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Wednesday, 16 May 2012






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Oshin comes back

The much loved Japanese television serial Oshin is to be telecast on Rupavahini once again after a lapse of 12 years. ‘Oshin’ had proved her mettle as a lovable and inspirable character for decades in the global context. The television serial caters to the masses comprising the young and old.

Little Oshin
Young Oshin

Athula Ransirilal

A production of NHK television, Oshin had been dubbed in many languages time to time to telecast in various countries. In Japan it was telecast twice daily, at 11.20 a.m. and once again in the evening.

The series covers three generations of Japanese life pre and post war.

In a nutshell, Oshin is a ‘rags to riches’ story. The story revolves around a courageous girl (Oshin) of a poor peasant family lived in Japan in the early stages of twentieth century. The way little Oshin boldly faces challenges in life and the sheer determination shown by Oshin in her young age brings inspiration to children as well as to parents.

Oshin was first brought to Sri Lanka by the veteran artiste Henry Jayasena from Japan in 1989 at the time of M J Perera. The task of dubbing the program in Sinhala was assigned to none other than Titus Thotawatte, a man in abundance of innate skills who was a veteran of Sinhala cinema.

Titus and his colleague Athula Ransirilal with a team of 250 dubbing artists did the job to a level which was eventually admired by all Sri Lankan television viewers alike. Sinhala dubbed version of Oshin enthralled Rupavahini viewers two decades back with its sheer magic. Rasipaba Sandeepani (very young Oshin), Rasadari Peiris (young and middle aged Oshin), Grace Ariyawimal (grandma Oshin), Ratnawali Kekunawela, Victor Miguel, Ratna Sumanapala, Gemunu Wijesuriya, Nihal Jayawardene and Parakrama Perera were among the dubbing artists who contributed to Oshin. Athula’s other colleagues were Kelum Palitha, Sanath Senani, Chandana Seneviratne, H Churchill, Ranjith Silva and Anura Dharmasena.

Athula took the reins from Titus Thotawatte on his demise to make the history repeat. Speaking of the fresh telecast of Oshin, he said, the backdrop in which the telecast coinciding with is the completion of 60 years of cordial friendship between Sri Lanka and Japan and 30-year relationship between SLRC and NHK.

SLRC had the privilege of sharing television programs with Japan from its commissioning date. Usually every year Japan foundation send programs worth huge amounts free of charge to SLRC. These programs comprise films, documentaries, children’s programs and cartoons.

With Athula’s initiation and the blessings of the present Rupavahini Chairman Mohan Samaranayake, SLRC team had made a fresh request from Japananese ambassador for Oshin this time around. The ambassador has gone to the extent of convincing the Japan foundation to bear the huge cost involved and give Oshin ‘free of charge’ to be telecast over Rupavahini for the benefit of Sri Lankan viewers.

An emotional scene from Oshin

We have to pay a tax for dubbing. When the proposal for taxation was brought, people like Professor Somaratne Balasuriya, Asoka Serasinghe, Ravindra Randeniya and Somaratne Dissanayake suggested exempting programs like Oshin from tax, said Athula thoughtfully. Oshin is the very first ‘long-tele series’ dubbed in Sinhala to be telecast here. Titus Thotawatte with his expertise had done subtle adaptations to the original script to be in harmony with Sri Lankan culture, folklore and Sinhala speaking people. Thus the Sri Lankan viewers strongly felt the emotion in the story.

Oshin will be telecast five days every week (Monday to Friday) from 6.30pm to 7.30pm from May 25. Channawijekoon70@gmail.com


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