Friday, January 25, 2008

"Akasa Kusum" Completes Second Shooting Schedule

Director Prasanna Vithanage and his crew successfully completed schedule two on 'Akasa Kusum' on Tuesday, with photography taking place in Nugegoda town and at the Stace Watta slum dwellings. The shooting schedule for the film remains on track, with all the necessary sequences being lensed in the given time frame.
Nimmi Harasgama and Samanali Fonseka played Priya and Bunty, who move into a small house in a thickly populated area. Their relationship is developed further in those scenes, which were of a highly charged, emotional nature.
Shooting began at 7 a.m. in Nugegoda and ended by approximately 8 p.m. in Stace Watta. The third and final schedule is set to begin on 5 March, and will comprise the bulk of the film's sequences, featuring Malani Fonseka as Sandhya Rani and Dilhani Asokamala as Shalika. Damayanthi Fonseka also plays a supporting role as Rani's sister, while Jayani Senanayake plays her faithful maid.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Respected English Theatre Vet Cameos in "Akasa Kusum"

Veteran English theatre actor, producer, designer, choreographer and director Jerome de Silva made a rare foray into film acting today, taking a small cameo in "Akasa Kusum." De Silva, currently working on a production of Alan Parker's 'Bugsy Malone' with his Workshop Players' junior group, took time off rehearsals to play a doctor confronting Priya (Nimmi Harasgama) with shocking news. Director Prasanna Vithanage directed de Silva in a subtle performance, giving onus to nuance and internalization rather than open confrontation in two short but sensitive scenes. Despite nearly three decades of being on the stage, this is de Silva's first role in a film. Also shot today were further hospital scenes, bringing to an end to these sequences in the film.
On the previous day, more hospital sequences featuring Priya and two scenes on the rooftop of the karaoke lounge Priya works in were filmed. One sequence featured Priya alone, while another emotional scene had Priya and Bunty (Samanali Fonseka) facing a tough life decision.
The second in the film's three staggered shooting schedules nears completion with one more day of shooting in the Stace Watta slums. The crew takes a six week breather following that to come back to a bulk of the schedule in March.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Akasa Kusum in Hospital, Dorm

The first of three hospital scenes in "Akasa Kusum" was shot at Kamkaru Sevana in Ratmalana on Friday. A room at the social service and arts center hall was convincingly converted into an abortion hospital and a girls' dormitory for the two sequences lensed today. The first of the scenes took place in an overcrowded girls' dormitory where Priya stays with the other karaoke hostesses, cramped together in too few beds. The scene emphasizes the friendship between Bunty (Samanali Fonseka) and Priya, while highlighting the squalid conditions in which the karaoke workers live.
Following this sequence, which took a whole morning to shoot, the abortion hospital sequence was put on celluloid with cast and crew working till 11 p.m. This scene featured Priya, Bunty and a host of extras. Two more hospital scenes are on the cards, with three more days left on the film's second schedule. This schedule would serve to complete 95% of Harasgama's scenes in the movie. The next day (Saturday) would see the crew first picking up on a previous scene, with Priya bursting out onto a rooftop and Priya and Bunty in an emotional scene at the same venue. Another hospital scene featuring Priya is also on schedule for Saturday.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Last Long Night

"Akasa Kusum" dug in on its final overnight shoot on schedule #2, with the crew and cast working into Wednesday morning, as the night club sequences were finished, and a fresh scene just outside the club was filmed.
The night's shoot was notable as it consisted the only scene in which all three of the film's main stars, Malani Fonseka, Dilhani Asokamala and Nimmi Harasgama appear. In the scene, Sandhya (Fonseka) and Shalika (Asokamala) encounter Priya (Harasgama) in the shady night spot Priya works at. Also in the scene is Bunty, played by Samanali Fonseka.
The crack of dawn sequence shot early Wednesday had Sandhya and Shalika looking for Priya, only to have a karaoke hostess tell them she has no idea what they're talking about.
The film will continue shooting for five more days, following which photography will commence in March following a six week hiatus.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fight Club

More interior social club sequences were shot in the second overnight shooting day at the H2O nightclub. Scenes featuring Nimmi Harasgama as Priya and Samanali Fonseka as Bunty took place, with the highlight being a fight scene involving Priya, Bunty and an unruly set of club patrons.
This dusk-to-dawn shooting day was not as gruelling as the previous 24 hour schedule, and the scenes and set ups went off smoothly. Director Prasanna Vithanage brought precision to the direction of the scenes, placing a certainty of what he wanted in the scenes filmed galvanizing the crew and cast.
The next day's shooting will feature Malani Fonseka and Harasgama in one of the few scenes they have together.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Long Day's Journey Into Night

It was a grueling 24-hour shoot day Sunday as the second shooting schedule for "Akasa Kusum" took off at the H2O nightclub in Union Place in central Colombo. Using the nightclub's natural ambience, director Vithanage re-created the atmosphere of a social club, complete with comfort women for the scenes involving Priya, played by award-winning actress Nimmi Harasgama. Priya's mysterious connection to former film star Sandhya Rani slowly unravels, with Harasgama playing the role with depth and emotional intensity. Also in the sequences was Bunty, played by Samanali Fonseka, Priya's best friend at the club.
Beginning at 7 a.m. with outdoor scenes involving Malani Fonseka, the crew moved indoors at midday, and stuck there till 7 a.m. Monday morning, when an exhausted but happy director and crew walked out into the crisp sunrise of a Colombo morning. Day two begins at 5 p.m. at the same venue, with a 12-hour dusk to dawn schedule on the cards. Harasgama and Fonseka, with a host of minor characters and extras return to H2O for the four scenes that will be shot tonight.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Akasa Kusum" Set to Shoot Nightclub, Hospital Scenes in Second Schedule.

After a 12-day hiatus, the cast and crew of "Akasa Kusum" will begin working the second shooting schedule beginning Sunday, 13 January 2008. Shooting will progress for 8 days, ending on 21 January. The scenes being shot will mainly feature Nimmi Harasgama (star of Vithanage's previous film "Ira Madiyama") as karaoke bar hostess Priya.
Meanwhile, the rushes of the previous shooting schedule were processed at Prasad Labs in Chennai, and brought back to great satisfaction, mainly from director and D.O.P. The scenes showed wonderful lighting and beautifully judged scenarios, with the faces of the main players being strongly highlighted.
The second "Akasa Kusum" shooting schedule will end on 21 January 2008, following which it will pick up again in March. During the month of February, director Prasanna Vithanage plans on editing and dubbing the sequences already shot.