Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sinhala Cinema Celebrates 64th Anniversary Today

The Sinhala Cinema known as Sri Lankan Cinema celebrated it's 64th anniversary today(21).Exactly 64 years ago in 21st of January of the year 1947 the first sinhalese film "Kadawuna Poronduwa"(Broken Promise) was screened.

To mark the 64th annniversary of Sinhala Cinema The National Film Corporation screening the first three Sinhalese Films of the Cinema naming the Kadawuna Poronduwa"(1947),"Ashokamala"(1947) and the "Kapati Arakshakaya"(1948) today in Colombo.

Followed is a brief description on early stages of the Sinhala Cinema

1901 marked the introduction of film to Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) when a film was shown for the first time in the country at a private screening for the British governor West Ridgeway and prisoners of the Second Boer War. It was a short film that documented the British victory in the Boer War, the burial of Queen Victoria and the coronation of Edward VII. More English screenings followed and attracted British settlers and Anglicized Sinhalese.
Cinema in Sri Lanka became a public affair due to the efforts of Warwick Major, an Englishman who developed "bioscope" showings. These were films screened out in open areas and makeshift tents. The first permanent theaters were built by Madan Theaters in 1903. The company showed Indian films and achieved success, prompting the development of theaters by the rival Olympia.
In 1925 Rajakeeya Wickremaya (English:Royal Adventure) became the first film to be made in Sri Lanka. Dr. N.M. Perera played the lead in the film which was shown in India and Singapore. However this film reels got burnt before they were shown in Sri Lanka. In 1933 the film Paliganeema was screened in Colombo.
During the 1920s and 1930s films with American stars like Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Rudolph Valentino, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. were popular in Sri Lanka. The Shiek and The Thief of Bagdad were especially popular. in 1932, the first sound film to be screened was shown at the Regal Cinema, titled "The Dream." By the 1930s Indian films started to surpass English films in popularity. Bilwa Mangal set an early record for Sri Lankan box office earning.
The beginnings of cinemas spread was seen when the Indan Madan circuit establsished Elphinstone cinema in Colombo as a part of his extensive cinema chain in Asia. Empire cinema, which became the longest functioning cinema in Sri Lanka was established in 1915 and continued to function till 2003 when it was demolished to make way for a commercial building in Colombo

 Inauguration (1947)

South Indian producer S. M. Nayagam played an important role in the development of the first Sri Lankan film. In 1945, Nayagam founded a company named Chitrakala Movietone and constructed a studio in Madurai, India for the purpose of making a Sinhala film. After considering several options, he decided to build the film around the historical love story of Saliya and Asokamala and held a contest to find a suitable screenplay; the winner was budding artist Shanthi Kumar. Due to disagreements however this project fell through and Nayagam broke a deal with dramatist B. A. W. Jayamanne to film his popular play Kadawunu Poronduwa.[1]

Rukmani Devi and B. A. W. Jayamanne in Kadawunu Poronduwa.
Kumar[2] determined to film his script left Nayagam's company and convinced the Ceylon Theaters group to fund his film. Faced with a more daunting task of putting together the film from scratch, the Ashokamala project began filming in Coimbatore about two months after the production of Kadawunu Poronduwa had initiated. Naygam's film would win out screening at the Mylan Theater on January 21, 1947.[3] Ashokamala was screened three months later in April 1947 at the Elphinstone Theater.[1]
Both films were popular with audiences but derided by critics who found them to be derivative of South Indian cinema.[2]

Canada To Take Tougher Measures To Curb Human Smuggling

Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said yesterday that his government will take tougher measures to curb human smuggling as the defeated LTTE Rebels in Sri Lanka are trying to regrouping in Canada.He also stressed the need to take a speedy action against Human Smuggling now before more boats with smuggled people entered the Canadian shores.

"A resident of Otawa has reported through a security intelligence sources that the defeated LTTE rebels are trying to re establishing their violent separatist group in Canada" the Minister further added.

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