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Government Gazette

[CUlture & Arts]


Glamorous web address

Geetha at the launch

CINEMA: It was the largest ever event hosted by a single person in the history of Sri Lanka’s film industry. Leading film star Geetha Samanmali Kumarasinghe invited every single co-star that played opposite her and others that acted in supporting roles and also other star friends and colleagues to attend the event of the launch of her website at the Water’s Edge Golf Club in Battaramulla.

The event which started after a 45-minute delay opened to a packed audience to the haunting melodious rhymes of a poem by Pandith Amaradeva and Nanda Malini from the film ‘Siribo Aiya’ who directed the actress in a few of his other cinematic creations as well.

Geetha who has acted in over 80 films can boast of the privilege of having played the lead in most of them. Her directors varied from commercial giants to creative genius’ from the old school to the more contemporary directors too.

Niel Rupasinghe, H. D. Premaratne, K. A. W. Perera, Sugathapala Senarat Yapa, Sunil Ariyaratne, Tissa Abeysekara, Sumitra Peries, Udayakantha Warnakulasuriya and Mohan Niasz were some of the directors that she played among others during her long spanning career. The list mentioned here proves also that she is capable of playing a range of roles steering away from being cast as a stereotyped actress.

From a string of commercially oriented Box Office hits during the initial stages of her career, Geetha was able to step into more serious roles that called for more than the appearance of her beautiful face. Films like Pembara Madhu, Karumakkarayo, Palama Yata, Duwata Mawaka Misa, Rajya Sewaya Pinisai; etc., opened the avenues for this actress, who probably arrived at the gates of the Sinhala film industry merely attracted by its glamour, to prove her mettle as an actress who eventually saw beyond what she was initially attracted by.

It is also incorrect to state that Geetha Kumarasinghe remains the most controversial star of the local film scene during this era only surpassing the late Sandya Kumari, who in fact was amongst her many predecessors in the industry.

The actress who started her career at a very young age played opposite almost all the leading male stars up to date, ranging from Tissa Wijesurendra to Kamal Addaraarachchi.

In between were veterans such as Joe Abeywickrama, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaranatunga, Ravindra Randeniya, Sanath Gunatileke and Jackson Anthony.

So the night that website was launched the event not only became an important event for the leading lady herself as much as to all her colleagues and friends that she invited to watch her zoom into the world wide web.

They were all there, everybody big and small — even the technicians, photographers, musicians and many others. Everybody who in fact contributed to her success or became a part of it even in the smallest possible way they could.

Tony Ranasinghe felicitation on July 31

CINEMA: ‘Tony Ranga Soba’ a double celebration to felicitate one of Sri Lanka’s film greats, Tony Ranasinghe, will take place at BMICH on July 31 making it a night to remember with the veteran film actor celebrating his birthday and completing 50 years in the film industry.

“We want Tony aiya to look back and see what he has done for the film industry for the past 50 years. I am sure he is going to enjoy the film documentary we have lined up for him on this occasion. It is going to be an evening filled with nostalgia,” said member of the organising committee Renuka Balasooriya.

Ranasinghe Hettiarachchige Egnashan Anthony Silva or Tony Ranasinghe was born in 1937. Getting into the film industry was no cake walk for him. His first two films in 1957 ‘Punchi Amma’ and ‘Rodi Kella’ were never screened. But as the saying goes you can’t keep a good man down and young Tony became an overnight success in the film Bodinkarayo by veteran film director Sugathapala de Silva.

Tony Ranasinghe’s versatile talents were further recognised through his character ‘Baladasa’ in Dr. Lester James Peries’ classic film ‘Gamperaliya’. Tony was able to make his mark in the industry through this character.

Film critic Aruna Gunaratne who quoted late Film Director Sugathapala de Silva on Tony Ranasinghe said: “Tony Ranasinghe is one of the few actors in our country who uses facial expressions in whatever role he plays, in the most natural way. This makes him so unique.”

He said its no exaggeration to say that most of the present day actors can hardly match the talents and artistic knowledge of the acting greats of the past.

Gunaratne also said that a book would also be released by film critic Ajith Galappaththi on this occasion. Navin Dissanayake MP who described himself as an avid movie fan promised to do everything possible in his capacity to make this event a success through the Gamini Dissanayake Foundation.

Navin Dissanayake thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa who plans to make a special presentation to the veteran actor in recognition of his long standing contribution to the film industry through the President’s Fund.

Ravindra Guruge said it is customary in Sri Lanka to commemorate great personalities of Tony’s calibre once they are dead and gone. “In fact we should appreciate them when they are with us, so they realize how much we admire and care for them. Otherwise they are sure to feel neglected, unwanted and lonely in the ‘v’ days of their lives.” A number of popular actors, actresses and singers will perform at this evening to make it a colourful and unforgettable one.

