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Hansa Vilak (1980)

A married man (Nissanka) and woman (Miranda) find their lives disrupted after their affair is exposed by the police. Leaving their respective families, the two decide to live together. ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Vasanthi Chathurani
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dharmasiri Bandaranayake
Henry Jayasena
J.H. Jayawardena
Swarna Mallawarachchi
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Storyline

A married man (Nissanka) and woman (Miranda) find their lives disrupted after their affair is exposed by the police. Leaving their respective families, the two decide to live together. Shortly afterwards, Miranda secretly goes back to see her former husband. As paranoia mounts, Nissanka disintegrates psychologically to point where reality and fantasy are blurred. Written by Thivanka Rukshan Perera

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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1980 (Sri Lanka)  »

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A skillful director's maiden effort
24 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

It is hard to imagine that Dharmasiri Bandaranayake's maiden film effort, Hansa Vilak, is really a maiden film effort. It has a carefully crafted script, making each character stand out on its own and well apart from each other, through the subtle differential use of dialogue and imagery, which then enables an absorbing dance of their varying combinations as the story unfolds. It uses montage with good effect. It juxtaposes the past, present and future skillfully, but not tiringly, to keep the viewer engaged and thinking. In all these, it is clearly a cut above its contemporary field. The story moves from happiness and bliss through disenchantment and chaos into a nightmare, where the mind cannot know whether what it sees is real or not.

The main actors are marvelously directed – from the nearly theatrical and poetical Henry Jayasena, through the enigmatic and sensuous Swarna Mallawarachchi and the compliant yet resilient Vasanthi Chathurani, to the forceful and almost ebullient G.W. Surendra. What is more, Bandaranayake even directs himself – something that even seasoned directors think twice before setting out to do – in a pivotal yet complex role, depending more on the camera and the reactions than the lines. Indeed, the calculated economy of the lines (which are then delivered with consummate skill) and the use of conflict between characters creates one of the memorable roles in Sinhala cinema, one that we have obviously under-appreciated.

I wish the editing was more seamless, since a script like this requires a somewhat dream-like trip. And I wish the music was more thoughtfully done, perhaps a bit more reticent and emotive, and less repetitive.

Hansa Vilak promptly establishes Dharmasiri Bandaranayake as one of our best directors.


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