By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
“Mann” (Earth) is the first film to be produced and released after a long period of time, in the history of Sri Lankan Tamil film industry. This is a 35mm film with Cinemascope mode. It has been scheduled to be released in mid November 2006 in Sri Lanka, possibly all around the country, if situation permits.
“Mann” (Earth) will be screened at Cine City in Colombo from November 24th 2006 onwards, according to Puthiyavan Rasaiah. Also at Shanthi Theatre in Batticaloa on November 24th 2006, at 6.30pm.
Though 98% of the actors, and actresses are from Sri Lanka, couple of actors from India are also appearing in the film, as special guest stars. Having taken Indian audience with huge surprise at the preview show at Prasath Studio, that a Sri Lankan film has come out with such technicalities equally comparable to Indian films, it has also received overwhelming support and appreciation among the Sri Lankan audience in the European Union countries. It was already screened in European Union countries during the past two months.
“Mann” (Earth) will be released in Australia and Canada in November 2006.
This film is 2 hours and 9 minutes long. The whole film was shot in Puttalam, to resemble a village in Vavuniya.
Following are the excerpts of an interview with R. Puthiyavan, Director of “Mann” (Earth), Cine Range Films Ltd. He is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at Kingston College/University in the United Kingdom. The story, dialogues, and lyrics were written by R. Puthiyavan.
Q:Why did you decide to make a film?
A: I am very interested in film making. I made two short video films earlier, namely “Maatru” in 2001, and “Kanavugal Nijamaanaal” in 2003. These were my experimental films, and an hour and 45 minutes long. Since I two short films were successful, I have decided to make a long film on Cinemascope mode. There had been no Tamil films made in Sri Lanka for more than twenty five years. I wanted to try out the opportunities.
I hail from Kanagarayankulam, North of Sri Lanka. I wanted to shoot the entire movie in Kanagarayankulam, which is my birth place. I left Sri Lanka eighteen years ago, and I am now settled down in the United Kingdom. I still cherish and treasure my childhood memories from my village. It’s a war torn area now. People of Kanakarayankulam suffered severely during war. The village is completely devastated. It was a very beautiful village, surrounded by paddy fields, birds, and animals.
But I did not get permission from Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to film. Thereafter I decided to film in Puttalam. The shooting of “Mann” (Earth) began in July 2005, and ended in August 2005. “Mann” (Earth) is about a love story of two Tamil school students from North, and hill country in Sri Lanka. My Indian movie colleagues did not find it difficult to understand the Tamil language used for dialogues, although we speak slightly different Tamil in Sri Lanka. They understood the language, and been with the film till the end.
Q: How did you select the actors and actresses?
A: I advertised on the newspapers for actors and actresses. I received 1,200 applications, and I selected the correct casts carefully, after several screen tests. There are two special guest stars from India. They are Vaakai Santhirasegar, and Kaathal Sukumar. The songs are sung by Kathik, Mathangi, Thippu, and Jeyachandran. “Mann” (Earth) has given opportunities to several artistes from all background and communities.
I spent nearly twenty five million Sri Lankan Rupees to make the film. I am very optimistic that, “Mann” (Earth) will be successful, like my previous video films.
Q: When are you going to make another film?
A: I like to make a film about the two decades long Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. But the situation does not permit me to travel, and shoot the film, and I have to criticize the parties involved in the ethnic conflict. Criticisms are not welcome in our society. I may have to face the immediate consequences of making such a film. I can make a film now, if I am ready to face death instantly. I am not afraid of death, but I do not want to speed up anything, which deals with politics. Further I want to wait for more developments, before making a decision.
I advocate for democracy. I like to grow and improve my personality with criticism. Everything is connected to politics knowingly or unknowingly. Love is Politics; Life is Politics.
Film fans in Sri Lanka are looking forward to see “Mann” (Earth)
Filming of “Mann” (Earth), in Puttalam
A scene from Mann” (Earth)
Shana plays a major role in “Mann” (Earth). She hails from Batticaloa
“Mann” (Earth) is the debut film for most of the actors, and actresses.