Among the others in the organising committee are Rohana Weerasinghe, Somarathna Dissanayake, Jayantha Dharmadasa, Ravindra Randeniya, Bandula Nanayakkarawasam, Ajith Galappaththi, Tissa Nagodawithana, Daminda D. Madawala and Ashoka Serasinghe. Rupavahini will telecast ‘Tony Ranga Soba’ on the same evening (July 31).

Responsibility of Lankan public in the face of ‘Glorified Artistes’

LANKAN CULTURE: “Shanthi Padanama” with Ven. Kotapola Amarakitti Thera in the Chair and their President Somabandu Kodikara conducting the proceedings, organised a conference at the Public Library Auditorium on June 19 which was quite revealing and informative for the audience.

Even though one could say that the numbers were not as much as expected, those present were people who were concerned about the prevailing cultural situation of Sri Lanka. The main topic of focus was Asoka Handagama’s “Aksharaya” (Letter of Fire) and other similar films that have been produced in the recent past.

Three extremely eloquent speakers namely Prof. Punchinilame Meegaswatte, Ven. Agalakade Siri Sumana Thera and Al-Haj Niyaz Maulawi made highly emotional and constructive contributions to enlighten the audience on our Sri Lankan culture and heritage, explaining in great detail contributions of our ancient forefathers towards the development of education, irrigation, the arts, economy and the ancient culture of this country.

As responsible citizens of this country, they explained how Sri Lanka, which has a rich cultural heritage in ancient times has now been transformed into a country where quality of life as well as expectations had deteriorated to such low levels where only sensual desires and commercialism were being promoted by our media and artists.

Professor Meegaswatte made an in-depth explanation of patriotic citizens we produced in history, but unlike in India where patriotism is highly respected and nurtured all the time, in our country today patriotic sentiments are looked down on, ridiculed, insulted and considered “unfashionable.”

As a result, during our post-independence period of fifty odd years, we as a nation have not produced any notable personalities of whom the country could be proud of. Sum total is that we produce low quality, commercial products which target profits rather than moral standards.

He called upon all patriotic citizens to come forward and act with responsibility and shun literary products like films, TV programmes and books which are of no benefit to us in intellectual or educative values. He cautioned the audience to think back of the teledramas we see on TV - almost all of them portray a society of immorality, alcoholism, mental derangement, physical fights and “macho-chauvanism” which cannot be shown to our younger generations.

Ven. Agalakade Siri Sumana Thera focused mainly on the obscene theme of the film “Aksharaya” and the shameless efforts made to quote Buddhist Jataka Stories out of context in order to justify his utterly low product.

The venerable monk explained that The Buddha always offered the highest respect to motherhood by every word, deed and action but the film was reported to have insulted The Buddha by his ignorant remarks on the Jataka Stories.

The venerable monk warned parents and adults, to think of their role in society and to come forward to safeguard Buddhism and Sinhala culture in this country.

He mentioned that Gamini Sumanasekera who also happens to be a member of the Public Performance Board (PPB) that approved the screening of Asoka Handagama’s “Aksharaya” film had published in the “Irida Divaina” an interview he had with Asoka Handagama about his film.

Almost all the examples Asoka Handagama had taken from Jataka Stories to drive a point home in his favour, had been distorted and given a different connotation all together. Nowhere has The Buddha ever extolled the virtues of sensuality.

He has always explained in his sermons, the futility of sensual desires and that we must make every effort to detach ourselves from such attachments. The venerable monk appealed to everyone to come forward at this time to unite and safeguard our culture.

Al-Haj Niyaz Maulawi in his speech explained that even though he was a Muslim, he was still a son of this soil - Mother Lanka. He said that as a Sri Lankan proud of our heritage, he will do everything within his powers to support anyone who will come forward in the name of decency and morality in this country to work together for the greater welfare of our society.

He said that if we permit artists to produce and screen obscene low quality irresponsible products in the name of “freedom of expression”, then we as a nation have failed in our responsibilities.

President of Shanthi Padanama Somabandu Kodikara who conducted the proceedings in his summing up posed a question to Ven. Kotapola Amarakitti Thera as to whether The Buddha had ever preached that we should remain silent and indifferent to situations of injustice, immorality or social misdemeanors. In answer to this question, Ven. Amarakitti Thera explained in great detail that The Buddha was one who never feared to speak out the truth.

He also encouraged others to do the same. Therefore, the venerable monk explained that all those who value decency and morality in this country must come forward and work towards bringing sanity to this country which is now engulfed by cheap commercialism through the media and journalists whose only objective was to destroy all forms of morality and decency in our youth who get carried away by emotional outbursts. If we do not take our responsibilities seriously, the results will bring disaster to our country.

We thank “Shanthi Padanama” for organising such a conference -needless to say this is the need of the hour!

