Producer Chaminda Perera plans new:
Shooting in Canada
Chaminda Perera. Picture by Palitha Gunasena
Lapsing more than six decades is no easy task. Sinhala cinema marked
its 61st anniversary recently. During this period many individuals
contributed immensely towards its welfare.
New films joined the scene and the public were drawn back to the
theatres just like in the golden age of the black and white screen.
Despite the changes taking place and new trends passing by how much
of international success or recognition does the Sinhala film industry
possess? Certain language and cultural barriers may exist but Bollywood
had proven that cinema captures masses sans obstructions.
Chaminda Perera is one such personality striving to create a market
for Sri Lankan movies in Canada. Together with the Canadian Film
Institute and supported by the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada
Chaminda had put together two Sri Lankan film festivals in 2005 and
â€śWe showcased films of good quality depicting Sri Lankan culture.
Movies like Sisila Gini Gani, Pauvru Walalu, Pura Handa Kaluwara and
Wakanda Walawwa were shown.
They were all well received and now there is an awareness for Sinhala
cinema,â€ťChaminda said. Chaminda had been in Canada for the past 15
years. He was on a brief visit to prepare the ground work for a film.
This will be his second production, the first being Situ Kumariyo a
film based on the picture story Hithata Wahal Weemi by Sarath Kaviratne
which appeared on Siththara. Interestingly Situ Kumariyo was not only
the first film for Perera but it was also the debut for many others.
Well known art director Lal Harendranath, scriptwriter Kumarasiri
Abeykoon, Gamini Jayasinghe, Rasadari Fonseka and Jayanath Gunawardena
all made their debut in the industry through the film. Veteran film
actor, Sanath Gunatilaka was introduced to cinema through Situ Kumariyo.
â€śI was in a search for a new face which should not only have the
ability to mesmerise the audience but someone with a good knowledge and
background to cinema.
â€śMalini Fonseka, Vijaya Dharmasri and I held the interview at the
Sudarshi. There was a large crowd but one young man caught our eye from
the start. He possessed the charisma and intelligence of a star.
He was Sanath Gunatileke and even before the movie came out word went
around and there was a great demand for him. Offers started pouring in
but he had signed a contract with me not to devote himself for any other
creation until my movie was released.
However I did not wish to keep him from his destiny. His first film
to be released was Ganga Addara,â€ť Chaminda recalled.
According to Chaminda it is the producer who should be the driving
force behind a film.
â€śHe is not merely the provider of funds but the whole creation is his
more or less.
â€śHe is the one who employs the cast and crew and is responsible for
the final product,â€ť he opined adding that many had believed and hoped
that he would cast either Vijaya Kumaratunga, Gamini Fonseka or Ravindra
Randeniya for the role.
â€śThey were the dominating figures during the era but now I am glad I
did not follow their advice. Sanath had become one of the most sought
after actors of today and I am very pleased for him,â€ť he said also
adding that Vijaya Kumaratunga had stopped by at Sudarshi on his way to
Katunayake and wished them well on their endeavour.
A scene from Situ Kumariyo
After the movie was completed the waiting began. There was a long
line of movies set for release. Never a person to idle, Chamindaâ€™s
frustration grew with the passing of time.
â€śI was an ardent music lover ever since my school days at Royal
College. So I turned my attention to music instead. I knew H.R.
Jothipala had a bigger market so I produced his first cassette Siriyami
It was a sell out and then I also initiated his solo musical concert
Jothi Rathriya. I also introduced songs based on popular picture stories
and award winning vocalist Damayanthi Jayasuriya who made her debut to
singing with a duet alongside Priya Sooriyasena called Priyadara Priya.
With his brief stay in Sri Lanka Chaminda had set the foundation on
making a movie for which Sanath will be writing the script.
The story revolves around a love triangle and will be shot in Canada.
They hope to introduce a new actress via the film.
â€śWe met President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently to discuss on this
matter. We also held discussion with the Chairman of the National Film
Corporation, Jayantha Dharmadasa.
They are both keen on this and have responded positively,â€ť he said
also adding that he has plans to organise training sessions for those
who hope to engage in the film industry.