Touch of humanity
The stage drama song Haa Haa Landae used to create pleasant
sensations in peoples’ minds couple of decades back.
This is the very reason this song was often sung in sing-song
get-togethers and functions.
Hector Kumarasiri. Pictures by Ranjith Asanka
The song came in Biso stage drama made by Hector Kumarasiri and was
originally sung by Rodney Warnakula.
Kumarasiri, a well known senior artiste and a dramatist, has now
ventured into film-making. Titled Abhinikmana, Kumarasiri’s first
feature film is scheduled to be screened in theaters shortly.
Q: This is your maiden full-length film. Are you satisfied
with the outcome?
A: Certianly. The film has a somewhat unusual theme. Sri
Lankan filmgoers will have the rare opportunity of seeing the veteran
Joe Abeywickrama’s last performance in Abhinikmana.
Q: You had been actively involved in the field of art for many
A: True. I was engaged in journalism, script writing,
short-film making and stage drama direction to communicate my philosophy
in life. I was brought up in a Buddhist background.
English novelist E M Forster had said, “I do believe in Art for Art’s
sake”. Any piece of art should start with enjoyment and end with wisdom.
My belief is that we should encourage people to understand the true
values in life through art.
Creativity of an artiste is brought from previous lives. This is
known as ‘Wasana Gunaya’ (lady luck). Thus the artiste with his creation
must enhance the wisdom of the people. Empathy, humility, sacrifice,
patience needs to be in abundance in a piece of art.
Joe Abeywickrama and Irangani Serasinghe in the
Sudharshana Bandara and Imashi Lakshika giving life to a
scene in the movie
A wise society at large will pave way for a new world sans hatred.
The artiste can spearhead this process.
Q: How were you inspired to engage in art?
A: My father was my hero and role model. I was firstly
inspired by his humility. I am the second in a family of 10 children.
Ours was not a poverty stricken family. However we lead a very simple
Those days the society treasured values to a great extent.
Hospitality was part and parcel of any household’s life-style. I have
watched how my father fed us and entertained neighbors and friends at
the same time.
I was a mischievous lad. While in Rajagiriya Hewavitharana College, I
took part in art society activities.
I had a liking towards reading Russian novels. My political liking
was towards Communism.
After leaving school, I joined the Aththa tabloid. While being there,
I got the opportunity to follow a course in cinema conducted by the
National Film Corporation in 1974.
I co-edited the film magazine Cinema in the 1970s.
Q: Your next stop was in the stage-drama direction field.
A: My first stage drama Loka Dekai…Eka Minihai was based on
labour unrest. That was followed by Rajjuruwo Mun, Dadin Bidin Doong,
Devlo Doni, Siyam Poottuwa, Biso and several others.
Somi Ratnayake and Richard Weerakkodi made their maiden appearances
on stage in Dadin Bidin Doong. Rohana Weerasinghe composed the music.I
did Sathara Warang Raja Daruwo in 1974. The story revolved around the
disrupt done by bureaucrats. I have won the Presidential award for
Siddhartha script in 1982. My script for Maddumaya won the award for the
best script at the drama script competition held by the Cultural
Ministry. The Public Sensor Board has banned two of my scripts.
The Helidarawwa stage drama scripted by me and co-produced with Udeni
Chandrasiri was staged 5000 times. We are doing rehearsals of Biso once
Dikkasaadaya directed by me was the first teledrama to be telecasted
on Swarnawahini. It featured Vijeratne Warakagoda, Menike Attanayake,
Granville Rodrigo and Shirani Kumarasiri.
In 1984 I did the short-film Nikmayaama. It featured the late Simon
Nawagaththegama in the lead role. It became a teledrama later with
Granville Rodrigo in the lead.
Q: How did Abhinikmana happen?
A: I have scripted and directed this film to coincide with the
2600 Sambuddhatwa Jayanthi. The storyline revolves around a true
incident that had taken place in the Buddha’s era. Buddhadassi Samanera
thera gets to know his ailing parents have no one to look after them.
The thera comes home in robes to help out his parents and this action of
his is misunderstood by the chief incumbent of the temple. This
distraction distances Buddhadassi thera from the temple.
Seedevi, the beautiful damsel in the neighborhood who comes to offer
a helping hand, hints she is ready to go the extra mile. The thera who
is not tempted sticks to his just cause of looking after hia parents.
Many events taking place brings to the story to a climax.
The cast includes Joe Abeywickrama, Irangani Serasinghe, Sudharshana
Bandara, W Jayasiri, Mahendra Perera, Malkanthi Jayasinghe, Manohari
Wimalathunga, Lochana Lakshika, Jeewan Handunneththi and many more.
The theme song is written by Prof Sunil Ariyaratne and sung by
Shasthrapathi Nimantha Heshan, who is my son. Nimantha is also the music
director of the film. This is his maiden film music direction.
