ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 31
TV Times

Anuruddha's maiden effort honoured in India

By Susitha R. Fernando

‘Sankranthi’ (The Tender Trap), Anuruddha Jayasinghe's debut cinematic venture was screened at the 34th International Indian Film Festival from 23 November - 3 December 2006.

The film was released at the ‘World Cinema’ category in one of the leading festivals in India. The award winning teledrama director and scriptwriter, Anuruddha had won awards at the OCIC, State Awards and Sumathi tele-awards and was nominated on several occasions in addition to acclaims most of his cast and crew had received.

Sangeetha and Bimal in a scene from the movie.

A story of three characters, 'Sankranthi' is scripted by acclaimed scriptwriter, Prof. Nimal Senanayake. The story revolves around a primatologist, his young wife and young assistant. It analyses the inner lives and thoughts that are different to what they are and what they project outwardly.

The primatologist thinks that his wife married him for his prestige while the wife thinks differently and the assistant thinks that the professor's wife is in love with him. All three characters are living in a mystery and the story leads to a tragic end.

Dr. Gerard, the primatologist, and his assistant Sunimal, regularly make research trips into the jungle to study and photograph monkeys. Dr. Gerard is a quintessential patriarchal male who believes that the woman's place is in the home. He believes in the evolutionary theory that we evolved from the apes and that human behaviour is similar to our primate ancestors. He observes the growing mutual attraction between his beautiful young wife, Pam and his handsome young research assistant Sunimal, a quiet young man, who prefers to take photographs of flowers, birds and beautiful scenery, rather than monkeys. Sunimal lives and works in Dr. Gerard's home, where he has all his photographic equipment and darkroom, and does odd jobs for Dr. Gerard and his young and beautiful wife, Pam. The young man develops an attraction to Pam, who is mutually drawn to the handsome and sensual Sunimal. She flirts with him and enjoys his company.

Having studied monkeys all his life, he wants to prove a thesis he has about the similarities in the erotic and emotional relationship between the male and the female among both apes and humans. He sets up an elaborate experiment which involves his wife and his assistant without their knowledge. The unexpected result of his 'tender trap' is something he could not foresee.
'Sankranthi' stars W. Jayasiri, Sangeetha Weeraratne, Bimal Jayakody in the main cast with Hemasiri Liyanage, Giraraj Kaushalya and Seetha Kumarasinghe.

Co-produced by Prof. Senanayake and Dr. Withana P. Somasiri, the film is edited by Rukmal Nirosh and Ajith Ramanayake, camera Ruwan Costa and make up by Imal Shanaka Peiris. Art director is Welagedara Ranasinghe, executive director is Mahes Bandara, technical advisor Ravindra Guruge, costume designer Athula Sulthanagoda, production manager Raja Ranasinghe. The film was shot in locations in and around Nuwara Eliya and Anuradhapura.

A journey against the tide

Anuruddha was one of the pioneering members in two TV stations in the country once as a programme producer and again as a director programme and has some of the popular teledramas like 'Abisamaya', 'Meeduma', 'Viyasidura', 'Dhawala Kanya' and 'Maya Ranga' to his credit.


"I gave up making teledramas for it is not a medium of art anymore for artistes but a market product which depends on the policy of demand and supply," says the young director who believes that art has a much more important and vital role to play in shaping the good of society and country.

"Teledramas are made on demand by the sponsors or to fulfil other ulterior motives of wealthy businessmen or multinational companies," says Anuruddha analysing the tragedy that had been faced by teledrama makers. "If any businessman wants only to make money it is better that he take up drug trafficking or prostitution rather than invest money on making teledramas. The harm done by those vices are only for a particular section of people but unfortunately destroying a form of art is the destruction of entire generations irrespective of their age and bearing".

The Indian invasion encouraged the businessman had completely destroyed the teledrama industry as an art form. It is only the cinema that had been protected but very soon the same thing would happen to that also.

"Nowadays by watching teledramas one can learn what should not be done in a drama rather than what we should do in a drama. They are so low in quality," says the director.

Asked about the maiden experience in filmmaking Anuruddha says that it is work which cannot be done without a proper study. "Every single shot and the lens used and the type of reel used could cause massive differences."

Trained under veteran filmmaker Tissa Abeysekera, Anuruddha says that his work is heavily influenced by his guru. "We do films not to watch while eating an ice cream or 'ratakaju'. On the contrary a film should make the people think."

While awaiting the release on CEL circuit Anuruddha is preparing his second venture for the big screen with Prof. Senanayake’s 'Dhawala Duvilee'.


Prof. Senanayake’s move from Medicine to movies

Senior Professor Nimal Senanayake, PhD, DSc, FRCP, the former head of Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya is a highly qualified academic in the medical field in the country. Prof. Senanayake enters movies scene as a script writer and producer with 'Sankranthi'

Prof. Nimal Senanayake

Before entering cinema Prof, Senanayake's contribution to Sri Lankan teledrama was remarkable. He produced Dharmasena Pathiraja's award winning dramas ‘Ella Langa Walawwa’ and 'Suba Anagathayak' based on world renowned Charles Dickens 'The Great Expectation' and 'Durganthaya' based on Emily Bronte's 'Withering Heights'.

"My association with Mr. Pathiraja is long standing. I was able to join him with many of his good works for the television," says Prof. Senanayake. He also produced and scripted tele play 'Dhawala Kanya' based on Wilkie Collins 'Women in White'.

Having made a successful journey in the miniscreen Prof. Senanayake has now entered cinema with Anuruddha Jayasinghe's maiden film. Prof. Senanayake wrote the script in addition being the producer. "I entered this field because of the necessity I felt," says this highly qualified medical academic.

Prof. Senanayake who entered Medical College from Henegama Central College said "even as a student I had interest in arts and aesthetic subject".

"Yet I am a self made scriptwriter and even though I have involved in medical field in my imagination I have always taken special interest in literature and dramas".

"If you have the will and the interest there is enough time to do this", says Prof. Senanayake who had made remarkable contribution to country's teledramas field despite his busy academic career.

Specialized in selection of directors, Prof. Senanayake has scripted dramas for Thusutha de Silva and Anuruddha Jayasinghe.

"I work with some talented people. And in my production I have given the priority to what we are doing. And as a policy I don't put restriction to the direction," explained Prof. Senanayake.

Speaking about the state of present teledrama industry Prof. Senanayake says "They are in a disappointing state".

With teledrama like 'Ella Langa Walawwa' we were able to give a direction to our teledrama industry. But unfortunately this trend had changed now," says Prof. Senanayake.


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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.