17th October 1999

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Kala Corner - By Dee Cee

'Sudo Sudu' gets a fresh look and a touch of Niriella

Quiet, softspoken Parakrama Niriella has given us another beautiful teledrama. It's a story close to our hearts. Even if you have not read 'Sudo Sudu' , the book of poems by Keyas, (then Kalalelle Anandasagara Thera) watching the first few episodes of the teledrama would have made you hunt for it. Lucky ones may have found a copy in a library or with a friend, since it has been out of print for many years.

Niriella presents the simple tale most poignantly. It's a novel presentation where he uses a chorus to thread the story through. Although at the beginning, one feels the chorus was a 'foreign element', as the story unfolds, it becomes meaningful. The chorus not only fills the gaps to make it a continuous story but brings out the feelings of the key characters.

Niriella has got everything right. The rural setting at Makehelwila off Mawanella with the Alagalla hills as the backdrop (one can spot the vast paddyfields down below when travelling to Kandy by train) is just what Keyas described in his opening verse - 'Goda mada dekama saru saraya pala baraya - Katuroda gammana tharamaka pitisaraya' - a verse we all remember so well even though we read the book in the late forties.

His choice of the three characters is perfect. Ashen Manjula who impressed us in 'Amba Yahaluwo' plays the key role of Tikiri, the wealthy boy who has hopes of Heenmenika, the poor village girl sensitively played by Nimanthi Porage (the 'Ninja' girl) doing a lead role for the first time. Adiri's is a difficult role extremely well played by Harsha Bulathsinhala (this is his first major appearance too) as the poor orphaned village boy whom Heenmenika prefers to Tikiri.

Those who have missed the first few episodes, it's still not too late to start watching 'Sudo Sudu' on Monday evenings. Adiri and Heenmenika have just had their first child. They discover the boy is blind. Their cultivation is affected. They find it difficult to make ends meet. Adiri decides to join the army.

Talented artiste

Just like Sinhala films, most teledramas are also boring. Set in the same mould, most of them are below par. In such a situation, it's comforting to find creative talents like Niriella putting out a quality product at least once in a way.

Few will forget his earlier attempts which went down so well with the viewers. 'Yashoravaya', in particular, was a sellout. G. W. Surendra, Iranganie Serasinghe and Lucky Dias became 'friends of the family' in many homes.

Starting with a couple of single episode teledramas, Niriella's first full length teledrama, 'Palingu Menike' was an instant hit. Just like 'Yashorasavya 1&2', his award winning 'Kadaima' and 'Sandagiri Pavuwa' also reached the hearts of the viewers. Niriella is currently busy giving the finishing touches to a teledrama touching on environmental issues.

The poet

Poet 'Keyas' returned to lay life as Sagara Palansuriya and was a popular member of the Colombo School of Poetry. While 'Sudo Sudu' was hailed for the simplicity of its poetic idiom and the tender grace of its theme, his subjects mainly tended towards the pastoral.

He has a number of works to his credit including 'Malhamy', 'Kalakanniya', 'Kelani Vitti', and 'Padyavaliya'. He wrote prose too. A teacher by profession, he entered politics in the fifties and won the Horana seat in the 1956 General Election defeating the then Minister of Finance, M. D. H. Jayawardena.

'Treasure Island' in Sinhala

Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote 'Treasure Island' in 1883. It remains a popular story to this day. An unabridged Sinhala translation of the book by well-known writer Chandra Anagiratne is now ready for release.

Titled ' Nidhan Dupatha', the book is a Dayawansa Jayakody publication and will be launched on October 19 giving the Sinhala reader an opportunity to enjoy this most interesting adventure story.

Anagiratne has already made a name for himself by translating a host of popular English stories into Sinhala. Among them are 'Dracula', 'Tom Sawyer',' and 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde'.

Iranian films

Abbas Kiarostami is a world renowned Iranian filmmaker.

For the first time Sri Lankan film fans will get an opportunity of seeing this internationally acclaimed director's movies when the Asian Film Centre presents an Iranian Film Festival from October 25 to 29. The venue will be the Elphinstone Theatre.

Centre's General Secretary Ashley Ratnavibhushana says that international audiences are keeping a close eye on his craftsmanship and consider him as one of the master filmmakers in contemporary Asia.

The Retrospective of Abbas Kiarostami will include six feature films and seven short films.

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