It was widely published that the makers of the movie Sri Siddhartha Gautama spent a colossal sum of money on the epic film but I am confused as to what areas in the film the money was spent. Film looks like a low budget miscarriage of a movie rather than an epic movie. I regret the decision I took to watch the movie though I expected this type of a disappointment after seeing the list of names of the movie cast in the papers.
First, the movie was directed on a very weak script. Though it is mentioned at the beginning of the film that the script was approved by a large number of learned Buddhist dignitaries including monks, the script has many a flaw distorting the accepted story of the Prince Siddhartha on one hand and by creating a mess of a story without a natural flow on the other hand. I am not sure who to be blamed for this, either the script writer or the so called high class advisers.
There is no flow in the story which has a lot of abrupt incidents that are not connected well, similar to Professor Sunil Ariyarathna’s Kristhu Charithaya. Now that our filmmakers have made mockeries of both the Christ’s story and that of the Prince Siddhartha, they are left with only few other religious leaders’ life stories to mess up with.
Makeup and clothes don’t look attractive and I am curious if the clothes for the movie were bought at Pettah cloth sellers to cut the budget. The clothes don’t look suitable for a royal family at all.
So is the music of the movie. The background music is disastrous and there is not a single song in the movie that became a hit showing how poor the music composer was. Same can be said about the amateurish dance items of the film. I didn’t see the beauties that were in the history books in the royal dancing troupes. They were ordinary women with very poor dancing skills.
I don’t see the director taking any advantage by bringing second part of the movie up to the Prince’s renunciation of worldly pleasures and leaving the palace forward and then coming back to the birth of the prince.
Camera angles are so hopeless that they cut off heads of the main characters in many scenes. The same can be said about the weak lighting of the movie. The whole movie was filmed in darkness. Even the day scenes were not bright enough.
I don’t see a reason why the producers drafted in Indian cast for the film as there are enough local actors to make this disaster without the help of the Indian actors. Indians don’t add any value to the movie. The Indian actor who casts Siddhartha looks very lethargic, passive and dull and I wonder what happened to the handsome Prince Siddhartha who was supposed to be majestic, yet humble. It is a shame that Yashodhara had to be imported from India as if we can’t find someone prettier with better acting skills. Bringing in Ranjan Ramanayake has not damaged the film as much as I expected it to be. He doesn’t age throughout the film as in his real life. Prince Nanda, casted by Roshan Ranawana is in yet another childish performance as he has done throughout his career. Other Sri Lankan cast like Jeevan Kumaratunga, Wilson Gunarathne, Edwin Ariyadasa, Buddhdasa Vithanachchi, etc. hasn’t done any justice to the movie or the director hasn’t been able to get what is needed from them. Devadaththa, casted by an Indian actor is the only decent performance in the movie. It would have been better if he casted Siddhartha’s role as he has the right body built of a strong prince.
In most of the scenes where Indian actors perform, the dialogues are heard as if dubbed for a stupid Indian teledrama to Sinhala. The voices are so unnatural and they are breaking words in sentences in wrong places.
The makeup artists have failed to depict a natural pregnant Queen Maya. They have made her belly look like a football. Even at the scene of the childbirth the sal tree doesn’t have a single flower. In the story we had learnt that seven lotus flowers were bloomed in the first seven steps of the prince but this is not so in the film. One can see this scene done superbly in the Hollywood movie Little Buddha where Keanu Reevesplays Siddhartha. The director could have taken some good help from this movie.
The death of Kanthaka, the horse is very unnatural. The director hasn’t been able to do even simple things like these. Rather than taking the camera to the story, the director harps on too much discussion within the palace walls making the movie boring.
Fight scenes are so ridiculous at the so called showing off of the talents of the prince so much so that I feel like they are the scenes of a Blackadder movie.
Not showing Prince Rahula while he was the main focus of the scene is another big flaw. Nobody sees any reasons of doing that.
There is no excitement or climax at any stage of the film. This is one of the most boring films I have ever watched.
My friend Wasantha Samarakkody who helped me by giving his feedback on the movie says that he could make a better film than the director of Siddhartha.
Since I cannot be as harsh as Sri Siddhartha Gautama – A Mockery of Buddhism, I tried my best to keep a polite language while writing my review though I was even angrier than The Angry Cinephile who wrote this wonderful review.