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Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky)

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2009 | Drama | Sri Lanka | Sinhala (English subtitles) | 90 min | PG | $10

Director: Prasanna Vithanage

Premieres 18 June 2010

Akasa KusumSandhya Rani (Malini Fonseka) is an ageing film star who was once the darling of the silver screen. Having lost fame and fortune in a changing world, she now lives quietly in obscurity.

She ekes out a living by renting out a room in her home to the young film and television stars of today to satisfy their illicit sexual desires.

When a popular starlet’s (Dilhani Ekanayake) husband discovers his wife’s affair in the room, the scandal and publicity forces Rani into the limelight again. As the media-crazy nation draws her into its net, Rani is confronted to revisit the dark side of her earlier rise to fame.

Her daughter, Priya (Nimmi Harasgama), whom Rani was forced to abandon as an infant, is now an attractive, young lady who works as a hostess in a Karaoke night club.

Priya despises her mother and the men she has to entertain and finds a confidant in co-hostess Bunty (Samanalee Fosenka).

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Director’s Statement:

Prasanna & The Kids

I have heard somewhere that a filmmaker should make at least one film on his profession. I realised how difficult a task that was as I was writing ‘Akasa Kusum.’

My two (2) previous films were issue-based movies that tackled Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict; I focused my camera at how this war had affected us as people.

This time around, I decided to turn the camera on my world, the world of filmmaking. This happened as I began making the story of Sandhya Rani a cinematic reality.

In making a film about a film personality, and turning the camera on one’s self, could I be completely honest in revealing the innermost facts about ourselves, the same way we do when pointing the camera at others?

Rani’s character has shades of Sri Lanka’s celluloid prima donnas, since the time movies began here. They were the objects of our fantasies and the creators of our dreams. But when they reached a point where they were unable to fulfill our intangible needs, they were discarded – replaced by a younger, more stimulating model.

With her portrayal of Sandhya Rani, the queen of Sri Lankan cinema Malini Fonseka brought a heightened sense of reality to the film, culled from her four decades of experience in cinema. She took the role and made it personal, intimate and autobiographical – colouring it with shades only she could bring.

What I finally saw on the screen challenged me more than I dare to admit. The reality that I sought to create on screen had taken a life of its own, becoming darker and scarier. The reasons for this, I am only beginning to discover. And I have a feeling it will take some time.

Akasa Kusum was released in Sri Lanka in August 2009 and ran for a record 77 days across 24 screens. The film is still touring in the international festival circuit.

Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky) premieres together with another Prasanna Vithanage classic Ira Madiyama (August Sun) on 18 June 2010 at Sinema Old School.

Visit the official website: akasakusum.com

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