Sri Lankan cinema took a revolutionized twist with screening of Jackson Anthoney’s epic ‘Abba’ a big budgeted film that went down our own rich history. Then several award winning directors followed the footsteps and engaged in massive projects to explores our roots and project Sri Lanka’s rich cultural traditions to the world. ‘Mahindagamanaya’ and ‘Kusa Paba’ are the latest films which got tremendous attraction of the Sri Lankan movie lovers. ‘The God King’ and ‘ Veera Puran Appu’ were two of the old hits in the history of Sri Lankan cinema based on historic epics. They all proved one common fact; films based on historic epics have never failed to enthrall the audience. Packed with action, battle scenes and drama such films have the uncanny touch to leave a ‘historic impact’ in the industry.
Sugath Samarakoon’s epic ‘Vijaya Kuweni’ – Rejuvenating of Kuveni the Yakka Princess
Well known playwright and actor Sugath Samarakoon is the latest artiste to take to the task with his epic film ‘Vijaya Kuweni’. Samarakoon well-known for his controversy ridden plays like ‘Uthure Rahula Himi’ and ‘Commando Diyasena’ in 1980s has returned to the limelight with this massive cinematic venture, a story of the ‘Mahawamsa. It is only after doing an in-depth analysis for seven years on the Vijay-Kuveni story that Samarakoon started work on the project to present the injustice done to Kuveni.
“I don’t think the Mahavamsa tells the real story about our ancestors. Ven Mahanama thera does not tell the real story of Kuveni. For some reason or other, he has buried the true details and tried to highlight the heroics of king Vijaya. Kuweni was branded a traitor because she helped Vijaya capture the island. However it was Vijaya who betrayed her in the end because his friends and advisors requested him to bring an Aryan princess to bear fair skinned children as future heirs to the throne,”
Filming was done in Anuradhapura, Rajanganaya, Gampaha and Pilkuththuva. Roger Seniviratne plays the role of King Vijaya while the Dulani Anuradha of Aba fame gives life to Kuveni. Minister Mervin Silva portrays the role of Kuveni’s father.
Synopsis of “Vijaya-Kuveni” Story:
Vijaya was the eldest son of king Sinhabahu (Man with Lion arms) and his Queen Sinhasivali of Lata Kingdom in India. He Landed on Sri Lanka with 700 followers in 543 B.C. He met Yaksha Clan spinster Kuveni who had been undergoing a bad period since her birth. She was engaged in textile weaving, when she met Vijaya. She and Vijaya engaged in a dual-war and lost the battle. Ultimately, she becomes the mistress and the wife of Vijaya. She bore him two children, named Disala and Jeevahattha. After seven years, there was a conspiracy instigated by Vijaya’s advisers and ministers, stating that Kuveni was a human flesh eater of the Yaksha clan, and that her children will succeed to the throne. They instigated VIjaya to get princess from India. Marry her and get rid of Kuveni and her two children.
Vijaya Kuweni Film Cast:
Roger Senevirathna does the main role as Vijaya. Young upcoming actress Dulani Anuradha who was introduced to cinema by Jackson Anthony in a similar historic epic acts as Kuweni. Cletus Mendis does the Upathissa’s role. Buddhadasa Vithanarchchi, Anura Dharma Siriwardane, Susil Perera, Vasanthi Ranwala, Rupun Ranadeera, Amindi Priya Sanjana, Namal Rathnayaka, Thilak Kumara Rathnayaka, Wilson Karunarathna, Nadeeka Gunasekara, Gamini Jayalath and importantly Minister Mervin Silva comprise the rest of the cast.
Vijaya Kuweni is a production by Gayan Ranadeera. Music is by Nadeeka Guruge. Art direction and Costumes have been done by Dhammika Priyantha and Priyan Anura Sri in this historic epic. Ajantha Mahantharachchi is the fight director.
“We had a civilized culture even before Vijaya came to Sri Lanka. Archeological evidence reveals facts about a developed civilization many years before Vijaya and group set foot in the island .Kuveni’s name denotes that she is a tan skinned woman. She was from the Yakka tribe. Sri Lankan history comprised four tribes according to their religious practices. They are the Yakka, Naga, Raksha and Deva communities. We have veiled our past due to foreign influence. History is distorted for their benefit. The story does reveal many things that people did not know before. Some elements of the plot may create controversy but that will serve as a good cause. It will create a discourse about our roots. People will sit up and take note.”
Following are few images from Vijaya Kuweni film. We will publish the trailers of the film soon.
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