Ravindra takes Rupavahini to international heights

By Susitha R. Fernando

Innovative editor of TV programmes Ravindra has done it again. Starting his career as a TV programmer Ravindra Munasinghe won the 'Prix Geunesse' at the Munich Television Festival, Germany recently. The award was for the song composed on the theme of unity in rebuilding the country after the devastating tsunami which took place in 2004. The lyrics for the song was by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne while Rohana Weerasinghe composed music with Ravindra Munasinghe supplying the visual images.

TV programmer Ravindra Munasinghe

The performance of the group of children touched the heart of the jury which included two children.

"It was not about the disaster but how we should stand up united. The message is brought through the medium children and they invite the adults to join them," said Ravindra speaking about his world-recognised work.

After receiving the 'Golden Praag' in Berlin in 2005, Ravindra received the 'Children and Jury Award' Prix Jeunesse award at the Munich Television Festival in Germany in May 2006. Ravindra is the proud winner from out of 480 competing countries from all over the world. There were entries to suit the target audience of children under various genres such as cartoons and documentaries. Ravindra sought and was successful in reaching the hearts of his audience by creative visuals that were backed by Rohan Weerasinghe's touching melody, Prof. Ariyaratne's lyrics and Sunil Edirisinghe's vocals.

Elaborating on the theme he said, "The message I gave the world was unity in diversity. We the children of Sri Lanka made an appeal to the world to set aside socio-political and religious differences and unite to rebuild the world. This is the reality we see when children unite to rebuild their world by work or by play. It is a lesson we should learn from them".

"In the days following December 26, 2004 I was working in the tsunami affected areas and what I saw influenced me to do this. I explained what I had in my mind to Prof. Ariyaratne and Rohana Weerasinghe who translated what I had visualised in my mind," said Ravindra explaining the origin of the programme.

Ravindra studied at S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia and did his advanced level in bioscience.

He joined Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation as an assistant producer in programme and gained five years work experience at the Documentary Department. This was followed by three years experience in the News section. Next Ravindra joined the music unit where he excelled in making award winning TV programmes.

'Manohari', 'Nandun Uyana', 'Cinema Geethawalokana' and 'Sigiri Gee Siri' are some of the musical programmes which won the Best Musical awards at the Sumathi Tele Awards.

"'Visual creation, was not a very popular art in the Sri Lankan television scene and even studio facilities available were limited," said Ravindra.

In 1993 Ravindra underwent production training in Germany, Malaysia, America and France.

"While training in Europe I realised their editing rhythm is very fast compared with ours editing. We follow quite a slow rhythm in editing which is quite similar to the Indian style," said Ravindra talking about how he gathered the knowledge which he incorporated into the local television scene.

"In creating visuals to songs we have to be very careful that the meaning of the song is not damaged. For this I make it a point to discuss with the song writer and get his views. Visuals must not only be beautiful they have to be meaningful," described Ravindra Munasinghe.

Asked what he mainly focused on when creating visuals, Ravindra said, "My main target is to give a Sri Lankan feeling to what I make,".

Ravindra not only creates visuals, but also contributes to Rupavahini his innovative ideas. In an attempt to bring out the latent talent in the rural areas of the country, Ravindra created the programme 'Rajatha Rashmi' an island wide project in singing, dancing and acting.

"I am indebted to Rupavahini for giving me the opportunity to learn the A-Z of visual art," Ravindra said with gratitude.

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