Saho focuses on youth and campus life | Sunday Observer

Saho focuses on youth and campus life

23 April, 2023

Saho - The Comrade, a film about four university students named Sandu, Tharu, Rathu, and Hiru, is now being screened in theatres islandwide. The film focuses on youth and life on the campus. Viewers will witness love, friendship and the fight for social justice in the lives of these students and how they find solutions to their trials. We interviewed Dasun Pathirana who plays Tharu.

Q: What kind of feedback have you received from viewers?

A: This film is different from other films I have been in. It is a different concept based on a novel by Prof. Ariyaratne Athugala. So the responses I have received so far are varying. Some have raised questions. Saho is about love, struggles and emotions in a campus setting. Prof. Athugala has based this remarkable script on his own experiences. I see this as a melodramatic film. It contains thoughts and dreams, and moves away from realism. I do not know how audiences will receive it and it’s up to them to comment on it. But I invite all those who love my work to go and watch this film.

Q: How did playing ‘Tharu’ feel? Was it easy to portray the character?

A: I have never attended university but I have a close connection to it. I have always been keen to visit universities and spend time on campus. So I started immersing myself as a university student to prepare for the role. Tharu represents the contemporary university student. His issues, efforts, struggles and love are all part of life on the campus today.

Q: What was your experience working with Prof. Athugala?

A: I had not worked with him before. I never imagined him to be such a down-to-earth and simple man. He perhaps has the best experiences in university. This immensely helped me build my character. We became close friends during this time. His TV shows are also impressive and I was fortunate to work with him. This is a different film. This is Prof. Athugala’s style. So I have portrayed Tharu based on his direction.

Q: What about those who portrayed the characters of Sandu, Rathu and Hiru, your fellow university mates in the film?

A: Rathu was played by Biyanka Amarasinghe. He is one of my close friends, so it made things much easier. Sandu was played by Dinara Punchihewa. Dinara is one of the best actresses we have and she helps other performers succeed. She expresses herself strongly. Hiru is played by Harshi Anjumala who outperformed our expectations. Sonduru Lokupothagama and Niwarthana Dewage also appeared in the film. It was their first feature picture, but they performed admirably. I feel that in the future, audiences will be able to see their talents in more projects.

The cinematography is stunning. Tharupathi Munasinghe composed the film’s score, which inspired us even more. Then there was make-up artist Lakshitha Sankalpa, and assistant director Sarath Senaratne. Only those who were credited appeared in the film as extras. Everyone else who was in the film or helped it in other manners were university students. It was an unusual event, and I believe it was one of the most distinctive and rewarding one of my career.

Q: Are there any memorable events you can recall that took place during shooting?

A: The scenes were shot at the University of Kelaniya and Riverston in Matale. I had the opportunity that no other guy in the university will ever get: I was able to visit every room in the females’ dormitory. This is because filming took place throughout the campus. Several of us got Covid while filming. We were all terrified because the pandemic was still in its early stages. So there are terrible recollections like that.

Q: What is your message to the fans of the film?

A: I believe that everyone who has attended university should watch Saho because they would feel at ease with the film. Those who are unfamiliar with the film may be perplexed and misunderstand it. However, university students and those who have studied film will benefit from the experience. We haven’t seen any films about campus life in Sri Lanka since ‘Pavuru Walalu’. The film contains a beautiful love story in which we can see the characters’ struggles and sentiments. Watch it and provide feedback. If you must criticise us, please do so after watching the film.

Q: What about your other films that are about to be released?

A: The film Seeruwen by Sudesh Wasantha Peiris. Aruna Jayawaradane’s Maria will probably hit the theatres in January next year. I am also currently preparing for a new film by Sunil Premaratne.