Stories from the island


Stories from the island

There is passion in her eyes and she is determined to tell the stories of the world to the best of her ability. Considered as one of the best women film-makers, one can safely say that Sri Lankan filmmaker Anoma Rajakaruna has redefined world cinema.

However, initially, she didn’t have it easy. The director, who was in the City recently for the Bengaluru International Film Festival, chatted with Metrolife on her journey so far. 

She entered the industry when she was 17 and faced a number of challenges due to her age, gender and background. Ask her what kept her going and she says softly, “Sheer will, my personal experience of growing up in a patriarchal society and three decades of war -- there is a lot to tell the world.”

However, being a documentary film-maker in Sri Lanka is a difficult job. Though the place is full of stories, the lack of adequate funds makes it challenging.

Anoma works with young, aspiring filmmakers and says that now, it’s easier for women to get into the industry thanks to increasing awareness, changing attitude and of course, the internet boom.

However, she adds that Sri Lankan cinema still has a long way to go. According to her, it has to fight many obstacles like the popularity of Hollywood and Bollywood films and censorship in the film and television industry. Despite there being room for “propaganda-based” movies, the space for art and commercial films is shrinking.

Having shot a film about the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict was a learning experience. “This is when we have to ask ourselves if we have done enough. Cinema is one of the spaces for reconcilation and I don’t think we have used it enough,” she says.

 Terming the market for Indian cinema in Sri Lanka as “huge”, she is quick to add that this market is only for Bollywood and Kollywood. “The audience for art and indie-house films is non-existant,” she laments.

  A passionate poet, strong thinker, well-versed philosopher and a powerful film-maker, her goal is to delve deep into hard-core issues like ethnic and class conflict, identity crisis and gender bias.

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