A teledrama review
People of Indiketiya, a village off Medawachchiya looked at life’s problems differently. Isolated from the city, this village thrived on scarce resources and its people tried to make ends meet. Many characters with many stories portrayed some burning issues in life while trying to find solutions their own way. ‘Sudu andagena kalu awidin’ a production by Sunil Costa who carries with him an experience of over 25 years in producing, directing and script writing for films, TV series and TV commercials is described as a lotus that grew from the mud.
At a time when local tele-dramas are influenced and replaced by soaps, especially those from our neighbor, we as Lankans should appreciate local talent. With competitions, viewers who appreciated the arts have moved away from the small screen, giving space to create a society that expected material things in return for watching not one but many teles at a stretch. It is in such an era that ‘Koombiyo’ and ‘Sahodaraya’ made their breakthrough on television, followed by Sunil Costa’s recently concluded masterpiece.
‘Sudu andagena kalu awidin’
The story revolves around a rural village setting where different characters have their own struggles in life. Suba and Ayoma, played by Umayangana Wickramasinghe and Michelle Dilhara respectively, reaches Indiketiya on a mission not known to Ayoma. It is only later that she finds out that her father, whom she has never seen for 16 years is also her school best friend Surangi’s father as well. On their first journey to the village, they meet Prof.Amarapala played by Lakshan Mendis who later becomes the problem solver in the village in a more literal sense. But his wife Swarna played by Chandani Seneviratne looks at life in a more realistic and practical perspective. Spicing up the story are characters such as Wilson played by Ananda Kumara Unnahe, Rupasinghe played Niroshan Wijesinghe, Wimalasiri played by Dulan Manjula Liyanage,Manohari played by VeenaJayakodi,Wali Suda played by Jehan Appuhami and others played by many other veterans and amateurs. Settings were chosen from Bakamuna, Sarubima, Koduruwawa, Nikapitiya, Orubandisiyambalawa and Arawwala that were breathtaking and also brought out a contemporary village feel.
‘Sudu andagena kalu awidin’ a production by Sunil Costa who carries with him an experience of over 25 years in producing, directing and script writing for films, TV series and TV commercials is described as a lotus that grew from the mud
Dark depths of local education system
Although Amarapala is the only professor produced from the school village, his theoretical approach to life’s problems weren’t accepted by many. But he took an upper hand in ensuring that the school had more children amidst political influences and various challenges, similar to that seen in reality. But Nayananda was a genuine person who worked for the betterment of the students. Working according to the rules and regulations laid out by the Education Department, he sacrifices his tenure for the students. Many youngsters have stopped schooling to put food on their tables like in most rural villages. But Nayananda was determined to go from house to house with the grama sevaka to convince parents to send their children to school. This is how more students started schooling and encouraged Nayananda to continue his mission. But Costa was able to portray the existing reality within the education system through one person who comes as a trainee teacher. He was a narcissist, more interested in getting the students to plough a nearby chena, have extra classes and earn a few extra bucks. With his negative influence, Nayananda leaves the school for good and things went back to square one. Whether genuine people like Prof. Amarapala and Nayananda could survive in this existing, corrupt education system remains a question.
Meeting life’s struggles
Wilson portrays himself as a mentally challenged person. But what he says makes more sense than what most sane people say. He feels that the village is possessed by demons and tries to chase them away, sometimes in the literal sense. Several attempts to take him to the local practitioner proved futile and his only son Wimalasiri didn’t encourage it as he thought he would lose his father. Wimalasiri’s mother left him at birth and with a mentally challenged father he seeks for love and affection from anyone and everyone. He falls in love with Ayoma but doesn’t succeed and from time to time he is misled as he becomes vulnerable when it comes to love. Mathupala on the other hand was a character that was indebted after his son left work at the sand mine to resume schooling. Every time he meets Amarapala, he debates whether sending his son back to school, having a positive attitude and doing good deeds would put food on their table.
Veena Jayakodi plays the role of a Tamil mother who lost her husband during the war. She lives with her son and always invites anybody and everybody for tea and ulundu wade at her house. Suba is the overprotective mother who looks at life from her experiences. She wants the best to happen to her daughter but places no trust in anyone. Even after she meets her long lost husband she is not ready to accept his side of the story as she had to live through the stigma faced by a single mother for 16 long years. Rupasinghe on the other hand is in two minds. He has to look after his daughter Surangi and works tirelessly at his paddy field, setting an example to the rest of the men in the village. But with Suba and Ayoma’s arrival he distances himself from work and Surangi. He questions his sanity, sometimes sending his thoughts afar until the final few episodes where Surangi accepts Ayoma as her step sister and he agrees to look after Ayoma on Suba’s absence.
The use of drones added much detail to the creation, bringing out the beauty of the surrounding areas from time to time. Music by Dinesh Subasinghe too blended in well, placing emphasis on the emotions of people. Costa also had captured finer details such as the village temple and devotees without highlighting any monks. Almost all dialogues were life lessons and every character had something to give back to the audience. It was a visual treat to live in every character and blend into a rural village setting and like Kopi Kade of the bygone era, Sudu andagena kalu awidin was able to write a new chapter and raise standards in the modern tele scene.