By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: 15 Years ago cinematographer-filmmaker Santosh Sivan made The Terrorist – a haunting film about a female human bomb who sets off to kill Rajiv Gandhi.
Now Santosh is back in LTTE territory with an English-Tamil bi-lingual called Ceylon (Inam in Tamil).
Didn’t Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café recently visit the same territory?
Says Santosh, “I had done The Terrorist much earlier. It had got an international release, with John Malkovich and Michael Ondaje presenting it. Ceylon is quite different from Shoojit’s film. It is the story of six youngsters who grow up together in an orphanage caught in the war. All the youngsters are full of fun and life, so its their story of survival,and some want to fight. The story unfolds with the huge canvas of the war in the background. It’s a universal story that could happen in any place where there is a political conflict.”
The main role in the film is played by Sugandha Ram who featured in Abhishek Sharma’s Tere Bin Laden.
Says Santosh, “Sugandha plays an orphan. Many kids have lost their parents to the ethnic conflict. So the orphans without families become a big family. It is the story of youngsters growing up together, many wanting to join the rebel forces, mainly due to personal loss. Finally the war breaks out. My film details and what happens to these young people.”
Santosh’s protagonist is based on a real character. “I was quite touched by the story of a refugee girl from Sri Lanka who came to Chennai. Actually, India is home to a great number of refugees for all over. The stories of refugees often portray an extreme will to survive and a journey through violence.For a woman refugee the struggle to survive is much more intense.Sugandha plays a refugee who goes through tremendous suffering.”
Ceylon releases in March 2014. It will be dubbed into Hindi as well.