Santhi Jayasekera – Filmmaker


It is truly difficult to describe who Mahatma Shanti really is: he doesn’t prefer to limit his activities by the narrow circle and tries always to beat his own record. That’s the reason he chose the way of a film director, as it is cinematography where Mahatma Shanti can express his lust for innovation, creative search and flight of fancy.

Cinema production is like life: it is full of joy, beauty, sometimes tragedy and drama, but it always brings us to the Truth. To reflect all the life miracles, a film director has to be mature enough to be able to reflect, reveal and convey the inner state of characters and also to be capable of emphasizing. Furthermore, cinema production always requires purely deep and profound knowledge in various fields of science, both arts and technology. And Mahatma Shanti belongs to that rare kind of masters of a great erudition.

Mahatma Shanti is successfully involved in the various academic and creative work in the different fields of knowledge (philosophy, history, jurisprudence, computer sciences, international safety, medicine, arts etc.). His eternal creative urge brought him to Saint Petersburg Cinema Institute in 2013. Under the brilliant guidance of his thesis adviser, Prof. Ovcharov, Santhi Jayasekera successfully established himself as a film director and a screenwriter as he created the film “True love”.  It gives us the story of the love triangle of the disabled people (blind, deaf and hard-of-hearing), but still the term “disabled” is not quite appropriate here, as they are very active young people, with the life full of creation, beauty and deep emotions.  The film reveals how intense, strong and pure the feelings can be, and that is only love that can inspire and lend wings. Love has many ways of expression in the film: it is art and music, and that in a way unite the characters. Santhi Jayasekera’s film is written in the language of love, with the notes of tragedy, and that is why it leaves the feeling of the light sadness.

“The arts technique” by Santhi Jayasekera is also worth mentioning. His attention to the details, close shot, and when just the acting is expressed in the eyes, lips, finger tips – and we all believe that the characters are deeply in love. This style has something in common with the style of another outstanding Russian film director – Andrey Tarkovsky. The film “True love” was highly evaluated by Prof. Ovcharov and was sent to the prestigious cinema festivals (Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Venice Film Festival etc.).

After the graduation from Saint Petersburg Cinema Institute in 2015, Santhi Jayasekera entered VGIK in 2016 (The Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography). Now he is working hard on his PhD at the department of the screen arts. Mahatma Shanti is planning to make a film about Cesarevitch Nicolas II, about his trip to the East and about his love to Matilda Kseshinskaya. Moreover, the film is going to be made in ballet format – that’s how Mahatma Shanti looks for the new means of the expression of eternal life values.

Mahatma Shanti also performed as an author, or as a teacher in some sense, as he has recently published his book “How to become a film director”, which can be helpful and engrossing to students as well as to beginner film directors. The book has both theoretical and practical value: in the entertaining narrative it unfolds facts, biographers and stories, and also presents a lot of practical advises based on the personal experience. In other words, this good combination makes the process of learning especially captivating. 

In fact, these cinema projects are just the beginning and the foundation of the next masterpieces. Mahatma Shanti is always in search of the new ways of expressing his ideas and building a dialogue with the audience. His style really reminds the style of the film directors of the previous century, as Mahatma Shanti appeals to the humans’ hearts and souls, for the pure and deep feelings and reveals what real love is. And that’s the way of becoming the great film director: to love and to be sincere with the audience, and the film directors of the future will be working according to this conception. But now Mahatma Shanti is the real man always ahead of the time.

By Yuliya Kalko

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