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17th January1999
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It's Tissa once again!


An excellent piece of creative work will always be remembered and rewarded. So is its creator. That's obviously why Tissa Abeysekera and his epic teledrama, 'Pitagamkarayo' continue to bag awards at prestigious festivals. UNDA ABHINANDANA 1997, organised by the International Catholic Radio & Television Organisation, Sri Lanka Chapter, held recently, saw 'Pitagamkarayo' winning seven awards including two 'golds' for Tissa as Best Director and Best Script Writer.

Talented musician Harsha Makalanda who was unlucky to miss an award at the Sumathi Tele Awards 1997 when Pitagamkarayo swept the boards with nine major awards, was aptly rewarded for the beautiful score he turned out for the teledrama with music to match the different eras. 

Malini Fonseka's sensitive performance as Ema Nona, the courageous mother who acted with determination after the early death of her husband brought her the gold (for the second time) as Best Actress. The other awards were for Photography (M. D. Mahindapala), Sound (R .A. W. Ranawaka & Mahinda Samantilaka), and Art Direction (K. A. Milton Perera & Ranjith Silva).

Toss up

It wasn't plain sailing for 'Pitagamkarayo'. UNDA Awards (given for productions in 1996) were a toss up between 'Pitagamkarayo' and upcoming talented young director Jayantha Chandrasiri's 'Akala Sandya'. Jayantha was a close second to Tissa and won 'silvers' for direction and script writing. (In fact, newspapers reported how, when Tissa was asked by the announcer as to what the future of teledramas would be, he pointed to Jayantha and said "There is the future of teledramas"). 

'Akala Sandya' bagged five other awards Best Actor (Jackson Anthony), Editing (Jayantha Ahangama & Uditha Mangala), Make up (Vasantha Vittachi),and Lighting (Sumith Prasannalala) with Buddhadasa Vitanachchi winning a "silver" for his creative talent as Jayasena. 

An interesting feature was the nomination of Jackson Anthony for Best Actor award for his role in 'Pitagamkarayo' too (he won the Sumathi Tele Award for this role). Two others were among the nominees W. Jayasiri ('Dhawala Kethuwa') and Palitha Silva ('Pitagamkarayo'). 

UNDA 'silver' for Best Actress was won by Vasanthi Chaturani for her role as Duleena in Itipahan 2. 

H. A's talent

Among our most talented actors is H .A. Perera who is very much at home whether it be the stage, cinema or television. Coming to our homes every Saturday for the past few months is H. A. as Mavo, a leader among the shanty folk handling crisis situations patiently and intelligently. His clever portrayal of this character in 'Ingammaruwa' brought him the 'gold' for acting in single episode teledramas.

This true to life series created by K. B.Herath and directed by Wimalaratne Adikari gained recognition at the UNDA Awards when the two of them won the awards for Best Script and Best Direction respectively.

Posthumous award

It's not easy to forget the contribution made to the media scene by Ravi John, the young man who left us when he was just 35. It was indeed a sad moment when it was announced that Ravi, the presenter of the children's radio programme, 'Bright Sparks' was being awarded the UNDA gold for Best Presenter posthumously for "the great charm and imagination shown by this versatile broadcaster". 

Other UNDA Radio Awards (English) went to Mervyn Senaratne (Script Writing gold) & Chitra Fernando (silver), Upul Perera (two awards one for Creativity of a spot advertisement, 'Valentino's Rhythm Rap' and the other for Best Community Service programme, 'Sri Lanka Root'), Michelle Perera (for presenting radio news with "absolute clarity and accuracy and just the right degree of authority") and veteran broadcaster counting 33 years service V. Rajendran (Best Actor in a radio drama). There were awards for Tamil and Sinhala radio programmes too.


Reflections on Ramadhan 

Ramadhan festival falls on Tuesday

By Ayesha Yusuf
Muslims the world over celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, with the sighting of the New Moon of Shawwal, that signifies the end of the month long Ramadhan Fast. As Muslims congregate at Mosques in prayer and prostrate themselves in submission to their Creator, they give thanks to Almighty Allah, who helped them fast in the Holy Month.

Fasting gives us the opportunity to seek Allah's mercy and pleasure, by abstaining not only from food and drink (from dawn to dusk) but also in controlling our passions, and legitimate pleasures, besides other forms of evil. Fasting also brings man to grips with the pangs of hunger, the experience of the poor. It helps purify the soul, spiritually, bringing man nearer to his Creator.

To show compassion to the less fortunate, and free oneself of hatred, helps achieve the true spirit of fasting. Seeing or hearing evil, and avoiding hurtful speech is inherent when fasting, the merits for which are manifold.

To many of us, it gives us the opportunity, to devote much time for Ibadah (worship). Let us continue in that spirit with Taqwa, and indulge in acts of piety, and be mindful of our Lord, whose mercy and bounties are unlimited. We need to refrain from going back to our former ways, that may not be in keeping with the 'Deen'.

We could recall any small act of ours, that helped another, or brought satisfaction to a less fortunate person, and continue so even after the fast of the Holy Month.

Let us remember Allah, who in his infinite mercy, helped us to fast, and made it easy, even for those who were not able to do so. They could make up for the missed days, at a later time, for Allah does not impose hardships on us. He is oft forgiving most merciful. The Holy Quran, that came as a guidance to mankind, was revealed in this Holy Month. It is the time, man seeks solace with Allah, in repentance for his sins.

The Holy Prophet (sal) said, "Verily for every nation there is a test, and the test of my Ummah is Wealth" (Tirmidhi). This goes beyond saying, what Allah expects of those who are recipients of his bounty. The Holy Quran says: "Render to the kindred their rights, as also to those in want, and to the wayfarer. But squander not your wealth in the manner of a spendthrift". Also be not miserly, nor live beyond your means, lest you become destitute, and blameworthy" (Ch. 17-vs 26.29). Abundance of wealth, that Allah has blessed some with, is a trust with him, that he spends it in Allah's way.

Let us seek his pardon, mercy and blessings, and even after Ramadhan, continue to live with the Remembrance of Allah, every moment of the day. In his benevolence, let us seek his guidance, in the light of the Quran, and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sal). 


He needs help

V. Ashoka De Alwis, suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma has been advised by Dr. Ramesh of Apollo Cancer Hospital, India to seek treatment. The cost of the above treatment is around Indian Rs. 1,200,000/- which includes bone marrow transplant and three months stay in India. Those who wish to help should send money in favour of V.A. de Alwis, account No. 1007-5039-1715, Sampath Bank, Kandy. 
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