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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

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Thinking ahead

Nuwan ventures along discourses of a new path:

‘The media goes after those who gain popularity and turn them into instant ‘superstars’ but not those who had carved a niche for themselves by introducing new concepts. I have fought against this system and my fifth book Gaddarica Pravahaya Hevath Sukiri Batillanga Lokaya is a result of this concept’

Nuwan Nayanajith. Picture by Ruwan de Silva

Today's world is overcome by trends. They come and go at a rapid rate. Certain fads are short-lived while no more than a handful of ideals last to be talked about or remembered by those in this fast-pacing society.

Yet these few 'productive creators' have many barriers in their paths. They need to brave the storms to make their voices heard with more stones being hurled their way rather than helping hands or words of encouragements being scattered across their path.

Renowned young journalist and critic Nuwan Nayanajith Kumara has focused on this issue when he compiled his seventh book Nava Magaka Sankathana (Discourses of a New Path). The volume comprises 35 articles which he had penned for various newspapers while interviewing individuals who had made their presence felt in the society in a new and unique manner.

These are not merely mimicking their elders like parrots but embody the ability to create something fruitful and novel while respecting the ideals of the elder generation. They possess the capacity to filter the values of what they had been taught and shape their thinking to suit the modern context.

“This book is an offspring of Gaddarilca Pravahaya Hevath Sukiri Batillanga Lokaya (Undiscerning) which I launched in 2008,” Nayanajith explained.

He notes that his upbringing has a great impact on this creation. Since his parents, Ranjith Kumara and Damayanthi Jayasuriya, are veterans in the art field, Nuwan had been in contact with the arts from his tender years.

“I socialized and read lot. Therefore I was armed with knowledge when I stepped into this field. With the shift of economy in 1978 there was a change in society. People began going crazy over the latest fads. Only those with foundation withstood their ground,” said Nayanajith who will be completing two decades in journalism in 2012.

Ever since he had begun his journalistic career Nayanajith had kept a look out for talented individuals in the new generation. One of the key factors he realized early in his life is that there was no one to support these waves of unfurling talent.

“I penned a majority of my Silumina articles under Thurunu Madala in the Pun Kalasa section highlighting the upcoming artistes of the new generation. They are people who do not follow trends but seriously study the art and explore new avenues. Interestingly they have respected the traditions of the art in their process,” he said.

The articles are set in question and answer form and explore the thinking of 36 artistes from the new generation. They are from the Buddhist communication, cinema, stage drama, teledrama, music, poetry, novel, short story, dance, announcing, acting, journalism, singing, radio journalism and experimental art fields. Nayanajith notes that only a few of these 'new thinkers' included in the book have taken to the field after their parents.

“They have developed their own identity in the field. They embody diverse opinions. Significantly they have all faced some sort of injustice in their career. Some members of the elder generation do help them out and appreciate their talents but some of them wish to see everything demising after them. They believe that the new generation should follow in their footsteps and take up their principals. Going beyond their theories is a crime in their eyes. They do not focus on moulding a quality artiste for the future but leaving their own mark in history. They look down upon the new generation and dub them immature,” he stressed adding that it is not the media who creates superstars bit the audience.

“There are many more talented individuals in the new generation and they too need to come to light instead of being buried with time. We tend to take things in a negative light at first glance and harp on the golden past instead of looking around and appreciating what we already possess. We tend to give popular characters more time and space while the truly talented individuals get only a small space in the newspaper or a few minutes to appear in the television.

If the tables were turned then a positive message will be delivered to upcoming artistes. They will realize that only those with novel ideas and capabilities will be highlighted,” Nayanajith concluded adding that we cannot develop as a nation without this positive thinking.

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