ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 08
TV Times  

‘Jeewa Chakra’ brings world-renowned literature on miniscreen

By Susitha R. Fernando

Samy, the director with a distinguished record
Samy Pavel

Began acting and directing career in 1960 Samy Pavel enrolled as a student in the Superior Institute of Arts and Films in Belgium and acquired his honours degrees. In 1964-1967 he studied at the "Yves Furet Actors Studio", Paris and later continued his studies in the American Film Institute and U.C.L.A in Los Angeles.

Having started with a theatrical career as an actor and director, he first played in Italian films under the directorship of the famous Taviani Brothers: "Under the Sign of Scorpio" and "The Cocks of St. Michel" awarded at the Cannes Festival.

Under the directorship of Sergio Pilla, "L'Assino D'Oro" and played the leading role in other 27 films from Roger Vadim to Skolimovski.

In 1972 he wrote his first movie as director "The Two Seasons of Life", which won the Golden Lion Opera Prima for the best director at the Venice film festival. The music investiture was by world famous Italian composer Ennio Morricone. (The same composer composed western music of Sergio Leone etc.) (35MM)

Later he wrote, directed and produced "Miss O'Gynnie et Les Hommes Fleurs" "L'Ete Provisoire" with Samy Frey and "Claude Francois, Le Film de Sa Vie" which won international acclaim. His direction "L'Arriviste" music composed by Ennio Moricone was a world hit.

Since 1996 he has been working in Sri Lanka. Directed and Co-produced the trilogy The Tea Garden, The flower Garden and The Music which won number of awards in Gold Remi award (for The Music Garden) at the Houston Film festival 2004- for Sri Lanka.

His "Letter to Theo" won Platinum award at the Houston Film festival 2004 - Best Screen Play. Directed and Co-produced the documentary with the title The Silent Movement (about the peace process in Sri Lanka) in collaboration with the Alliance Française of Colombo.

Samy entered teledrama scene with with "Sanda Mudunata" and "Jeewachakra" is his second.

‘Jeewa Chakra’ miniplay based on Nobel Prize winning American author, John Steinbeck's novel is being telecast at 9.30 pm on Thursdays on Rupavahini.

The 30 episode teledrama revolves around a headstrong father and his twin sons brought up together without a mother. Sirimewan Thambakumbura fell in love with Ramya from the day he set his eyes on her. Two weeks later, they were married. Ramya gave birth to two boys, twins, Arun Thambakumbura and Kasun Thambakumbura. When the boys were barely two months old, Ramya disappeared from the lives of Sirimewan, Arun and Kasun.

Samy gives an instruction to Asoka Peiris and Menaka

An old Tamil woman (servant), Mano comes into their lives and since then, she becomes the caretaker of the two boys. Mano becomes their contact with the adult world, and Mano manages not only to raise, feed, clothe, and discipline the boys, but she also gives them a respect for their father. He is a mystery to the boys, and his world, his law, is carried down by Mano, who naturally makes it up herself and ascribes it to Sirimewan.

Even though they are twins Arun’s and Kasun’s characters are quite different. Arun is often puzzled. He knows his brother is always getting at something, but he does not know what. Kasun is an enigma to him. Ann is content to be a part of his world, but Kasun must change it

When the boys were growing up, Sirimewan is confronted with the inevitable question: "Where is our mother?' Mano and Sirimewan convince the boys that their mother was dead. While Kasun does not believe the story, Arun wholeheartedly believes that their mother is dead and she is a star in the sky. Kasun promises himself to run away from the house someday and bring their mother back home.

Amanda comes into the lives of Arun and Kasun when they were just 10 years old. For Arun, she is the most beautiful girl in the whole world and he falls in love with her. When the boys reach adolescence, their peaceful world falls apart by a painful discovery and from then on the lives of Sirimewan, Arun, Kasun, Ramya, Mano and Amanda change forever.

Menaka Rajapakse, Suraj Mapa in a scene from ‘Jeewa Chakra’

Experienced filmmaker, screenplay writer and producer, Samy Pavel who has now entered the miniscreen talked to the TV Times about teledrama, cinema and many other issues relating to it.

TV Times: What is the difference you see between teledrama and film ?

Samy : The CAMERA is a RECORDER to record the vision and the world of the director. The medium of support is immaterial. The content makes the difference whether in teledrama, stage, or cinema. In Sri Lanka there's only a handful of theaters where we can project a film with its full artistic properties like the colours, sound, etc.

TV Times: Do you consider teledrama in Sri Lanka a serious art? Could it be a platform to discuss serious issues?

Samy: Sure. I believe that teledrama is the only art that Sri Lankan people could easily afford. Therefore, the knowledge and the Cultural Revolution must begin from there. However, no one seems to care. It has become a business - 20 minute parts made to insert commercials. Producers are waiting in queues to expose their work. Who judges this work? People who are ignorant about our field, about acting, directing, writing, lighting, music, editing. Being a professor in languages or a lawyer or an engineer does not mean that you can do the job. I have graduated in my field from 5 universities. Does that allow me to walk into Appollo and give my advice to the neuro surgeon there? So what does this neuro surgeon do in our field? ignorance has reached the chaotic stage. We give prizes to whom? And for what? It doesn't seem to matter, because we are all smiling.

TV Times: What do you think about the Sri Lankan audience (According to the ratings majority of them watch Indian soap dubbed into local languages)?

Samy: No one has really explained the difference to the audience. They seem to be fed with the same kind of dramas where either poor girl meets the rich boy or vice versa. Indians are funny. They do make a lot of noise for nothing. They zoom 5 times on the face of the actor in order to show that he is in trouble. They think that audience would not understand if you zoom just once. Everybody betray everybody and at the end the directors betrays themselves and the public.

TV Times: What is your idea working with Sri Lankan cast and crew (who are self taught)?

Samy: All my crew clearly understood my needs and what I asked for. And what you see in the teledrama is what they have done.

TV Times: Have you any hope in making a film in future?

Samy: My dream is not the support of film or tape. My next work is a film, but I don't think that it is going to be more important than "Jeewachakra". The world has become a smaller place. Although an island is a part of that world we address ourselves to that world, not to the island.

TV Times: What do you think about Sri Lankan cinema? (Comedies and commercials make box office hits, while artistic films become failures)

Samy: I will not comment on that point. I'll give you my advice. Let's make a real cinema school/studio. Let's bring new revolutionary writers who have made films like "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Babel", some Italian DOP's, some actors and let's pay them for one year. We cannot go on playing we are poor country. Let's afford it. The industry will change in one year. Forget the paper and the diploma, let's go to the real thing. Honesty, knowledge, conscience and the control of the media. Because the paradox in all this is "ART IS BIGGER THAN LIFE" - it's our dream.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.