By his own admission filmmaker Jude Ratnam is a “traitor”. A Tamil himself, he blames the Tamil Tigers for many of the atrocities carried out in Sri Lanka’s civil war. The director told the BBC’s Nalini Sivathasan why feels the way he does.
Warning: This story contains graphic details that some readers may find upsetting.
“When the war was coming to an end, I wanted the [Tamil] Tigers to lose the fight. I wanted it to end, even if my own people had to be killed,” Ratnam says.
The war did end in 2009, with the Sri Lankan government – dominated by the Sinhalese majority – defeating the Tamil Tigers. It came at a huge cost though, with the United Nations estimating that 40,000 people, mainly Tamils, died in the final offensive.
Nearly a decade on from the end of the war, Sri Lankan filmmakers are tentatively re-examining the 26-year conflict, which killed more than 100,000 people.
A critical portrayal
Tamil directors, including Nirmalan Nadarajah and Gnanadas Kasinathar have subtly criticised the Sri Lankan government, which was accused of targeting civilians and carrying out extrajudicial killings.
But Ratnam goes further. In his film Demons in Paradise, he became the first Tamil filmmaker to openly criticise the Tamil Tigers.
“There had been other films… which portray the Tamils as just the victims, which is problematic in a conflict.”
The Tamil Tigers were notorious for carrying out suicide bombings and recruiting child soldiers, but…