CHENNAI: The director of the Sri Lankan film, With You, Without You, Prasanna Vithanage, grew up watching Tamil films of well-known auteurs like Bharathiraja, K Balachandar and Mani Ratnam, and also other world class directors, which taught him how to make films.
A totally non-political film-maker, he has shot six Sinhala movies with shoe-string budgets since 1989 and all of them have done reasonably well in the box office, besides being critically acclaimed, before going on to make With You, Without You, which was funded by friends in Sri Lanka and Rahul Roy of Mumbai.
Vithanage can follow Tamil, though he is not fluent with the language, and the latest venture is bilingual, Tamil and Sinhala, screened with English sub-titles.
The 90-minute film, which is yet to be launched in Sri Lanka, was first shown at the Montreal film festival in 2012. Ever since, it has been travelling to various film festivals around the world, including the 2012 India International Film Festival at Goa, where the lead actress, Anjali Patil won the best actress award.
The story of the film was inspired by a novella of Russian author, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Meek One, which actually deals with masculinity and consumerism. With You, Without You is basically a story about the impossibility of love set in the backdrop of the war, he told The New Indian Express.
Vithanage’s films have never been political or controversial. His first film was a murder mystery and another film Akasa Kusum was dubbed into Tamil as Akaya Pookal.