“The Wind Bird” (Sulang Kirilli) is the debut film of Inoka Sathyangani. Its story unfolds through dream and reality of the central character Rathie, an unmarried garment worker, who gets pregnant by her lover. The film opens with a scene where Rathie enters a medical center to obtain her pregnancy test report and the test proves to be positive. With the report in her hand she attempts to cross the road. While crossing the road she starts to dream through which she gets to know the realities of the society and its value system that are around her – a reality at once harsh and cruel.
Rathie comes to know that her boy friend, a young soldier, Santha, is a married man. What would she do now? Should she abort her three months’ old pregnancy or should she commit suicide? She finds herself in a mental turmoil: she has no right to abort according to the penal code in Sri Lanka, nor can she bring up an illegitimate child without a father in a male dominated society. The unholy gaps in the law and the social values lead a young woman into a dilemma she could never get out of.
“The Wind Bird” thus questions the laws created by a patrilineal society. While dream-crossing the road she escapes a near fetal accident. The shock awakens her from her dream and on her way to the hospital she sees a wind bird blown away from a child’s hand. She catches it and hands it over to the child which brings the film to an end and we get a symbolic message. The wind bird moves in the direction of the wind but the child holds the bird away from the wind and blows it in the opposite direction. In the ultimate analysis, human destiny is choice and not a chance. The sensitive yet bold acting of Damitha Abirathin as Sathie brings the message closer to our hearts.
© FIPRESCI 2004