Some time in July 2013 an ITN reporter who was himself under investigation for alleged criminal activities ran a scathing attack on myself personally and a movie I produced - viz:” Flying Fish “ and also on the Director of the movie Mr. Sanjeewa Pushpakumara. The subject dominated the newspapers and that particular TV station news for several weeks and then disappeared without a trace. To date the CID has been involved in investigating the film and the various allegations I presume, and the authorities have been silent on the matter and no charges have been framed to-date and apparently there are no issues. I felt it was appropriate for me to keep quiet until the frenzy of bloodletting concluded before I stepped up to speak. I feel now , that there is some distance between those events it may be opportune for me to record my side of the story for the more discerning public.
To paraphrase the preface to the book “Film, Faith and Cultural Conflicts the case of Martin Scoresese and The Last Temptation of Christ” by Robin Riley, this article is linked to a rather simple proposition and human nature and behavior. We all blame someone at some time for something which we are unwilling to take responsibility. We will readily place blame on those who threaten our ideas and beliefs. We conveniently label them with tags, such as liberal and fundamentalists. On these victims we place our feelings and shortcomings thereby alleviating our anxieties and renewing our sense of purpose. Scapegoating enables us to transfer our failures to others and continue living guilt free.
Let me record how the film “Flying Fish” came about. I have been fascinated with films since my youth but unfortunately my career took me in a different direction towards commerce. With the advent of new digital technologies into the cinema, I felt it would be appropriate to use the that technology as a means for my entry to the industry. Since about 2005 I have been having discussions with fringe players in the industry regarding the future of the cinema. I recall very vividly an early discussion I had with Mr. Tissa Abeysekera the respected film Director and script writer at his home seated on a spiral staircase.. At about the same time I was introduced to a young lady named Suranga Ranawaka who went on to become a Sinhala Film Star who herself had ambitions in directing movies rather than merely starring in them. She in turn introduced me to many others in the industry. After the film “The Road from Elephant Pass” in which she starred was released, one day she introduced me to a young man named Sanjeewa Pushpakumara who had an idea for a movie treatment of the impact of the war on people living in a border village. I read the synopsis which I liked and asked them the cost of getting a treatment of the film that could be viewed. So that I could assess the merits of both the artistes and the concept more fully. They indicated a relatively low figure of Rs 2.5 million. Other than the treatment of the war, there were other issues in the synopsis that I was interested in. It dealt with issues of war between the sexes or sexual politics, a subject I had been interested in since I read Susan Brownmiller’s seminal book on the subject of Woman’s Liberation viz: ” Man, Woman and Rape”. In further discussions with the Director and his planned use of symbolism on film , I recognized the depth of the subject matter and his degree of sensitivity to the issues of the movie.