Paradise Review: Riveting!


Prasanna
Vithanage’s

Paradise

leaves
the
audience
to
read
between
the
lines
and
draw
their
own
conclusions
about
the
frailty
of
human
nature,
and
how
easily
violence
seizes
the
most
unexpected
prey,
observes
Deepa
Gahlot.

 

What
kind
of
idiot
would
willingly
go
into
a
troubled
country
for
a
wedding
anniversary
trip?

A
privileged
idiot,
that’s
who,
the
kind
that
thinks
he
is
getting
a
bargain
and
doing
the
people
a
favour
by
spending
his
money
there. 

Sri
Lanka
is
a
country
in
a
crisis.

The
people
are
out
on
the
streets
protesting
against
food
and
fuel
shortages,
when
an
Indian
couple
visits,
in
Prasanna
Vithanage’s
acclaimed,
award-winning
film,

Paradise

(multi-lingual).

Most
tourists
have
cancelled,
so
Kesav
(Roshan
Mathew)
and
Amritha
(Darshana
Rajendran)
have
the
full
attention
of
their
guide,
Mr
Andrew
(Shyam
Fernando),
and
a
run
of
the
beautiful,
isolated
bungalow,
in
the
forest.

Keshav
gets
good
news
on
the
professional
front
from
his
office,
so
he
is
in
a
happy
mood.

Andrew
takes
them
on
a
Ramayan
tour,
pointing
out
places
where
various
incidents
from
the
epic
took
place.

He
is
probably
making
some
of
it
up
but
he
is
painfully
earnest
about
pleasing
his
guests.

Quite
early
in
the
film,
he
tells
them
that
it
is
believed
Ravana
did
not
die;
he
is
just
slumbering,
and
will
wake
up
one
day
to
save
Sri
Lanka.

Amritha
is
amused
by
his
stories

she
is
aware
of
different
versions
of
the
Ramayan

but
also
sensitive
to
serenity
of
the
space.

When
Keshav
wants
venison,
the
villa’s
server,
Shree
(Sumith
Ilango)
picks
up
a
loaded
gun
to
take
them
hunting
for
deer
but
Amritha
cannot
bear
the
beautiful
animal
being
killed,
and
interrupts.

The
deer
is
just
one
of
the
Ramayan
motifs
that
pops
up
in
the
film
but
Vithanage
does
not
draw
deliberate
parallels
between
the
epic
and
his
plot.
There
is
a
sense
of
foreboding
created,
however,
and
that
is
kept
up
till
the
unanticipated
climax.

Burglars
enter
the
villa
late
that
night,
and
rob
their
laptops
and
phones,
more
crucial
to
Keshav
at
that
point,
because
of
professional
deadlines.

He
insists
on
calling
the
cops,
and
is
told
that
due
to
a
diesel
shortage,
they
cannot
come
there,
so
Andrew
drives
them
over.

When
Sergeant
Bandara
(Mahendra
Perera)
sounds
uninterested

he
has
more
pressing
issues
to
deal
with
than
missing
gadgets

Keshav
threatens
to
pull
strings
higher
up.

The
pressure
from
an
adamant
Keshav,
results
in
the
arrest
and
torture
of
three
Tamil
men,
whom
Keshav
identifies.

He
may
have
been
wrong
about
seeing
them
in
the
dark
but
they
own
up
to
the
crime.
Keshav,
foolishly
decides
to
wait
till
he
gets
their
devices
back,
showing
the
first
world
arrogance
that
white
tourists
are
often
accused
of.
Amritha
sees
a
different
side
to
her
husband
that
had
not
surfaced
earlier,
perhaps
due
to
a
lack
of
provocation.

As
could
be
expected,
things
spiral
out
of
control,
and
that
loaded
gun

following
Chekhov’s
dramatic
rule
about
not
introducing
a
gun
in
the
first
act
if
it
is
not
meant
to
go
off
in
the
third

is
used
in
the
shocking
ending.

It
does
seem
like
the
forest
location,
with
its
deceptive
calm,
will
not
let
the
city
unrest
impinge
on
its
peace
but
Keshav
overestimates
the
cushioning
of
his
‘outsider-ness’,
while
Sergeant
Bandara’s
agenda
is
difficult
to
read,
without
knowing
the
current
socio-political
history
of
the
island
and
the
long-running
animosity
between
the
Sinhalas
and
Tamils.

The
villa’s
Muslim
cook,
Iqbal
(Azher
Samsoodeen),
and
the
Christian
Andrew
seem
to
represent
minorities
that
must
have
been
innocent
bystanders
in
the
not
so
distant,
violent
ethnic
strife
in
Sri
Lanka.

Vithanage
gets
natural,
nuanced
performances
from
the
actors,
and
picturesque
visuals
of
the
sites
Andrew
shows
off
to
his
only
clients
in
a
slack
season
but
leaves
the
audience
to
read
between
the
lines
and
draw
their
own
conclusions
about
the
frailty
of
human
nature,
and
how
easily
violence
seizes
the
most
unexpected
prey.



Paradise

Review
Rediff
Rating: