Beyond fantasy: Deviation from the traditional
Pix: Geeth De Mel
Thushara Peiris is an up and coming youthful director who received
his education in filmology at the Cine Film Academy in Italy.
`Prabhakaran’ his maiden film has been attracting a huge crowd to
cinema halls simultaneously in Sri Lanka and twenty seven cities in
countries including Italy, Germany and Switzerland. Below is the pow wow
the Sunday Observer had with the budding director.
What is your background knowledge with regard to cinema?
I learned on filmology at the Cine Film Academy in Italy with main
stream being script writing. There were many students in my class from
all corners of the world.
Here I won the script writing competition and this award gave me
encouragement to return to my motherland and go for my own creation. I
engaged myself in making films at the academy which I think gave me the
knack of making my own creation. The creations of mine were adored by
many at the academy.
Most of the budding film directors tend to go for fantasy and
romantic themes in their maiden venture. But your’s was a deviation from
the tradition. Why did you chose such an in -depth theme like terrorism
as your maiden endeavour?
I would agree with you. Fantasy and romantic films can be done easily
which are less problematic. But I wanted to emerge a new break in the
tradition and at the same time to take up a challenge. Every one has
their own capabilities. I have identified what my standard is.
`Terrorism’ is a globally affected predicament. I wanted to depict my
perspective on terrorism through that film. I think `Prabhakaran’ is a
successful portrayal in that aspect. Democracy is best preserved in Rome
compared to any other country in the world.
I have met several members of terrorist group there. One of my best
friends in Rome was Nadan who was a member of LTTE. I gathered a lot
from his personal experience and also material for my film, since I got
along well with him.
Every one knows what a terrorist organisation is but only a few know
how it functions, problems which they encounter, how suicide bombers are
trained and so on. One of the important things I have learnt in that a
terrorist organisation cannot to survive in the long run, without child
Child soldiers are the base of a terrorist organisation. And
especially for suicidal purposes child soldiers are best trained when
they are young. Most of the people know the outward picture of a
terrorist organisation but to get a good idea as to how it works is a
rare experience. That invaluable experience helped me tremendously to
produce `Prabhakaran’. Another reason to choose such a serious theme is
that I wanted as a patriotic citizen, to do something responsible for my
Q: What is your notion on suicide bombers?
A: They are psychologically very strong category of people. You and I
can never ever think of dying. If a soothsayer says that you only have
two or three days to live, how would you feel? Could you even imagine
that death is hanging over your head? But those people with a strong
psychological base are ready to accept any challenge. Needless to say,
accepting death is the biggest challenge for any person!
They are also good goal achievers. Determined and dedicated. They are
different from the ordinary. The ordinary people are affected by trifles
of day to day life. What I could say about suicide bombers is that he or
she is a deviation from the ordinary who could do things which ordinary
people can not do.
Q: Were you not afraid to choose novice actresses and actors for your
A: Not at all. When I write the script I visualise who could fit into
for each role. If I were to choose experienced people in the field they
might not have served my purpose. As long as the actor or the actresses
put his or her heart and soul to bring out the real meaning of the
creation, their experience is less significant.
I have selected many people living in the North who were previously
attached to the LTTE. They had no experience in acting but they could
represent each character successfully.
Q: What made you use people in the North who were initially attached
to the LTTE?
A: In order to preserve the originality. Apart from letting child
soldiers act in the film I also tried to do charity work at the same
time. I put some of the child soldiers in a rehabilitation centre at my
expense. I think it is a good investment and they could face society
with confidence. Actually it is very pathetic to hear from them their
past agony and present grievances.
Q: How much assistance did you receive from the veterans in the
A: Sad to say that they tried to throw cold water on novices. I never
got a word of encouragement from them.
Q: Are you disappointed about the field? Will not your audience see
any product of your’s in the future?
A: Yes. I am disappointed a bit, but I don’t consider much about that
anyway. I am not going to take a step backwards. I am going to start my
second film in the not too distant future.
Q: What is your next film going to be about?
A: I have named it the `Italian Express’. That is quite similar to my
first creation. It is about a rebellious group of people who are on an
expedition to Italy from different corners of the world. That story
shows the reason why people take flights and boats to go to Italy. It
will also be a unique experience to my audience.