely to be blamed
for inserting rather inappropriate scenes.
This entire scene seems to be a planted one as it does not directly
relate to the plot. It is also apparent that towards the end of the
film, the director seems to have run out of material and deliberately
inserted several scenes including those of rather silly fights between
female prisoners and perceived lesbian scene, perhaps, with the
intension of rendering a classical outlook to the film.
Another glaring shortcoming is that when Radha is released she comes
out from the Bogambara prison and as if in a magical spell, steps onto
the Parliament road, Damitha and Kanchana's shouting at each other
crazily and Asela shouting at the pitch of voice blaming her high
society parents obviously add salt to the already wounded film. Death of
an inmate in a fracas is also sub-plots which have nothing to do with
the central theme of the film.
The Premature release of Radha with a seemingly three year old child
indirectly suggests that a person convicted of criminal offense such as
drug trafficking can come out in a short spell of, perhaps, three or
four years which is highly unlikely given real figures that at least,
such a convict should spend ten year imprisonment or life imprisonment.
The fact is testified by a child been cradled a child in the arms of
the mother, Radha. The child should be in the aged group of three to
Glimpse into the Asian high society
The script-writer attempts to look into Asian high society through
the characters of Minister Saliya, his wife Radha, Cynthia and Marko and
members of the drug cartel. Seemingly, unblemished political career of
Saliya and his idealistic war on drug is most unbelievable given the
highly corrupt establishment and especially politicians.
However, the script-writer has driven home the fact that ruling class
is a relict of colonialism who mimics the mannerism of their colonial
masters even after decades of gaining independence. Techniques such as
flash back have been misused destroying the central theme of the film
which seems to be the all out war on drug abuse and innocent lives which
evaporates into thin air as the drug under the candle flame.
Most of the proven actors have miserably failed in portraying diverse
characters. Nita Fernando, Ravindra Randeniya are among them. Damitha
Abeyratne, Kanchana Mendis were prominent for their over acting.
It is a pity that the director who had worked productively with one
of the most creative film makers like Asoka Handagama failed to derive
best acting from Ravidra Randeniya as Handagama did in 'Aksharaya'
(letter of fire) .
Nita Fernando's portrayal of her character is also unrealistic at
certain points. However, Angela Seneviratne fits into the character in a
realistic manner as if she is really into the business of drug dealing.
Though different from most of the characters portrayed, Saumya
Liyanage (Marko) plays his allotted role with much ease and Rozanne Diaz
(Nicola) has also done justice to her role. Nimmi Harasgama is brilliant
in her portrayal of Nanditha, another victim of the drug cartel.
Especially her delivery of dialogue is natural and highly impressive.
Chandra Kaluaarachchi's portrayal of Kudu Amma seems to be
unrealistic at certain stages. However, it is something demanded by the
Cinematography by Suminda Weerasinghe and Music Director Aruna Lian
and Channa Wijewardena?s choreography contributed to the rather
Hollywood-style picture quality and the easy narrative style which makes
the film stand out among contemporary Sinhala films.
It should be mentioned here that the script writer has wasted an
excellent plot despite a host of talented cast including Nimmi Harasgama,
Nita Fernando, Iranganie Serasinghe and exceptional cinematography by
Suminda Weerasinghe, Music by Arun Lian , at his disposal.
However, the Director has proved that he is conversant in the
language of cinema and his ability to create serious works of art is
unimpeachable. This is manifested by the fact that the film does not
contain kiddish scenes such as waving of hand by Meheni in 'Uppala Wanna'.
It is the typical 'Good bye' wave by Sangeetha Weeraratne in romantic