TV Times

Vimukthi achieves success in no time
By Susitha R. Fernando
'This superb work on the re-education of the disabled of the civil war that has been going on in Sri Lanka... was the real surprise of the festival" was the comment made by a writer to a French cinema magazine 'Les Inrockuptibles' about Vimukthi Jayasundera, a young Sri Lankan film maker's short film 'The Land of Silence' dealing with ravages of war.

It said 'this polished up short film, Jayasundera, avoiding the fanaticism of the crude document and the hysteric veristic trigger-fanatical cinema, reconstructs reality... In brief, a beautiful batch of films that are singular and/or in the singular,'.

This was made when this film was selected to be screened in the competitive section of 13 "Marseilles" International film festival, one of the main documentary film festivals held in Europe. This was the first time that a Sri Lankan film was selected to this festival. Number of big names in the international film arena including Anand Pathwardan of India, Ming Luing of Taiwan and Australian film maker Andrew Healer too had participated this festival.

The jury comprising Portuguese film maker Pedro Costa noted that according to the director's note the film had questioned the 'knowledge of the history' by looking at present days tragedies through the eyes of the past.

Depicting the life of disabled soldiers from civil war which had been going on for nearly 20 years was produced by the Film Unit of the Government Information Department of Sri Lanka. Jayasundera's film portrays the struggle of a man who has been trained in the use of limbs for his routine work but according to the current need goes in search of new methods to satisfy his needs without limbs.

"The Land of Silence" was scripted and directed by Jayasundera himself and the camera by Sunil Sri Perera and edited by Nuwan Katugampola.

His second short film "In the Empty for Love" (Vide Pour L'Amour) is under final touches at the French Film Studio "Le Fresnoy". The film built around youth living in two different societies based on the Czechoslovakian novelist 'Milan Kundera's statement was filmed in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka and in France last April and May.

"In the Empty for Love" was first screened last June at Film Festival in France and it is scheduled to be released in French cinema halls from January 2003.

Vimukthi's career started when he made a telefilm at 17 years and later became a script writer for an advertising firm from 1998 to 2001. He studied the medium of films at FTII in Pune in India and it was at this time he made his first film for silver screen "The Land of Silence". Having won an scholarship Vimukthi went to France to study cinema for three years becoming the first South Asian to undertake this course.

Twenty five year old Vimukthi is now working on his first feature film for 'Home Green Film' company based in France and Taiwan. His two short films were selected to open the 10th North African International Film Festival held in November.

Abeysekara: Peerless lyricist
By D.B. Kappagoda
'Lama Pitiya', the favourite Radio Ceylon programme presented by Siri Aiya was the training ground for young talent in the 40's. Karunararne Abeysekara was one of the discoveries of the time who blossomed into a major poet in his later years.

'Karu' as he was affectionately called, whose seventy-second birth anniversary was celebrated by his fans and by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation recently. He wrote over 2000 lyrics during his lifetime which was considered a record for any artiste associated with radio, film and television.

In his songs there is an element of sadness. When in another song he sings; "Mage Desama Piyavi Yanne, Obe Rupayamai Diswanne" (My eyes aree closing and your image alone is seen), what he tries to express is the love that had been shattered. Most of the songs he wrote are heard everyday, proving his popularity among the listeners because of the words that evoked feelings among both the young and the old. One of his early songs "Enna Mada Nale Gos Pavasanna Duka Mage" which meant: (come mild wind and convey my sad feelings), speaks of a lover sending a message through the mind to his beloved living far away.

In another, " Oruwaka Pavena Re Gana Andure, Thotiyeki Ma Me Seethala Wature", he speaks of a ferry man longing for his dear one's affections. It is his lamentation for the love now in separation.

Most of Karu's songs were set to Tamil and Hindi tunes taken from popular films made in India. They were imitative songs but cleverly wrote his words without damaging the lyrical aspect of the songs. The popular singers of his time, H.R. Jothipala and J.A. Milton Perera, sang most of his songs. Even Milton Mallawarachchi became known because of Karunaratne Abeysekera's songs which strirred the imagination of the young people.

His song; "Ipida Mare Yali Ipide Nothira Sasara Sagare" in the Daskama, showed the qualities of a poet in him. He won the coveted Sarasavi Award on two separate occasions for his songs.

Nanda Malini too sang one of his best songs, "Ada Pamanak Nove Apata Hetak Thiyanawa", Evoking national filings in the listeners.

The song expressed hope and glory of the motherland. Although he was caught up in the commercial world when he was commissioned by the film-makers to write songs with a popular taste, there has been an element of poetry mixed with romanticism which contributed a great deal in the development of Sinhala songs.

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