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A worthwhile cinematic creation balancing social phenomena and emotion

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Bullet Proof Children Movie Review

Bullet Proof Children (or Vedi Novadina Lamai in Sinhala) marks the second feature film by Indika Ferdinando, known for his previous work Hogana Pokuna. Ferdinando consistently delves into the social dilemmas of Sri Lanka, a society veering off course. However, he always manages to entertain his audience. In both of his films, the portrayal of drunkards underscores the pathetic state of the lower depths of our society. These individuals are innocents devoid of any cultural life, having been uprooted from their heritage. Dayananda Gunawardana, the renowned dramatist, sheds light on this matter in his book Änanda Javanika, revealing how the colonial rulers facilitated the spread of drunkenness among the innocent by providing free arrack.

While Ferdinando’s first film centered around school children, his second film is restricted to a private bus journey to Anuradhapura. On board, there is a group of school children who, after participating in an inter-island music competition and placing as 2nd runner-ups, are consumed by anger. Additionally, a young couple flees home aimlessly—the girl hailing from an upper-middle-class family while the boy lacks any significant background. Traveling alongside them are two drunkards making their way from town to their village. Also among the passengers is a magician and a preacher who, in reality, is a coward.

These diverse characters create a drama filled with both joy and suspense. Amidst it all, a cricket fan remains preoccupied with the ongoing World Cup match, a detail to note as the events take place during the 1996 tournament. As the journey unfolds, the characters interact, impressing upon the audience the filmmaker’s skill in balancing a theme that embodies both the depths of social phenomena and the emotions of humor and tears.

Although the shadow of the dramatist looms throughout, the filmmaker demonstrates an awareness of his limitations. Bullet-proof Children emerges as a worthwhile cinematic creation, presenting a new avenue for both filmgoers and filmmaking alike.


Thursday, June 15, 2023 – 01:00

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