94th birth anniversary - July 23

Susan George Pulimood

HONOUR: The years have sped by - in retrospect one can say - This was she- Susan George Pulimood - veteran educationist, strict disciplinarian, stern moralist, a person both humane and compassionate.

She was a Botany teacher of excellence, co-author of “The Text book of Botany”. She was a terror to the slack student - she was all of this, but beyond this was her vision to see Visakha Vidyalaya as a leading Girl’s school in Sri Lanka, at the forefront of all the imaginable disciplines, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, Arts, Commerce and Aesthetic Studies.

At her advent, although Visakha had a good reputation for studies in the Arts field, she woefully lacked Science. Mrs. Pulimood whose roots lay in Kerala, a Syrian Christian by religious persuasion took this fledgling Buddhist Girl’s school under her wing, and very slowly at first, and then with astonishing rapidity constructed the Science stream - complete with laboratories, equipment and most important, a dedicated staff.

The first Science teachers were from India recruited by the indefatigable Mrs. Pulimood herself: I recall Miss Grace Kurien (later Mrs. George) who taught Zoology, Miss Abraham and Miss Gnanam, the Physics teachers, Miss Bano who taught Chemistry and Home Science and Mrs. Korathu who taught Home Science. Few Science graduates in Sri Lanka gravitated to Science teaching. Dodwell Rodrigo, Jayasekera, Devadasan, Kumarasamy and Samuel served on the staff at Visakha Vidyalaya.

Later, past pupils from Visakha took over the teaching and the administration of the Science section. The early years of Science teaching were fraught with problems - practical classes in Physics and Chemistry were conducted at Royal College until the laboratories were ready.

It is a tribute to Mrs. Pulimood that a large proportion of the present doctors, engineers and Arts graduates had their education at Visakha Vidyalaya.

Mrs. Pulimood dealt sternly with miscreants who slid down hostel banisters, harassed the hapless matron, climbed mango trees, and ate the fruit “before it emerged from the flower.” She used to call them rapscallions and in a bad mood “children of uneducated parents” but her sense of humour robbed the words of their sting.

Once she called a colleague “a bad brick” and the diminutive recipient of this appellation did not hear the end of it. Mrs. Pulimood was a well-loved Principal - she is remembered with awe and gratitude by all her pupils.

Presentation of ‘Kalabhooshanam’ award

Sangeetha Vidthagar Nagarajah felicitated

Pon. Vallipuram garlands a golden shawl on S. Nagarajah while S. Visvanathan and the priest look on

MUSIC: “Sangeetha Vidthagar” S. Nagarajah has been honoured and felicitated by the Colombo Mayurapathy Bathrakali Amman Devasthana Araneri School presided over by Pon. Vallipuram, a philanthropist and Trustee of the Temple for the tremendous service Nagarajah has rendered for the past several years in the spheres of Carnatic music and Hindu religious and also for having been presented with “Kalabhooshanam” award by the Department of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture.

Director (Tamil Service) of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and former member of the Carnatic Music and Bharatha Natya panel of the Art Council of Sri Lanka and locally and internationally reputed radio announcer S. Visvanthan was the chief guest.

Nagarajah is not only a veteran Carnatic musician, but a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional personality who is very much interested in religion, art and culture. Further, he is greatly associated with ‘Thirumarai Kalamandram” Centre for Performing Arts headed by Professor Rev. N.M. Saveri.

An account of Mr. Nagarajah’s vast knowledge in Hindu Religion particularly “Saiva Siddantam” the Centre for Performing Arts organised a functions recently to release a cassette comprising “Saiva Siddanta Unmai Vilakkam” in poetic form which was presided over by former senior radio broadcaster, social and religious worker and former president of Jaffna Hindu Ladies College Old Girls Association (Colombo branch).

“Sangeetha Vidthagar” Nagarajah hails from Navatkuli in the Jaffna district. As a student he was much interested in music and he participated in all the cultural programmes conducted in the school and was the first person to get the title as “Paadagan” for his wonderful music. Nagarajah has participated in various cultural programmes organised by religious organisations, schools, temples and dance and music programmes.

Besides, he is a radio artiste and conducts music classes in Colombo Mayurapathy Bathrakali Amman Devasthana Araneri School and several other music centres. Indeed, he is one of the leading Carnatic musician in Sri Lanka and in appreciation and recognition of his inesteemable service in the field of music he was conferred with the title of “Sangeetha Gnanasthan” and also “Kalabhooshanam” award by the Ministry of Culture.


An exhibition of paintings by pre-school student Monali Madanayake titled ‘Mage Sithuvili’ will be held at Galle Town Hall on July 24 and 25.

She will be basing her theme on how she sees her surroundings. This will be her second exhibition. Monali is the daughter of Presidential award winner Mangala Madanayake.




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