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Monday, 22 November 2010






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Evading art

Sangili director on why there is no space for arty productions:

Cinema is all about looking at life’s incidents in a creative and artistic angle. Commercial cinema is aimed at keeping the family entertained while artistic cinema has a deeper mission. It is not woven around fantasy and colourful sequences but bitter life incidents and thought provoking themes


Director: Lalith Pannipitiya
Producers: G Dharmarathna and K G S Dias
Script: A H Karunarathna
Camera: Nilantha Chularatne
Assistant director: Nilantha Perera
Art directors: Shan Makandura and Hemachandra Perera
Music director: Saman Panapitiya
Make-up: Pujitha Sandaradura


* Dulani Anuradha
* Veena Jayakody
* Sanath Gunathilaka
* Saranga Dissasekara
* Rebecca Nirmali
* Neil Alles
* Wimal Kumara De Costa

Lalith Pannipitiya’s Sangili embodies these characteristics. It rotates around a handful of diverse characters in a rural setting.

There are four key players in this tale: Sangili, Ran akka, Punchi aiya and Sunimal. The characters are portrayed by Dulani Anuradha, Veena Jayakody, Sanath Gunatilaka and Saranga Dissasekara.

Scenes from Sangili

“Sangili belongs to the artistic genre. It caters to the literary taste of the audience rather than mere entertainment. It leaves us with many aspects to ponder over rather than deliver everything on a platter,” director Pannipitiya expressed his views about his production.

The movie is set to hit the CEL circuit in March, 2011. It was shot in Dambulla last year.

The story was scripted by Pannipitiya’s schoolmate, A H Karunaratna.

Sangili is based on real life experiences and is themed ‘A day that a woman goes against another woman’. This subject is mostly reflected by the way Ran akka treats Sangili. She takes advantage of her niece’s talent and cunningly engages her in their day to day affairs. She and Punchi aiya are least interested in arranging a marriage for the girl because they think they would lose the economic benefits which they gain through Sangili’s work. The story was originally titled Loku Duwa (Elder daughter).

“I was searching for a suitable actress for Sangili’s character. I was not looking for a well known face to present her. My wife suggested Dulani after seeing her portray Gumgakabootha in Aba. I spoke to Dulani and she was able to get into the skin of the character. She understood Sangili’s mindset. Her character runs from an age when she is a young lass to that of a mother,” Pannipitiya reflected on his leading lady.

Interestingly Sanath Gunatilaka will be playing an eye catching role in the movie. Punchi aiya is a three-in-one character. His behaves in three manners in different situations. He acts the role of an uneducated, thunderstruck villager in front of the village headman while he is the shrewd businessman in front of the other villagers. He transfers to an entirely different role in the presence of his wife and Sangili.

Significantly young Saranga Dissasekara too will be in the shoes of a role which is poles apart from those he had portrayed so far in his career. He represents the character of a toddy businessman.

“Fortunately both Sanath and Saranga had the perfect looks for the characters when I approached them for Sangili. Sanath had short cropped hair for a film while Saranga had to grow long stresses for another production. The looks went well with my characters. I had little to change and both were very dedicated to the project,” Pannipitiya noted.

Pannipitiya had got into directing through a tragic-comedy named Political Jokes. He had earlier assistant directed a number of teledramas and films like Shirley P Wijeratne’s Samawa which starred Vijaya Kumaratunga and Sabeetha and Dinesh Priyasad’s Kolompure. He said that the direct move to cinema was a challenge but one he was able to overcome easily because he had done a lot of research on the subject.

He laments about the fact that most theatres demand commercial movies rather than give space for artistic creations.

He said, “Directors will have to make sure that they will be able to book cinema halls before making an artistic production. Many circuits are seeking commercial productions and only a few halls wish to run artistic movies. Sometimes there isn’t a single hall in a region which will allocate space to run an artistic creation. Some would allow the film to be screened during a certain gap which may come in between two movies but take it off theatres even if masses come to see the movie.”

He is engaged in composing the script for his next movie which he had titled Gartha. The story, penned by A H Karunaratne, is about a prostitute begetting a child from a differently abled lawyer.

Walking With Dinosaurs

Fox on a deal for Walking With Dinosaurs

Marking one of the American Film Market’s biggest deals in years, 20th Century Fox has snapped up domestic rights and several key territories for BBC Earth’s $65 million family film Walking With Dinosaurs 3D from Stuart Ford’s IM Global.

Walking With Dinosaurs is now soldout worldwide, only a week after it was announced at AFM. Insiders say it’s safe to say that the presales cover most, if not all, of the film’s budget.

The huge appetite for Walking With Dinosaurs points to the overall slowdown in global film production, and the demand for bigger films with commercial appeal, even from the Hollywood majors.

Walking With Dinosaurs 3D is the largest pact ever closed by IM Global, which is repping worldwide rights to the CGI/live-action hybrid, based on the popular BBC series created by Tim Haines.

