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Nisala Gira

Premieres at Regal:

THE PREMIERE of the much-anticipated movie, Nisala Gira (Silent Honour), was held recently at the Regal theatre Colombo. The movie created ripples in the film industry, featuring an award winning cast and crew, with a gripping storyline on the challenges faced in today’s society.

Tanuj, Nita, Damitha, Kanchana and Rozanne

The launch was conceptualised, designed and coordinated by Glenda Parthipan of Emphasis revolved around the theme colours of orange, black and white, with a dominant jail atmosphere taken from the storyline of the film.

Silver chains, along with jail guards and a host of models in Western themed jail attire, also added to the ambience of the event.

Models in Western themed jail attire

The icing on the cake was when the top actresses starring in the film Damitha Abeyratne, Kanchana Mendis, Rozanne Diasz and Chandra Kaluarachchi, handcuffed and dressed in typical Sri Lankan jail attire took to the streets, parading from Lake House to the Regal theatre. They were escorted to the event by police guards as well as female police officers.

Mervyn Jayasinghe, Deputy Chairman/Chief Executive Director the Finance and Guarantee Company (F&G) lights the candle

The plot of the movie centres around the toll that drugs take on the lives of people who use them including those dragged in against their will.

The main character, Radha, played by Nita Fernando undergoes an excruciating journey, becoming a pawn in an international drug cartel after the betrayal of her innocence.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga arrives at the premiere

Framed by a ruthless close family friend, she has to kill her past before she transcends the obstacles for her inner transformation - of how she has to bury the ghosts of her past as well as deal with her husband’s vendetta against the underworld drug kings to walk towards a new beginning.

Nisala Gira is directed by Tanuj Anawaratne, with the story written by Yolanda Weerasinghe and international and national award winning actress Nita Fernando producing the film with the assistance of the National Film Development Fund.

Mervyn Jayasinghe, Deputy Chairman/Chief Executive Director of the Finance and Guarantee Company (F&G) sponsored the premiere of the film.

Sri Lankan film industry enters diamond era - Part 4

Sticking to written form of dialogue, auxiliary stories, advise or sermon form, getting the actors to when it is not in place, including inferior comics are some of the examples of the continued features found in the films that bore the characteristics of the stage plays.

Most of the time the film directors used the actors that played their roles in the drama, and as these actors had to play their roles in artificial backgrounds, the films vividly manifested more the characteristic of stage plays.

These stage-dramas turned films bore the characteristics of the South Indian cinema, the very vile, rough and rugged inferiority. This was mainly due to the films being directed by the Indian film directors such as J.Sing, K.Subramanium, T.R.Gopu, A.S. Nagaragan, T.R.Sundaram. They produced Sinhala films in cinema studios in Madras like Jemini, Central, Neptune and Modern Vahini.

The first series of Sinhala films were so immersed and absorbed in the very vile, rough and rugged inferiority of the South Indian cinematic form, one of the reputed film critic of the time, Jayawilal Wilegoda, reviewing the film “Kadawuna Poronduwa”, he wrote that the South Indian Cinema which speaks in 12 languages has added one more language to their list. (Tamil films into Sri Lanka - Jayavilal Wilegoda, Daily News, Page 7, March 27, 1966).

We must bear in our minds that the first Sinhala film screened in cinema halls in the country, was when Sri Lanka remained a Colony under the British Empire. At the time people who went for movies were from the poor working class and from the low middle classes in the cities.

The two category of classes mentioned here were the ardent supporters of the films screened in our country. It was thought at the time, they were enjoying films at ease in cinema halls at low economic rate better than they did in the theatres viewing dramas.

“Asokamala” was the second sound and dialogue film produced in this country. Shanthi Kumar wrote the script for this film and he was also the co-director of the film. The story was based on a historical footing, but failed to bring that out, lucidly.

The well-known Sinhala literati, intellectual of the art and culture Martin Wickremesinghe commenting on the film said “the film has destroyed, raped and defiled history”. (Martin Wickremesinghe; Silumina April 27, 1947). The music provided by Mohammed Ghouse for that film, his own product, was the only aspect of the film that deserved praise and appreciation.

The year 1953 was unique in the annals of the Sinhala cinema due to three principal reasons. It was the year the three films “Pitisara Kella”, “Kele Handa” and “Sujatha” were produced. Sirisena Wimalaweera produced “Pitisara Kella” in his own studio “Nava Jeevana” and it was the first film produced at that studio.

The “Kele Handa” film produced by B.A.W.Jayamanne was the first Sinhala film based on a novel. “Sujatha” directed by T.R.Sundaram was the first film production of the Cinemas Company.

There were also films like “Divya Premaya” (Laila Mitral); “Prema Tharangaya” (Nava Jeevanam), a sort of a reproduction of the Tamil and Hindi films. But the film “Sujatha” was the classic example of the mimicry of the Tamil and Hindi films and at the same time, which established the parody in the Sinhala cinema that was to follow.

The film “Sujatha” was a scornic reproduction of the Hindi film “Bari Beheth”. Karunasena Jayalath, a well-known film critic of his time commenting on the film in a latter stage said: “one was able to call it a Sinhala film, solely because the actors in the film were tete-a-tete (taking) in Sinhala. (Lankadeepa; page 4, August 19,1980).

According to film critique the ‘vattoru’ cinema (birth of dossier) began with “Sujatha”, the Sinhala film, financially, a highly successful cinematic creation. It had its influence over the other films to such an extent, films that followed “Sujatha”, had songs, fights and comic as a must, to be a financially a successful film.

To the businessmen who entered into the cinema field with the sole purpose of earning more money, “Sujatha” stood as a beacon, a roll model and anchor of hope.

For this reason it was an accepted fact even by the film critiques of the time, that if one were looking for financial success in entering the filmdom, then the films they produced had to be copies either of the Tamil films or Hindi films.

The wave was so strong the country saw the emergence of duplicating class. The films that came from these groups were “Ahankara Sthri” (Wellaka Aghal), “Duppathage Duka” (Walepi Padumpaadu), “Mathalan” (Engamma Sabatham), “Sundara Birinda” (Wangithotte Walipan), “Ramyalatha” (Devadas), and “Mangalika” (Kallatur Kannamma). Some producers found more plausible ways and other options. That was to graft Sinhala dialogue to Tamil and Hindi films.

The films “Salli Epa” (Milaj), “Manushyathwaya” (Insant), “Pathiwatha” (Devatha), “Aiyayi Malliyi” (Buri-Buri),” Sudu Nangi” (Boti Beheth), “Ahinsaka Prayogaya” (Mismari) bring out very clearly how they manipulated the opportunity to make the best for their own advantage. And this is the reality.

The wave of protests and denouncements that followed condemning the copying or imitating the Tamil and the Hindi films and grafting Sinhala dialogue to these films let the governments then in power to prohibit going to India for the production of Sinhala films and dubbing Sinhala dialogue into these films.

This step of the then government should be appreciated as it was the right thing to do for the well-being and the progress of the Sinhala cinema.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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