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Lankans to get their own 'Bridge on River Kwai'  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 30/08/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) KITULGALA: Its detonation is one of the most iconic scenes in movie history.

Now 57 years after it was blown to smithereens authorities in #SriLanka plan to rebuild the 'Bridge on the River Kwai' to assuage the anger among locals over a controversial dam project.

While the World War II epic was supposedly set in Japanese-held Burma (present-day Myanmar) it was mostly filmed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) between 1956 and 1957 less than a decade after independence from Britain.

The final scene in which a British officer played by Alec Guinness blows up a rail bridge that his fellow prisoners of war have just built was shot at sleepy Kitulgala two hours' drive from the capital Colombo.

In recent years the village has become a magnet for adrenalin junkies who can white-water raft down the river whose real name is the Kelani.

So when Sri Lanka's Electricity Board unveiled planto dam the river as part of an 82 million hydro-electric project there was widespread dismay among locals whose livelihoods depend on tourism. But in a bid to soften the blow the electricity board has announced that it will pay for the reconstruction of a new wooden bridge built on the original's foundations to attract fans of the Oscar-winning movie.


'We have offered to rebuild the bridge at the same location' the board's chief project engineer Kamal Laksiri told AFP on a visit to Kitulgala which is around 90 kilometers (56 miles) north-east of Colombo.

'Today there is no bridge only a few concrete posts remain. But we have looked at drawings and pictures of the bridge and we will recreate it.'

The explosion scene in which a train packed with Japanese VIPs derails and then plunges into the river below had to be shot twice in 1957 after a cameraman failed to give the correct signal to director David Lean.
 
 


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