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Film - Saroja, 2001

posted Mar 29, 2013, 4:01 AM by chalaka salpadoru


For the past twenty years, the Indian ocean island of Sri Lanka been troubled by an ethnic conflict. Government forces are batting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who want a separate Tamil homeland in the North and East of the Island. This war is only two decades old but the animosity and conflicts between the minority Tamil race and the majority Singhalese race in Sri Lanka goes back many centuries.

Sundaram is a Tamil who was forced to join the Tiger rebels. During a battle, he escapes into the jungle with his seven year old daughter Saroja. Sundaram is injured and he cannot walk. They are desperately hungry. Sundaram wants to protect his daughter. But he loses hope of surviving. He tells his daughter to leave him to die and seek refuge in a Singhalese village nearby.

Saroja is found by Varuni, an eight year old Singhalese girl. Varuni secretly takes food to Saroja and her farther. She wants her parents to save Saroja and her farther and bring them into the house. Varuni's mother is an extremist and wants these Tamils caught and handed over to the Army. But Varuni's farther, a village school teacher, takes a human approach. He believes that the Tamils have an equal right to live in Sri Lanka and that all Tamils are not Tigers. He brings Saroja and Sundaram into the house.

The family are now forced to keep their secret from the village. Sundaram is admitted to hospital under a false name and he acts as if he was dumb. A strong bond develops between Varuni and Saroja. They teach each other Tamil and Singhalese. Varuni's mother gradually grows to love Saroja and becomes very protective of her.

Sundaram's cover is finally blown in hospital. He is arrested. along with the school teacher. But the police cannot prove he is a Tamil Tiger guerilla. He and the school teacher are released. But the villagers are not forgiving. The centuries old hatred of the Tamils comes to the surface. Saroja is not allowed to attend the local school. The school teacher is criticized for questioning the idea that the island of Sri Lanka is only for the Sinhala race. He is hated for giving refuge to Tamils.

The villagers spread false stories about him and his family. They threaten to burn his house down if he did not leave the village with his Tamil friends. They petition the school authorities. The school teacher is finally forced to leave the village under a punishment transfer to a school in the northern Tamil area. But before he can leave, the Tigers make their move, and grant the villagers their secret wish.


Father (Teacher) Janaka Kumbukage
Mother (Teacher's wife) Neeta Fernando
Sundaram (Tamil Escapee) Mervin Mahasen
Varuni Pramudi Karunarathne
Saroja Nithyavani Kandasamy
Sirisena Mahendra Perera


Music Rohana Weerasinghe
Art Director Heenatigala Premadasa
Sound Lionel Gunaratne
Editor Stanley de Alwis
Cinematographer Suminda Weerasinghe
Producer Renuka Balasooriya
Story & Script Somaratne Dissanayake
Director Somaratne Dissanayake


Dhaka International Film Festival (Bangladesh)
  • Audience award (Best film)
  • Best Asian Film (Netpac Award)
Houston International Film Festival (USA)
  • Bronze Award
Pyongyang International Film Festival (Korea)
  • Special Award of the Festival
Iran International Film Festival (Isfahan - Iran)
  • Best Director
  • Best Performance (Pramudi & Nithyavani)
Chicago International Film Festival (USA)
  • LIV Ullmann Peace Award Vesoul
International Film Festival (France)
  • Audience Award (Best Film)

Source - Filmlanka official website