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Sarasaviya: celestial honours for screen stars

GATHERING all stars of the local silver screen under one roof, the 30th Sarasaviya festival considered as the "local Oscars" was held on October 27, marking yet another milestone in the local cinema.


Premier Mahinda Rajapakse who was the chief guest with stars.

This momentous festival was sponsored by the Hatton National Bank (HNB) and the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC).

This year's Sarasaviya film festival has been specially titled as "Divine Honours for the Propagation of Cinema" by the organisers.

A unique feature of this year's festival was that the cash prizes presented to the award winners have been doubled.


Best actor Jackson Anthony and Best Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe with their awards.

Twenty two films screened last year were selected for this year's competition in the festival under several main categories such as Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor/ Actress, Best Supporting Actor/ Actress, Best producer etc.

Altogether 33 awards were presented this year for the artistes who excelled on last year's silver screen. Among new addition to the festival was an award presented to a pioneer in the local Tamil films.

The first Sarasaviya film festival was held in 1964 at Asoka film hall in Colombo and the film " Gamperaliya" was selected as the Best Film for that year.


Buddhi Keerthisena receives award for the Best Producer for Mille Soya.

Speaking on the Sarasaviya Awards, ANCL Chairman Janadasa Pieris said: "Lake-House as one of the country's leading print media institutions has undertook several key events in the country such as Vesak festival and the Poson festival in Mihintale for many years.

The Sarasaviya Film Festival is one of the foremost happenings in our annual event diary. This event is not only limited to Lake House. We consider it a national art event".


Wishwanath Buddhika Keerthisena receiving the Best Director award for Mille Soya.

Sarasaviya is one of the oldest film publications in the region and has a wide readership in Sri Lanka. The Sarasaviya Film Festival has become an eagerly awaited event in the film calendar.

The Sarasaviya Film Awards ceremony is not a ground breaking film awards ceremony in this country. There had been many more film awards ceremonies before and after it.


Best Supporting Actor Mahendra Perera and actress Grace Ariyawimal.

But the Sarasaviya awards ceremony has been able to gather much more profundity and attraction than any one of them. it has become the nation's greatest cultural event in the true sense of the word.

The honour and prestige of film awards gain added gloss due to the film stars joining them rather than ideologies. The Academy awards and India's Filmfare and Screen awards are such examples.

At the beginning the Sarasaviya Film Awards Ceremony was based on the structure of the Filmfare Awards Ceremony but it emphasised on film star quality from its inception.

That is why it was able to safeguard its identity despite various criticisms.

The Sarasaviya film awards ceremony began in 1964 at a time when the local cinema was trying to shed its South Indian orientation and establish an indigenous identity. Although the Sarasaviya Film Awards Ceremony is 40 years old it has not lost its usual glamour or quality one bit upto date.

Many years have lapsed since the local cinema has shed its past profundity and star centred nature.

Just because a film receives rare international recognition or breaks box office rewards it is sheer ignorance to think that the Sinhala cinema has gone back to its golden era.

In this era of globalisation when we have become partners of a global village and world renowned films are sold on the wayside in DVD form such a golden age would remain a sheer thing of the past.

However, even at this juncture there is a high level of interest about the Sarasaviya Film Awards Ceremony.

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Produced by Lake House Copyright 2003 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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