daivaya – The Rebirth of Sri Lankan Spiritual Cinema from Film Director S.M.C. Silva

Admin | 14 Jan, 2021 01:03PM | Leave a comment
Article by Ravithree Fernando

Long ago my seeya used to tell me an old Vedda saying, ‘the moon will long echo the cries of the lonely wolf’. Although for years I struggled to understand what he said, I know I liked the way he said it. But now, with the debut of S.M.C. Silva’s film daivaya, I feel I have begun to understand. The moon is the universe, and the wolf is the lone artist that cries out to it. Thus, it is my privilege to announce the new wolf of Sri Lankan Cinema, S.M.C. Silva.

Proving to be a powerful entry into the realm of cinema, every second of daivaya leaves an indelible mark on your spirit. While being a film with no dialogue, it reveals so much about the worlds we all harbour inside and the worlds we live upon. daivaya takes on the role that other fine art pieces take, such as Dudok De Wit’s The Red Turtle or Monet’s series Water Lillies; whereby it reflects the nature of life within the piece, while inducing you on a spiritual voyage.

However, it is difficult to truly quantify the Director-Writer-Editor of this piece, as his career to date is now as mysterious as daivaya itself. Previously, he has forged a successful name in the UK through directing commercials, content and music videos for esteemed brands and icons ranging from Virat Kohli, Penguin Books through to BBC Musicians. However, there is no more of that art seen attached to his name anymore. For now – there is only daivaya. Thus, even the concept of S.M.C. has been rebirthed!

Likewise, these themes of rebirth and the cycle of life are ones that perhaps linger in the echoes of daivaya, as Cinema LK Editor Nisanka Weheraduwa hypothesized upon viewing. In the same vein of Buddhist teachings, even a rather pertinent crew member on daivaya proposed to S.M.C., that while watching it he felt Buddha and Yashodara’s time as squirrels. Furthermore the piece resonates with him so strongly that he feels it is a cry to action as it invokes a modern Pāramitā, that being ‘saving the planet’. If you are wondering which crew member would infer such transcendental and spiritual themes, it is none other than the modern legend of Sri Lankan composition – Dinesh Subasinghe. With serenity and might in equal measures, Dinesh truly created a score for the ages! A score that magnificently evokes effervescent and metaphysical themes!

However, whether these are messages of which the Director S.M.C. intended for daivaya to be received with, it is difficult to know. As when I asked S.M.C. as to the meaning behind daivaya and the core themes, he only returned with cryptic and curious volleys:
‘When you gaze into the heart of the abyss, what stares back at you? For you see, the meaning behind daivaya is the meaning that each single viewer decides. I am not here to explain the art and what it means. That, is up to the viewer... All I can truly say, is in order to create such a piece, two things were required. The first, the finest of hands to craft upon it – and for that my gratitude forever lies with Dinesh Subasinghe and James McManus. The second tenet being, the truest of hearts breathe the truest of energies. So what you perceive comes from the truest callings of my heart. The truest Sri Lanka has forever held my heart, holds it as I speak and will forever hold it even as I eventually become part of its earth’.

Well, S.M.C. surely offered some more morsels to ruminate on further – however I know one thing from his gripping rebirth as an artist with daivaya. There is a mystical spirituality to this piece that incorporates his proud Sri Lankan ancestry - as he is a direct descendant of the great Veera Puran Appu. In addition, he delicately blends surrealist visuals and a most curious narrative, which is supported by his diverse and artistically sharp crew. S.M.C. has set the tone for his career, and we eagerly await daivaya’s release to the world. Alas for now, daivaya is currently beginning its worldwide film festival run, however know this much – S.M.C. will be releasing more art through the years, as he continues to carve out his legacy through cinema.

While my seeya is no longer with us, I know that like myself, he will be eagerly watching and awaiting for the next time the lonely wolf cries out to the moon.