Prasanna Vithanage’s Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka (With You Without You) is a simple story that is wound around the most complex of circumstances. Man meets woman, finds her attractive, pursues her, marries her, but eventually, love is never enough to satiate the needs of a hungry soul that seeks answers. The film highlights the scars of the Civil War in Sri Lanka that lasted 30 years and left many homes and people shattered at the end of it. Having witnessed this carnage from very close quarters, the two characters, SarathSiri and Selvi, emerge. A twist of fate brings the two star-crossed lovers together. As the story unfolds, you find how the two, without speaking too much can communicate their emotions effectively. One could easily summarize that theirs was a relationship of convenience that became a much deeper bond as time passed.
Selvi, played by Anjali Patil, does a fabulous job at playing her part as the dutiful wife who couldn’t really be the wife that her husband had wanted her to be. Having amassed adulations and won awards for her role in the film, Anjali Patil is surely someone to look out for. There is no glam quotient that film brings along with it. It’s set in one house, and the best view you get is that outside the window, the beautiful green vegetation below the dark monsoon clouds set the mood of the film furthermore.
While the direction and the camera work seems to falter at certain places, there is little that you can complain about. The film leaves you with a hollow feeling, that of deep remorse. This, perhaps, happens when the characters manage to talk to you and connect your soul with their virtual ones. Based on the short story, The Meek One, by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Prasanna Vithanage manages to successfully use it metaphorically to show the aftermath of the Sri Lankan war.
The point of contention is knowing how the lead characters have been left scarred, with nothing at the end of the wrath, that they look for ways to empower themselves in one way or another. And that pursuit often pushes the two never to profess their love completely. Post-which, regret engulfs the relationship, once again taking away whatever they had acquired in the first place.
Why should you watch this film?
The film leaves you feeling distanced from reality as it has connected with you at a deeper level. With great performances and perfect emotions, this is a film that mustn’t be missed.