Prasanna Vithanage, a celebrated filmmaker from Sri Lanka, clinched the prestigious Kim Ji-seok Award for Best Film at the 2023 Busan International Film Festival for his masterpiece, ‘Paradise’. The movie, featuring eminent Sri Lankan actors Shyam Fernando and Mahendra Perera in lead roles, alongside Roshan Mathew and Darshana Rajendran, delves into the unforeseen events encountered by a vacationing couple.Madras Talkies, under the guidance of the renowned director Mani Ratnam, proudly presented ‘Paradise’ to the festival audience. This exceptional creation will also grace the screens at the Jio Mami Mumbai Film Festival in the Icon category, celebrating the talent of South Asian directors.
Prasanna Vithanage holds a unique distinction, being the sole director to have secured the ‘Netpak’ award for the best films in Asian cinema a remarkable five times. Reflecting on this achievement, he fondly remembered Kim Ji-seok, the person who initially chose his film for the Busan Film Festival 28 years ago. Vithanage expressed gratitude towards the film’s producer, Anto Chittilapally, the production company Newton Cinema, the film’s presenter Mani Ratnam, Madras Talkies, and the entire Paradise crew.Mani Ratnam, a stalwart of Madras Talkies and a highly respected director, emphasized that films like ‘Paradise’ come to life through reimagining male-female relationships and reinterpreting legends in paradisiacal lands, where socio-economic instability is a recurring theme. The film’s cinematography, skillfully handled by Rajeev Ravi, adds to its allure. The music for ‘Paradise’, a true cinematic gem, has been masterfully composed by Sreekar Prasad.