THE OTHER HALF by LALITH RATHNAYAKE

Directed By Lalith Rathnayake | Reviewed By Riya Saha

While there are a million different interpretations, but the best way to look at this movie is in terms of the beautiful storyline and the way the film is portrayed. It starts with a child running in between a lush green grass, is soothing. It made e remember the epic scene of Pather Panchali directed by Satyajit Ray where Apu and Durga run to see the train. 

We always look forward to a film where we can relate our lives with an event and falling in love with the film makes sense. The director’s explanation of the film fits into the narratives that we have seldom faced in our lives. Lalith Rathnayake has created a film with a cause. “The Other Half” is not just a film it is a journey. This film depicts the journey of dealing with a loss, complexities, and discovering your truth. It’s a journey to the rural village in Sri Lanka discovering the truth and complexities associated with caste, culture, existing norms, life, death, hopes, love, and pain.

A Brief Insight into the Film

In a rural village in Sri Lanka, the family well becomes poisoned by agricultural chemicals. This subsequently leads to the untimely death of Ruwansiri’s father who develops chronic kidney disease, leaving his mother works to support the family. At school, he struggles to understand his lessons in a rigid educational system that cannot go beyond rote learning. As an escape from the toxic environment around him, Ruwansiri finds solace in music.

Every scene in this movie has a message to convey. Every dialogue has something to tell you about the various ordeals in human life. Ruwansiri is a tormented child, little things make him happy. The chemistry of the child with his grandfather is praiseworthy. Anyone close to their grandparents can feel the connection. 

The film comes with a message that not only shows the pathetic condition of various parts of the world. It focuses on the water crisis, a fact that must not be ignored. On the other hand, it deals with the connection between our elders. The film also focuses on the organic development of children and deeply disagrees with the teacher-centric form of education.

Direction and Acting

Scenes are beautifully written. The scene where “Ruwansiri” speaks with his grandfather about his problems, is similar to how a man clings on to hopes and aspirations even though he knows that someone is cannot help him much.

“The Other Half” raises awareness and motivates people to think that in a teacher-centered education, students put all of their focus on the teacher. The students exclusively listen, there is no research, no self-improvement involved. When a classroom operates with student-centered instruction, students and instructors share the focus. Instead of listening to the teacher exclusively, students and teachers interact equally. 

Therefore, the education system must change and let the Students become more interested in learning activities. 

With a brilliant Storyline, Director Lalith Rathnayake successfully shaped his film Vishama Bhaga. The film was screened at Shanghai International Film Festival 2019, at Shanghai, China on June 20, 2019, as an Asian Premiere. It was nominated for Best Actor & Script Writer. It successfully won the Asian New Talent Award. Pansilu Wickramarathna played the Key Cast – “Ruwansiri”. The cute innocent face of the child and his acting skills will surely make everyone fall in love. The music goes well with the cinematography. 

The movie starts with a message and also ends with another. The closure is the biggest attraction. Wonderfully written, directed and acted. The film teaches us to live with your grief, and face all the circumstances with motivation. You must watch it and I am sure your perspective about society, the education system will change as well!

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