Saturday, 26 June 2004  
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Sinhala cinema takes new direction with Adaraneeya Wassanaya :

A novel experience for young film lovers

Emerging film maker Senesh Dissanaike Bandara is determined to pursue his own art of film making in his quest for establishing a novel cinema that would really cater to the audience.

"I never wanted to be a carbon-copy of any film director or to make a copy of any film," Senesh stresses in an interview with the Stage and Screen.

Instead, he has come up with his maiden film Adaraneeya Wassanaya (Love in Autumn) which he believes would cater to a gap which had been existing in the local film arena for many years.

"I saw that Sinhala films were not directed at youth and there was a huge gap," he explained.

However, Senesh admitted frankly that he was not the only film maker making films for young generation. "I am not the only one who thought about young adults.

In 50 years of Sinhala cinema, there had been some films for this group, but unlike in other countries, there was no stream of such films."

Senesh was always ready to face challenges. "I never saw making films for youth as a big challenge. However, when making a film for youth, it has to be original and authentic.

Also you must have serious thoughts when you are making a film for specific group."

Making a film was a dream cherished by Senesh for a long-time. "I had a dream of becoming a film maker. If I am making a film, it has to be seriously done by myself."

Senesh was a bit critical of the local film makers' attitude. "We are always trying to make films for the whole family. It is not quite a wise thing to do."

Senesh attributed this to the lack of a proper audience for the cinema in Sri Lanka. "People have other entertainment such as television, video etc. So, the biggest challenge is not becoming a film maker but having a healthy audience. Actually, you should have a movie running without failure at least for two weeks."

He stressed that in order to become a successful film maker, one should clearly understand the audience. "My films are people to enjoy and I don't use my films to preach the audience."

"It does not mean that I am not concerned about the country's social requirements. I am not a messenger and I don't believe in giving moral or messages through films. I don't want to make opinions from films."

He was also satisfied about the acting of newcomers to the silver screen such as Chathurika Peiris and Roshan Rajapakse who are playing the lead roles.

"They are ready to take any experience. They may be less experienced - but they did a good job. Also, I don't believe in the word called "amateur."

Replying to a question on the success of the film, Senesh said he was not still in a position to measure the success. "I am still experiencing. On the other hand, it is a myth that whatever I produce will be accepted by the audience."

Senesh also explained that the Sri Lankan audience was very influential. "They know what is good and bad. The audience is awaiting new things. They don't want something stale. The audience is concerned whether they are treated properly."

He was also of the view that the success of Adaraneeya Wassanaya could be measured from his second film. "To see whether I have successfully addressed the audience, I need to do a second film. However, I am happy that the Sri Lankan audience is caring for something creative, honest, authentic and serious."


Play House presents:

"Walas Pavula"

The latest children's theatre production 'Walas Pavula' (Bear Family) presented by the Lanka Children's and Youth Theatre Organisation (LCYTO), better known as Play House in Kotte, the leading children's play producer in Sri Lanka, will be on board again on June 27 at the Lumbini Theatre and on July 4, at Panadura Town Hall.

Based on the fairy tale "The Three Bears and Golldilocks", the script has been developed adopting it to suit the local audience by veteran children's playwright and theatre director Mrs. Somalatha Subasinghe who is also the founder chief of 'Play House' in Kotte. 'Walas Pavula' is directed and choreographed by Dr. Chandana Aluthge, an artiste of the new generation groomed at the Play House in Kotte.

On June 27 'Walas Pavula' will be staged at 3.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. at the Lumbini Theatre in aid of Mystic Rose Poor Relief Fund while on July 4 at Panadura Town Hall with the courtesy of Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., the manufactures of 'Munchee', who will have its Munchee scholarship awards for needy students too at the same venue on that day.

Chandana, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Colombo, has been one of the senior members of 'Play House'. An actor, vocalist, dancer, lighting designer and now a director, he has also excelled in many other aspects relating to stage productions throughout his career as a theatre artiste.

'Walas Pavula' is the debut play directed by Chandana and it is a musical and the production style of the play has been developed so as to give the whole family an aesthetic journey of entertainment. Tharupathi Munasinghe has composed music for the play.

Walas Pavula cast comprises Wishvajith Gunasekera, Sanjaya Hettiarachchi, Chamila Peiris, Prasanna Mahagamage, Niranjala Manjaree, Sharmain Gunaratne, Suresh Fernando, Mayura Kanchana, Nayomi Gunaratne, Thilokanee Gunasekera, Chamila Priyanka, Dinuki de Silva, Pramudi Karunaratne, Hiran Abeysekera, Ishara Wickramasinghe, Champika Kannangara and a number of new actors trained at Play House in Kotte.


Dance recital

Kalasuri Padmini Dahanayake Ariyadasa

"Arogya Parama Labha Nretta Pooja along with variety dance recitals by Kalasuri Padmini Dahanayake Ariyadasa will be staged tomorrow (27) at 6 pm at the Elphinstone Theatre, Maradana, in aid of the Cancer Hospital, Maharagama.

Padmini, a student of Chitrasena and Vajira under whose guidance learnt Kandyan dancing, joined Srimathi Rukmani Devi Arunidale's Kalakshethra, the College of Fine Arts Chennai in 1954 and completed her classical Bharatha Natyam Diploma Course in April, 1959, being the first Sri Lankan to have obtained a Diploma from that Institute.

Once back in Sri Lanka she had her maiden performance "Arangethram" at the Royal College Hall with the then Prime Minister Wijayananda Dahanayake, her paternal grand father as chief guest.

Joining the Education Department as an instructor of dance she worked for well over 25 years and was a visiting lecturer on Bharatanatyam at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies of the University while participating in various cultural activities and also had performed in various parts of the country. She was honoured with the Kalasuri award on May 22, 1991.

With a commendable experience at her command she began her own institute "Shri Padma Ranga", school of dancing in 1982 and she had presented 73 Arangethrams of her students.

Padmini, married to L. L. Ariyadasa, a senior Executive of Cold Stores, is now a proud mother of Ms. Rangana Navodini Udayakumara, who is also a diploma holder in Bharatha Natyam from Rukmani Devi Arunidale's Kalakshethra, the same institute, Padmini attended. Her son, Chandreen Jayawanth, domiciled in Australia, works as a Pastry Chef.

- Wiruma

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