BBC Earth, Evergreen Films and IM Global parent company Reliance Big Entertainment are backing the production.


Chinese Film Festival in Colombo:

Strengthening Sri Lanka – China friendship

[On focus ]
- Films
* Cell Phone
* Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
* Gimme Kudos
* Knot
* Li Mi Conjecture
* Spring Subway
* Volunt - Documentaries
* Confucius
* Flying apsaras
* Old town
* Rock carvings


The National Film Corporation (NFC) is holding a Chinese Film Festival under the patronage of the Chinese Embassy on November 26. Seven films including four documentaries will be screened at NFC premises from November 27 to 30. The inauguration is on November 26.

Scenes from the Chinese movies which will be showcased at the event

The event is aimed at strengthening the growing relationship between Sri Lanka and China while providing the locals with a high quality cinematic experience.

“This gives meaningful effect to the cultural agreement signed by the NFC and China sometime back. We will be able to collaborate closely with China, on Cinema and other cultural activities,” noted NFC Chairman Kumar Abeysinghe.

A few months ago a Sri Lankan delegation visited China to hold a Sri Lanka film festival in Beijing. A similar Chinese delegation will visit Sri Lanka next year to showcase some of their stunning creations.

China now possesses a fast developping cinema industry. Last year China made over 450 feature films. That figure is the second largest in the world.

In 2000 nearly 400 feature films have been produced. The record is seven times the amount produced in the previous year.

There has been a surge in the popularity of domestic film market by large increasing audience viewership. Therefore Chinese cinema has developped to an extent where it can even compete with Hollywood.

“We need to study foreign films to develop our own industry. We will be able to draw some inspiration, upgrade our knowledge and guidance through such productions,” Abeysinghe said.

He noted that more foreign festivals will make appearance next year.

Jackie Chan

Chan plans his own museum

Actor Jackie Chan is planning to open a museum that will have all the props from the movies he has worked in.

The Karate Kid star plans to create ‘Jackie Chan World’, a place where he can put everything he has purchased over the years on show for his fans.

He said, “All my props and costumes, I put them there. I want people to go in and see them. Now I am planning Jackie Chan World - everything I’ve collected all these years will go in there. Teacups and saucers, cars, rocks, spoons.”




Guzaarish: Ode to the physically challenged

Three years after the much-hyped Saawariya failed to ignite the Bollywood box-office, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is wooing audiences with a film dealing with euthanasia.

Guzaarish, which opens in Indian cinemas and Liberty cinema, Wellawatte, on November 19, stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the lead.

“Euthanasia is a subject that has never been handled in Indian cinema before but it is a very important subject. Human suffering cannot be comprehended just like that, so if you can make an entertaining film with big stars and a big platform but still talk about it as a sensitive issue, then that is what we are doing. We are not propagating it, we are not taking sides,” Bansali commented on Guzaarish.

He noted that Guzaarish is the most difficult film of his life.

He said, “Post Saawariya not doing well, I did not want to be bitter in life. I did not want to be depressed. That want to live and be happy was the most after Saawariya didn’t do well. As a piece of art, Saawariya is the best thing I have done so far and it is the proudest moment of my life. So I was spared the trauma of depression.”

Cold vibes between Rani and Vidya

Rani Mukherjee

Right now, Rani Mukherjee is working with Vidya Balan for their upcoming movie No One Killed Jessica. The new movie is going to be a hot release as it stars two of the most gorgeous bombshells of Bollywood.

However, reports are rife that the two beauties are not the best buddies on the set for this upcoming flick. It goes without saying that Mukherjee is a senior actress with many great performances and awards in her kitty, and on the other hand, Balan is just few films old.

Crew members suggest that Rani maintains a distinctive behavior that inhibits Vidya from talking to her and Vidya is not very keen about breaking the ice as well. The two beauties simply give their shots and then scurry back to their vanity vans.

The film’s crew members also suggest that the Rani and Vidya do not come out of their little ivory towers until the next shot is ready.

Although no one has seen the two actresses get into a battle royale of words, the cold vibes on set is so thick that it can be cut with a knife! So what is the reason behind this strife? Reports suggest that designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee ditched Vidya for Rani Mukherjee for his directorial debut and since then the two actresses are not in talking terms anymore.

Rani, on the other hand, asked the director of the current film to make certain changes to the script.


Image acquires Swank’s Resident

Hilary Swank

Image Entertainment has picked up all U S rights to Hilary Swank topliner The Resident from Exclusive Media Group’s Hammer Films. The film will be released theatrically in the spring.

Directed by Antti Jokinen the movie, also stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Christopher Lee and Lee Pace.

Resident stars Swank as a beautiful young doctor who begins a new life in Brooklyn after separating from her husband.

Her stunning loft seems too good to be true, until mysterious occurrences lead her to believe she’s not alone.



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