The camera was handled by Nimal Nakandala. The art director is Manoj
Wickramasinghe. Yasalal Liyanege functioned as the assistant director
with his team.
Abhinikmana was co-produced by four young scholars: Sarath Subasinghe,
Nimal Chandrasiri, Suranga Wijeratne and Dinesh Ranjan.
Groove with Prabhu
Choreographer-actor-director Prabhu Deva, who shifted bag and baggage
to Bollywood after he struck gold directing Hindi movies, is back to
doing what he does best.
He is playing the role of a dancer in the Tamil version of ABCD —
Aadalaam Boys Chinnadha Dance. Touted to be India’s first ever 3D dance
film, ABCD — Anybody Can Dance is directed by ace
choreographer-turned-filmmaker Remo D’Souza.
“I am thrilled and excited,” said Prabhu, who is adept at various
styles of dance, including Western, contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop to
Indian classical forms like kathak, Indian folk and even local street
It’s the first time that the actor has dubbed his own voice for the
Hindi version of the film. “Though I am not fluent in Hindi, I wanted to
give it a shot to give that extra edge to the character I play.” He had
help from a sound engineer friend. “I have spoken so much in Hindi. It
was a superb experience,” he said.
Since Prabhu is busy with his other commitments including his
directorial venture, Ramaiya Vastavaiya, he will undertake the overseas
promotion of ABCD with the help of a hologram. The buzz is that Prabhu
will be talking to the media in Dubai, while his hologram will be
projected at events in London, New York and Toronto.
“It is a huge innovation for the film. A 3D hologram projection is a
perfect fit for the promotions as ABCD is also India’s first 3D dance
film,” Remo had earlier stated. Produced by UTV, the movie features
Bollywood choreographer Ganesh Acharya, Salman Yusuff Khan of Dance
India Dance fame, Lauren Gottlieb, Dharmesh Yelande and Kay Kay Menon.
ABCD will begin screening at Majestic Cineplex's Platinum theatre
from February 8.
A third for Nalaka
They danced wildly full of youthful vigor. And all who watched them,
With their powerful limbs they swayed to the music of Shine by Bond.
Wearing colorful attire they were the very image of the Mara's
daughters. And they danced at the Muhurath of Agni Varsha. They were the
dancing group of Anjali U Shadows.
The Agni Warsha team. Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
The Muhurath of Agni Varsha took place recently amid a gathering of
Colombo Socialites along with Producers Nimal Kularatne and Dr Arosha
Fernando and Director Nalaka Withanage. “I am very happy to be here a
part of the Agni Varsha Muhuratha. I am here to witness yet another
Muhuratha of Dr Arosha Fernando which has taken place in a short period
of several months. Beyond personal satisfaction and happiness, I am
happy for resurrection of Sinhala cinema. This is a rarity amongst
producers. Even after the production of the first film and before its
screening the production of a second film has taken place. The entrance
of Dr Fernando, a new face in the industry is an incentive to Sinhala
cinema. We have a duty to protect these new producers.
All in the Sinhala cinema industry must rally around these producers
and support them. The dearth of such producers is the reason that in
recent times the Sinhala cinema industry has fallen. The Dark period
that Sri Lanka as a country underwent has been injurious to Sinhala
cinema. The teledrama industry can in now way replace or be equal to the
film industry. The quagmire the Sinhala film industry was I prompted
many in the industry to switch over the teledramas. Now with peace, Sri
Lanka is developing.
The country’s economy is in good shape and with that progress new
cinema halls are coming up. Colombo is coming up well. We need expertise
in Sinhala cinemas. These experts can only be a positive influence. We
are boldly moving forwards into a new era,” said Director General of the
Media Centre for National Security Lakshman Hulugalle. Speaking at the
event actress Anusha Damayanthi noted that Nalaka has shown his mettle
with this masterly directing of Rupantharana.
“He is one of those cinematic personalities that will make Sri Lanka
proud,” she said.
“We have seen Nalaka’s skill in Anithya and Rupantharana. A new comer
into the film industry he showed his prowess in Anithya. I was fortunate
to receive a small part on Rupantharana. I am very happy to have been
asked to play a major part in Agni Varsha. For six months he trained us
in the art of acting,” Kalum Kularatne expressed.
E A P Films and Theatres, Director CEO Thushan Meemanage said, “I
have known Dr. Arosha for some time now. Even though some spell doom for
Sinhala Cinema there is no such thing. Every year the revenues increase.
There is an upward progress with the coming feature - Siddhartha
which will break a new record. With the quality of films increasing Sri
Lanka Cinema is lucrative and profitable. However there are certain
features that go with that – it has to be a family film and it has to
have a good story and coupled with good directing. These kinds of films
can be enjoyed by all. Nalaka’s Anithya was a very good quality film.
His third film, I think will supersede all.”