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25th April 1999

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kala conerBold themes, sensitive acting and visual treats

What a relief one gets seeing a good teledrama amidst a whole heap of scrap. And when the same creator gives you two, not one, during a week, it certainly is a bonus!

Tele viewers got a treat recently when a young director showed his capabilities. He is another PrasannaPrasanna - Prasanna Jayakody - in the same mould as Prasanna Vitanage who is going places with his cinematic creations.

Prasanna Jayakody handled bold themes in the recently concluded teledramas - 'Nisala Vila' and 'Imadiya Mankada'. Each had a domineering character around whom the story developed and Prasanna could not have made better choices to portray the two characters. In 'Nisala Vila' (based on a novel by Prasanna's father, Jayasena Jayakody) it was the village monk who did not sway when he was attacked as an immoral person,most sensitively portrayed by that versatile actor Suminda Sirisena. In 'Imadiya Mankada', the rusty villager who tried to give leadership to his fellow folk to save them from some crafty traders who were up to no good - was superbly acted by Joe Abeywickrema.

Both teledramas were a visual treat. Quality photography, correct lighting and the right camera angles made them visually beautiful creations. The language (both scripts were by Prasanna) had a distinct flavour to suit the theme of each.

When it came to the acting, Prasanna had got the best of each player. The way he got young Ama Wijesekera (in the role of the young woman making wild allegations against the monk) to turn out a mature performance was ample proof of his capabilities.

And the music in each had its own distinctiveness. Veteran Lionel Algama's score in 'Imadiya Mankada' was something that will be remembered for a long time. In the other, a newcomer Gayan Ganakadhara handled the music.

Will they go?

An eight member team of musicians from the Colombo Folk Ensemble has been selected by the organisers of the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and Fiesta to be held next month, to represent Sri Lanka. This followed an invitation received by the Arts Council where expenses for travel and accommodation were being met by the organisers. Selected teams have to bear their living expenses. Our team, which was among 45 countries short-listed out of 300, has been trying to find a sponsor with no success so far.

The team comprises well known names in the local music scene - Harsha Makalanda (piano), Ravibandu (drums), Krishna (percussion), D. D. Gunasena (violin), Shantilal de Silva (piano), Jagath Meepalage (drums), Priyantha Dassanayake and Nuwan Balasuriya (flute).

One may ask the obvious question. Why do they have to hunt for sponsors, why can't the Arts Council bear the costs?

Off to Mid-East

Amaradeva takes off on a music tour of the Middle East later this month following an invitation from the Sri Lanka Rasika Parishad. He will perform in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman during the two week tour.

The last link

The recent death of veteran cinema artiste Hugo Fernando saw the removal of the last link with the first Sinhala film, 'Kadawunu Poronduwa' (1947) where his name appeared as Sinhala music conductor, lyric writer and playback singer. He played a role too in the film.

Hugo Master, as he was popularly known , was a regular actor in the early films in addition to being a music director and a dialogue writer. He made a name as a comedian. Among his much talked about roles was the one he played in 'Allapu Gedera' (1965). His tally exceeds a hundred films.

Book Shelf

English via Sinhala

At a time when there is a keen interest in learning English, Sarasavi Publishers has put out a useful and comprehensive guide-the fifth edition of David Wijeratne's 'English via Sinhala'.

The book is a simple presentation divided into three main sections - Language, Letter writing and Vocabulary.

Over 300 pages are devoted to language and deal with numerous aspects of grammar in 51 lessons. These are presented in a meaningful manner by using Sinhala terms and examples alongside the English, making it easy for the reader to follow what is being presented without getting confused with the terminology. The explanations are simple and varied. At the end of each lesson is an exercise.

Letter writing in English has become a nightmare for many who feel their knowledge of the language is inadequate to express clearly what they want to say. 'English via Sinhala' teaches even the basics of letter writing - the form of a letter, classification, salutation and conclusion. A number of sample letters - private, business, official and letters to the editor - gives the reader a base to write his own letters.

An extensive vocabulary on a variety of topics is included and the book ends with a section on revision exercises helping the reader to test his knowledge at the end of the study.

Sarasavi Publishers deserve a big 'thank you' for making this book available once again.

- Ranat

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