âLester by Lesterâ
BOOK LAUNCH: âLester by Lester... as told to Kumar de Silvaâ, a
celebration of half a century of locally and internationally acclaimed
excellence, chronicling the creativity of a lifetime of the Doyen of Sri
PRESENTATION: Kumar de Silva hands over the first copy of the book
to Dr. Lester James Peries. From left: Malani Fonseka, Head of
Consumer Marketing, Sri Lanka Telecom M. Z. Saleem, Sumitra Peries,
Vijitha Yapa and Ravindra Randeniya.
Dr. Lester James Peries, was launched on April 21 at the
SLFI in Colombo.
The book is published by Vijitha Yapa Publications as a limited
edition. Each book, which is a collectorâs item, is numbered and
autographed by Lester James Peries. As part of its endeavour to
supporting the arts in this country, Sri Lanka Telecom has contributed
towards the printing cost with a grant âto make the book more available
to a greater reading public,â as Dr. Peries so desired.
The bookâs 20 chapters are devoted to each of his 20 films, from
âRekhawaâ (The Line of Destiny - 1956) his first, to âAmmawaruneâ (Elegy
for a Mother - 2006) his last, showcasing and chronicling half a century
of film making.
Media personality Kumar de Silva who closely collaborated with Dr.
Peries on this project said that since âRekhawaâ premiered in 1956,
volumes have been written about him over the years, both locally and
internationally. âBut apart from the essays and articles he authored,
never has Dr. Peries ever written about himself... something on the
lines of an autobiography chronicling his film making career.
âThis is the very first time he has chosen to write about himself and
his half a century film making career, in a single volume. The book
takes its readers through the trials and tribulations to a variety of
anecdotes and memorable moments in the making of his 20 films. It takes
on an even greater significance and importance given the fact that
Lester James Peries has now officially âretiredâ from film making and
will direct no more films,â de Silva added.
BIOGRAPHY OF A MASTER FILM MAKER: The book dedicated to the films of
Says Dr. Peries: âA journey in time is always fraught with multiple
dangers; nostalgia and an obfuscation of the truth. I have tried to
avoid both pitfalls it hasnât been easy. When you have worked with
artistes who enjoy iconic status today, but were unknown when you
started their careers, how much can you reveal?
When you have ghost directed a considerable number of scenes, would
you now reveal what has been an artistic triumph today? Historical
veracity may try to force you to, but the ethical thing to do is to keep
your trap shutâ.
âExcavating the past, when film-making has been a part of your life,
has triggered off many pleasant and creatively important memories.
Remembering them has been painful sometimes, but often deeply
satisfying,â Dr. Peries added.
Now revered as one of the Asian greats, Lester James Peries has won
continuous international acclaim in several parts of the world.
Half a century later, with 88 years on earth, 50 productive years, 20
films, tele-serials, countless retrospectives around the world, bou
quets and brickbats, national and international honours... Lester James
Peries takes it all in his stride... they all rest on his slight
frame... with ease.
Meet Devlo Doni
Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
(ACT I SCENE IV. Macbeth. William Shakespeare)
STAGE DRAMA: The third remake of Devlo Doni, a lively Sinhala comedy
went on boards of the Tower Hall Theatre on March 31 and April 8. The
new version brought forth contemporary issues and background,
INDIAN TOUCH TO THE LANKAN: Anjali Mishra and Prasanna Fonseka in
highlighting the pretentious life behind the authorities of
high status in a country.
The story unfolds in the settings of a living room, at the residence
of a maker of statues. Young and pretty she is the main attraction of
many, and certainly those of high responsible rank.
Each of them visits her residence, pretending to be interested in her
creations but the audience soon realise that their interest lies
elsewhere! Soon a sequel of comic scenes follow as each of them engage
in a game of hide and seek from each other while spilling out their
deep, dark secrets to the onlookers, thus revealing their identity.
