“Cinema is a lie. What we lack is people with the technological knowledge to show this lie as the truth,” says veteran make up and prosthetic artiste and lecturer Jayantha Ranawaka summing up as the biggest set back for the development of Sri Lankan cinema.
The only Sri Lankan to gain experience in Hollywood on special effect and had worked for some of the big Hollywood block busters like ‘Jurassic Park’, Jayantha Ranawaka says that the audience can be attracted to cinema by adding reality using the proper make up art technology. “With correct use of this art we can add delight and attract the cinemagoers,” he said.
Cinema is not reality but with the correct use of make-up art we can convince the cinemagoer to experience reality. This is how we can win over the audience, Jayantha said.
‘In addition directors must try on new themes and novel stories. In fact this was noted in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s letter to the artistes as the Prime Minister on his run up to the Presidential Election in 2005. Impressed by this, I decided to contribute to Sri Lankan art with make-up and prosthetic art which I had mastered in America by producing the teledrama ‘Antharjana Minisa’ in the same year,’ Jayantha said.
But it is pathetic that the teledrama a successful experiment to showcase the wonders of prosthetic art to Sri Lanka has been still waiting for telecast in the national television. This is despite the fact that it had been approved by the selection board of the National Rupavahini,’ Jayantha claimed.
In 2008 this teledrama was approved and listed for telecast but up to date, our TV audience has not had a chance to see it. “I made this teledrama mortgaging my house and I have become a debtor unable to settle the loan I have raised,” says Ranawaka in a sad note.
Jayantha’s potential in handling prosthetic art was proved when he created the devil in Udayakantha Warnasuriya’s film ‘Ran Kevita’ and changed a number of leading actresses including Kanchana Mendis, Wasanthi Chathurani, Duleeka Marapana, Anuruddhika Padukkage and Semini Iddamalgoda to female monks even without cutting a single hair in Thusitha de Silva’s teledrams series ‘Therani Geethaya’.
Meanwhile Jayantha has started to share his knowledge on special effect make up through the Academy of Make-up Art and Technology Training (AMATT), the country’s only institution which awards an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) standard certificate. The course is approved by National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority and Tertiary And Vocational Education Commission.
“I went to study make up and prosthetic because our cinema was lacking artistes for this particular area but unfortunately still today there are no creations to contribute to with what I have studied,” Ranawaka laments.
“However I am happy that I was able to produce nearly 10 students who could take up any work relating to make-up art in television or cinema both here and abroad,” Jayantha said in a happy tone.