Aug 5, 2022
Chamara Prasanna Kodithuwakku
Chandrasoma Binduhewa, Menike Attanayake' N.Theebadarshani
The title of the short film-Milk rice chosen by the director Ranga Bandaranayake and writer Chamara Prasanna Kodithuwakku aptly represents the tradition, culture and people of Srilanka. The white font used for the name of the film has the connotation of hope, purity, and peacefulness that becomes necessary for survival in the post- pandemic world. The cinematic piece attempts to highlight some of the life lessons that nature wants us to learn through all the three protagonists (Chandrasoma Binduhewa, Menike Attanayake, and N. Theebadarshani).
The plot of Milk rice revolves around an elderly couple and their tenant who gradually become a major support system for each other soon discover a new perspective on life that will transform their lives for the better.
The intense upbeat background music of the film provides a sense of drama to balance out the gravitas of the subject matter the movie is dealing with. The wide shot of the house followed by a series of mid and close-up shots utilized by the cinematographer J Susewhewa Amila conveys the emotional status of each character brilliantly successfully building the audience's engagement with the content. The colour palette, set design, lighting, costume, makeup, and dialogues complement the island country and the cinematic piece gives the audience a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Srilanka.
In the performance department, Chandrasoma Binduhewa and Menike Attanayake play the role of the elderly couple who try to find hope and happiness in every little moment in life while battling an irreparable personal loss. Binduhewa uses anger and irritation to showcase the helplessness of the father as people are highly insensitive towards him and his wife. Attanayake's character is the more expressive one out of the two. The veteran actress portrays the pain of the mother by crying, spending time with books, or having a conversation with her tenant Anjali which gives her the strength to live.
N. Theebadarshani plays Anjali who is a strong and independent modern woman but is emotionally broken inside. Theebadarshani understands the nuances of her character and manages to bring out every emotion aptly with each situation in the narrative.
Milk rice talks to its audience about the need to remain close to one's traditions and culture as this defines the person one becomes in the future. The cinematic piece mentions the struggles of the families of the people who disappeared and tells the viewers to be empathetic towards them. The creative piece educates us regarding the requirement for people to come together as a family to look for long- lasting happiness for everyone because even though people may be different physically but their fate tends to be the same in God's court. Milk rice communicates the message to its viewers that life is a healthy combination of the individual journey of people as well as the need for a support system to identify the path of happiness and self-satisfaction and well-being of everyone involved.
In my opinion, the treatment of the film by the director Ranga Bandaranayake has kept it subtle and handled the hard-hitting topics in the storyline with utmost care.