ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 4, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 23

Kala Korner

By Dee Cee

For many years Buddhadasa (Buddhi) Galappatti was best known for his talent as a make-up artiste. In between he tried his hand at creative writing. He soon made a name for himself as a poet. He has over half a dozen collections of poems to his credit. With at least three short story collections he has also made his mark as a fiction writer.

Although Buddhi devoted time to writing from the 1970s, it was just four years ago that he started writing a regular column to the Sinhala daily 'Lankadeepa'. He writes under the pen name 'Sahurda' (Intimate friend). He has just released a collection of his columns under the title 'Sahurda Satahan' (Notes of an intimate friend). In his column he focuses on activities in the literary field. This in turn highlights contemporary literary figures.

As newspaper readers we enjoy reading a column which is of interest to us. Some tend to collect these but it becomes a tedious task.

That is why when a collection comes out in the form of a book, readers grab it, particularly if it is presented in an attractive format. This is what Buddhi has done. Seeing the cover one is tempted to go for it. Caricatures by reputed artist Santha Herath adorn the cover as well as each chapter.

The caricatures on the cover are easily identifiable. They are familiar figures - Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara, dramatist Sugathapala de Silva and three professors – A.V.Suraweera, J.B. Disanayaka and Sunanda de Mel. Buddhi looks at Speaker Lokubandara not as a UNP politician or as Speaker above party politics. He selected him as the topic of one of his columns when 'WiJaMu' launched a publication ('Rasadipani') recording his participation as a presenter in a series of radio programmes introducing the country's leading music makers. Looking at 'WiJaMu' as a knowledgeable reviewer, Buddhi analyses his ability to conduct a meaningful dialogue with the top musicians of the day.

Among the personalities Buddhi had picked is a simple, unassuming man who, along with his brother, had done yeoman service to Sinhala theatre. He is Somapala Hewakapuge known to everyone as 'IPB Some'. IPB was a very active press in the 1960s set up by Some's elder brother Edwin known as 'iskola mahattaya' because he happened to be a teacher. Drama producers ran to IPB to get their posters printed and that was the era when after 'Maname' there was a resurgence of Sinhala drama. It was Some who got the job done.

Print media being the only avenue for publicity then, posters played a vital role. The IPB poster was always a simple but effective one. Most of them were created by that man with big ideas Ralex Ranasinghe. Since that time Some was the darling of every dramatist, film producer, musician and anyone involved with performing arts. When they got together and felicitated him for his near-half century service, it was a big event. And Sahurda devoted a column to pay tribute to a humble individual.

More recently, Buddhi featured another highly creative artiste - ace photographer Sarath Perera who through his lens captured some magnificent shots at the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum for the book 'From the Cradle'. Buddhi describes his effort as 'superlative' and points out how he has given life to Wickramasinghe's descriptions. Buddhi picks Sarath's picture of a girl in 'kabakurutta' as an example.

In another column, Buddhi picks a 'triumvirate' of female journalists - Eva Ranaweera, Sumana Saparamadu and Sriya Ratnakara - and discusses their contribution to the newspaper world.

In what he calls the 'Supiri unmadaya', Buddhi looks at the other side of the popular Super Star programme and is highly critical of the 'super madness' which he claims is a mere gimmick to market some cheap products.

With 'Sahurda Satahan', a Sarasavi publication, Buddhi joins the band of journalists who, from time to time, have been putting out selections of regular columns they have contributed making these useful source material for those delving into contemporary literature.

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