An emotional tribute to Teachers – Guru Panduru

November, 29, 2017

It is a sharp analysis of a child’s mind. It triggers a deep discussion about the role of a teacher. It is a perfect example of transforming society. It is one video everyone should watch.

A story spanning many years, from childhood to marriage, has been aesthetically portrayed within 5 minutes. By the end of the heart-touching 300 seconds, you are in tears. Not a single word is uttered by the characters, but the emotions are intense. If you still do not know what this is about, it is the video ‘Guru Panduru’ which has been trending highly on YouTube and Social Media lately.

The story is about a mischievous little girl, who creates trouble all the time. Initially her teacher sees her as an annoyance, but later learns of her loss; the girl has lost her parents in a tragic accident. This makes the teacher see her in a different light. She begins to show love and care for her, resulting in a turnaround of the little girl’s behavior.  She reciprocates to this love to the point that she gifts her mother’s watch – the only physical memory of her mother – to the teacher on her birthday. She sees her as a mother figure. All this is shown in flashback on the day of the student’s wedding. When the bride’s mother is called upon to the poruwa, she invites her teacher to take the place, the only mother she knows.

Based on a true story, this amazing video was a brainchild of Rainco which was produced in association with ‘Guru Prathibha Prabha’, a national event which pays tribute to teachers from across the island, who have gone out of the way to uplift their students. As one of the main sponsors, Rainco has been able to capture the true meaning of the role of a teacher in this video.

The challenge of bringing such a sensitive story to life was taken up by young director Chamath Paranawidana. “It was Deepika Nuwan Samaraweera from the Rainco Team who told me the true story, on which the video is based. We faced many challenges; narrowing down the story to 5 minutes, doing justice to the story and the time we had to complete the video were some of them,” commented Chamath.

The creativity of the video is enhanced by the talented performance of the actresses, who are not popular faces. “We wanted to make this video unique by bringing in new faces. We found Meleesha Jayaratne, who plays the student, from Nalaka Swarnathileke’s Academy. The role of the teacher is played by Sewwandi Ranasinghe, a lawyer by profession, who has experience in stage drama. The story is developed around the acting of these two persons. Another challenge was to find a bride whose features matched the girl. All the artists were so immersed in their characters and the story that when we were shooting the wedding scene, the tears came naturally. It was successful from the very first take,” reminisced Chamath.

The videography was handled by Nadishka Ranasinghe, while Dhammika Hewaduwatte was the Art Director, with Chaminda Lakmal as his Assistant.

Viraj Harshana has successfully given life to a story which is without dialogue, through his exceptional music talent.  “I believe that the director creates the spirit of a piece of art, and the music director gives life to it. So I simply asked Viraj to give life to my visual and he did it perfectly,” added Chamath.

“I did not allow personal connections to influence this creation. I put my faith on talent, even if it was raw. I have to specially mention the support we got from the Rainco Team. Whilst they owned the concept and provided us with all necessities, they allowed me my artistic freedom. We would not have such a successful creation if it was not for that,” Chamath stated further.

Speaking about the reaction he has received for the video, he continued, “I studied global teaching methodologies prior to making the video, which gave me a lot of insight. Many teachers who watched it told me that the method of disciplining the child, shown in the video is successful. Those who viewed it as a work of art have commented that we have touched the chords of Indian cinema.”

A sensitive moment has been nurtured in a rich creative environment and resulted in a true tribute to teachers, and presented to the world by Rainco.