The debut performance of Devlo Doni was held at the Lumbini Theatre
in 1974. This yearâs performance of the updated version marks 33 years
to the stage drama. The first performance of this series was held at
Walasmulla Central College.
âComic scenes are essential to captivate the audience, the elements
that are of use to the contemporary society through the humour. The
spectator should be a different person once he leaves his seat after the
show. He would have added a new experience to his life. An experience
which would have taught him a lesson for his own progress. That is what
makes a good drama,â expressed Hector Kumarasiri, the director of Devlo
This play is produced by Sunethra de Silva. Anjali Mishra, an Indian
Kathak dancer, took on the main role. This is the first time in drama
history that a Hindi artist has taken the role of a protagonist in a
Sinhala stage play.
The rest of the cast include Vijayaratne Warakagoda, Prasanna Fonseka,
Gamini Hettiarachchi, Quintus Weerakoon, Damayantha Perera, Sarath
Peries and Tharanga Bandara. The melodies are by Ostine Munasinghe and
music is by Nimantha Heshan.
âIt is a challenge to take up a drama in this era. Playwrights do not
get even the basic facilities to stage their creations. This may be my
last effort,â continued Kumarisiri with regret.
Witty dialogues, intensity, humour and vigour all included in one,
Devlo Doni was a creation tastefully presented to its audience.
History book by veteran Tamil editor
BOOK LAUNCH: It was a rare occasion at Thamil Sangam hall, Wellawatta,
on April 8, where a special book was
VETERAN TAMIL EDITOR:
K. V. S. Vass
launched, written by a very
outstanding writer. It was a history book, Eelatthin Kathai (History of
Sri Lanka), written by K. V. S. Vass, former editor of Virakesari, fist
ever Tamil daily in Sri Lanka.
This book is supposed to be the first easy to read history of Sri
Lanka in Tamil language. Another special feature of this book is that
the contents of this book was serialised in a very popular weekly
magazine published in Chennai Ananda Vikatan, in 1956.
This rare opportunity to serialise Sri Lanka history in Tamil Nadu,
made the Tamil population in Tamil Nadu, who knew very little of the
history of Sri Lanka, aware of this countryâs past.
K.V.S. Vass was born in Tamil Nadu and graduated in an Indian
university. He came to Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, to work at
Virakesari in 1933. Vass who joined as a journalist, later rose to the
post of news editor and was made editor of Virakesari. He worked, for 15
years in this capacity before his retirement in 1973.
During his tenure in Virakesari, he had written 45 fictions which
were serialised in daily editions and written well over thousand
articles on various subjects. His works were published as 14 books and
even after retirement he did not stay at home idling.
He continued to work as Ceylonâs correspondent for the Hindu, Screen,
and for a Malaysian newspaper. He had written a number of articles for
the Daily News too. He had written two history books and the first was
Kandy Arasi (Queen of Kandy) in 1940.
Eelathin Kathai is a 322-page book compiled by his son K. V. S. Mohan
and published by Ravi Thamilvanan of Manimehalai printers of Chennai.
This book begins with the birth of Sinhala nation(Sinhabahu) and ends
its journey at the time the sacred tooth relic being brought to
It is worth mentioning of his son K. V. S. Mohan who is about 65
years, old, presently running an advertising agency, was the editor of a
monthly Tamil magazine known as Kathambam which was a very popular local
magazine in the 50s and 60s and finally closed its gates after the 1983
At the book launch, the cream of Tamil society living in Colombo city
were seen around the hall which comprised Tamil scholars, bigwigs of the
city and older citizens who happened to be the friends of late KVS Vass.
Those who spoke at the occasion insisted that his son should bring more
of his fatherâs writings in book form.
K. V. S. Mohan should not only publish what his father wrote but also
the biography of his great father who still stands as an unchallenged
editor of this countryâs Tamil newspapers. Vass was the one and only
newspaper editor who had the unique ability of writing fictions,
research articles and also he excelled writing in English too. He was an
editor par excellence.