Que Sera, a highly entertaining film
Que Sera, the Sinhala Film is screened at the Regal, Colombo and
The title of a very popular song sung by Doris Day in the 1950s, also
for a Hollywood film, means 'What will be, will be'. The theme of the
film too bears some relevance to this meaning.
Que Sera can be classified as a dark comedy, with some romance and
satire thrown in as added material. The genre - comedy has been largely
neglected in the Sinhala cinema, with comic character playing
masquerading as comedy taking over in the last many years. This film
attempts to fill that blank to some extent.
The story is that of a burgher family of morticians-funeral
directors, who have been in business for over hundred years. The Burgher
community, once a very lively and a colourful component of the Sri
Lankan society is now minimal in the local social fabric, largely due to
their steady migration to Australia and the west in the 1970s.
A scene from Que Sera
The present owner of the business dies leaving a debt ridden business
in the hands of his two unmarried daughters.
The two girls are now left with the option of either selling the land
and other age-old assets and settling the debts or reviving the business
The older sister, a very determined girl, decides that she is going
to revive the business. With the help of a relative who is also a
professional money lender, she starts the business again.
The good name the business has carried over the years and with the
help of some very crafty business techniques of some new employees, she
turns the business around quickly. Then the unexpected happens.
The business starts experiencing unexpected setbacks causing
substantial reverses in income and things look just like what it was
when the father of the girls died. Nobody can explain the reasons as to
why and how these things are happening and the soothsayers point the
finger at a ghost who is haunting the premises.
Repeated attempts to exorcise the ghost fail and when all seem to be
lost for the girls, a woman in the neighbourhood offers to help the
girls. This woman possesses a unique ability to communicate with ghosts.
She too hails from a respectable family and the girls have no reason to
doubt her. Finally, through her intervention, all issues are settled and
as to why the ghost haunted the premises and tried to disrupt the
business and harass the girls are revealed.
The subject matter, though looking a bit creepy, has been treated
with such delicacy that all characters appear to look refreshingly
endearing. The three main roles are played by relatively newcomers to
the cinema, with only Michelle having acted in a film earlier.
Yoshini Abeysekera making her debut in the film gives a stellar
performance and is well supported by English theatre veteran Hans
Billimoria, who is simply marvellous. Michelles acting does not need any
She is simply classy in her role and does it with so much ease too.
Their handling of dialogues both in English and Sinhala simultaneously
is a treat to watch and listen and the audiences will seldom feel they
are listening to English dialogues.
The three main roles are well supported by characters played by some
of the finest names in the Sinhala cinema. Starting with veterans such
as Nita Fernando, Cyril Wickramage, Amarasiri Kalansuriya, Dilhani
Ekanayake, Anjela Seneviratne, Manel Wanaguru, Sandun Wijesiri, Dammith
Fonseka, Srimal Wedisinghe, Anura Bandara Rajaguru, W Jayasiri, and
Sando Harris, the cast of characters ends with many newcomers who have
all acted well.
A most notable feature of the film is its musical score. Veteran
musician Somapala Ratnayake composes a score that is really beautiful
and quite unusual from the stuff he normally does for Sinhala films.
There is a very interesting rendering of a famous song sung by the
late Rukmani Devi, which is a household name in Sri Lanka. "Mawila
penewi Roope hadhe" has been done again with a touch of jazz and the
female vocalist whose voice bears a remarkable resemblance to that of
the original singer has done a good rendering. And a very catchy melody
for the song sung by his nephew, Victor Ratnayake's son- Lelum will be
remembered for a long time, both for the excellent rendering and the
The film editor M.S. Aliman has, as usual, done his work well and
some special effects done by assistant editor Ruwan Chamara Ranasinghe,
needs special mention.
The satirical scenes in the film are funny, yet thought provoking.
There are surreal elements too. But all these do not take away from the
general viewer, the smooth flowing entertainment of the film. Its
entertaining throughout, both for the lighthearted film goer and the
discerning one too.
Parakrama Jayasinghe has always maintained that cinema is for
He very often quotes a famous sanskrit soloka which reads as ' Kan
anandan Laalathie Kala' which translated into Sinhala would read as
Kalaawa Ananadya pinisama we'. And that is what he has attempted to do
in Que Sera, in a mission which started with his award winning film in
1994, Eka Da Wahi.