25th March 2001
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Kala Korner by Dee Cee

Indian Government honours Lester
On the eve of his 83rd birthday, which falls on April 5, the doyen of Sinhala cinema Lester James Peries remains the calm, simple man that we have known for the past so many years. Having returned from France with yet another prestigious award - the 'Lotus Life Achievement Award' at the Deauville Pan Asia Festival (given for the first time to a distinguished filmmaker from Asia) - he is back in the studio giving the final touches to his latest film, Wekande Walauwa (Mansion by the lake).

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Indian film director Bikram Singh is busy editing a documentary film on Lester - a tribute by the Indian Government for his contribution to Asian cinema. Following the Lifetime Achievement Award given to Lester at last year's New Delhi International Film Festival, the Indian Government has decided to honour him by making a documentary and picked on seasoned documentary filmmaker Bikram Singh for the job. Spending a week here in February just before Lester left for the Deauville Festival, Bikram Singh finished shooting the documentary and is now awaiting a few shots from 'Wekande Walauwa' to complete it.

While neighboring India is paying tribute to a great artiste, what happened to the promises made on Lester's 80th birthday? Dickman's Road where he lives was to be re-named, a special stamp was to be released and four scholarships in cinematography and television were to be awarded by the State. Mere promises, as usual!

At Deauville
As for the Deauville Festival, (Deauville is a festival city in the north of France just as much as Cannes is the festival city in the south), it was unique in that Lester and Sumitra Peries were both chosen for the Lotus Award, the first time ever that a husband-wife duo were recognised in this fashion. The Festival comprises of three sections. In the first titled Homage, directors who have made a vital contribution to Asian cinema were honoured. Apart from Lester and Sumitra, one more, a Taiwanese director was also recognised. Three films made by Lester (Baddegama, Nidhanaya & Gamperaliya ) and Sumitra's Sagara Jalaya were screened. 

A taste of Sinhala 

Counting Buddhist Monks 

By Prof. J.B. Disanayaka
The Sinhalese consider Buddhist monks a unique category of people, who deserve special respect. This respect is shown in different ways. One such way is the way they are counted. Buddhist monks are counted in a way that is different from the way laymen and women are counted.

In counting lay people, the classifier nouns, 'dena'; and 'denek' are used after plural nouns and numeral bases, as in guruvaru tun denek (three teachers) guruvaru tun dena: (the three teachers).

In counting Buddhist monks, the classifier nouns "dena:" and "denek" are replaced by two other classifier nouns: 'nama' and 'namak'.

The definite noun: 'dena' is replaced by the definite noun 'nama', which literally means 'the name', to produce numeral phrases such as ha:muduruvaru tun nama (the three monks).

The indefinite noun, 'denek' is replaced by the indefinite noun 'namak' which literally means 'a name', to produce numeral phrases such as ha:muduruvaru tun nakam (three monks).

The Sinhala word 'ha:muduruvo' means 'the monk', and 'Ha:muduruvaru', the monks.

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