It's all for the kids
CINEMA: Munchee Samaga Punchi Tharaka 2007
Following the success of Munchee Samaga Punchi Tharaka 2006, the mega
children's song and dance festival brought together by the National Film
Corporation (NFC) and Ceylon Biscuits limited (CBL), plans have been
made to include students from school islandwide for the 2007 event.
This highly successful event organised to educate school going
younger generation to appreciate Sri Lankan cinema and film music will
showcase talents of students from Museaus College, Visakha College, Devi
Balika, Mahanama College, Sirimavo Bandaranayake College, Ananda
College, Dharmapala College-Pannipitiya, D.S. Senanayake College
(Colombo district), Kirindiwela Central (Gampaha), Panadura Balika (Kalutara),
Ananda Balika (Polonnaruwa), Swarnapali Balika and Anuradhapura Central
(Anuradhapura), Pushpadana Balika and Dharmaraja College (Kandy),
Mahanama Jathika Pasala (Moneragala), Badulla Central (Badulla),
Pinawella Central (Kegalle), Pelmadulla Dharmaloka College (Rathnapura),
Maliyadeva Balika and Maliyadeva College (Kurunegala).
YOUNG TALENT: Moments from Munchee Samaga
Punchi Tharaka 2006
Munchee Samaga Punchi Tharaka 2006 will be staged at the BMICH on
October 1 at 6.30 p.m. and half of the fund will be donated to the Sisu
Daru Kala Aramudala initiated through this programme.
International children's film festival 2007
In collaboration with the Ministry of Power and Energy and the Cinema
Media Unit the NFC will hold the annual Children's Film Festival in the
New Imperial theatre, Ratnapura, from October 1 to 5.
Power and Energy Minister, W. A. J. Seneviratne, Cultural Affairs
Minister, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and chairman of the National Film
Corporation, Asoka Serasinghe will grace the occasion. The following
films will be screened free of charge for children.
October 1 - Ran Kevita (Sri Lanka) 10 a.m.
October 2 - Heda-Hoda and 'Hide-N-Seek' (India) - 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
October 3 Atal Matal Tootoole and 'The Father' (Iran) - 8 a.m. and 10
October 4 'The Story Of Little Mook' and 'Emile and Detectives'
(Germany) - 8 a.m. and 10.a.m.
October 5 - 'In Desert and wilderness' (Poland) - 8. a.m. and Qurbani
(Pakistan) - 10 a.m.
Films screened free of charge for Children's day
The NFC will screen a host of children's movies such as Sooriya Arana,
Iresma, Arumosam Vehi, 'Spiderman III', 'Pin Pong', 'Hi Baby Hi' and Jim
Pappa at 12 cinemas islandwide for children.
These movies will be shown free of charge at Contrast (Dalugama),
Chithra (Kalutara), Masha (Panadura), N.I.T. (Kurunegala), New Cinema (Mathara),
Wijendra (Anuradhapura), Jayanthi (Polonnaruwa), Rathnavali (JaEla),
Sagara (Halawatha), Seetha (Pilimathalawa), Raja (Jaffna), Shanthi (Batticaloa)
and Wasanthi (Vavuniya).
Driven by passion
Dance doyenne: Neila Satyalingam
"Dance doyenne Neila Satyalingam has gone through much hardship in
life, but her passion for her art keeps her vivacious and strong."
Flecks of gold, cyan, red and green glint in the afternoon light in
the office of Apsaras Arts Limited, an Indian dance company in the Telok
Ayer Performing Arts Centre in Cecil Street, Singapore. They come from
an intricate necklace hanging from the neck of Neila Sathyalingam, 69, a
woman who wears many hats.
She is Apsaras' founder and creative director, one of four dance
choreographers at People's Association Talents, an arts adviser to the
National Arts Council and a 1989 Cultural Medallion winner. Indian
classical dance maestra Neila Sathyalingam is now focused on teaching
Kavitha Krishnan, 35, creative director of Apsara Asia performing
arts company who had studied dance under Neila since the age of six,
says: "What drives her is her passion for the arts and for dance itself,
which she sees as something beautiful to connect people.
She has never complained about too much time or too little money and
is a pillar of strength."
Last week Neila staged her last mega-production, an Indian epic dance
drama called 'Sivagami', performed by 65 dancers from India and Apsaras,
at the Victoria Theatre.
She hopes to "slow down" as age, she says, is catching up with her.
That means just teaching - no more choreographing epic dramas, designing
costumes and other strenuous work.
"There is really no such thing called a swan song," she adds, "and I
won't like to keep still after being so active."
Like her dance, Neila's life has been full of colour. She has had
bittersweet struggles, which she recounts with matter-of-factness and
She had her home in Sri Lanka gutted by fire, lost her father to a
heart attack and her elder sister to thyroid problems, and raised a
mentally- and physically-disabled son for 44 years.
About her son's condition, she admits: "For five years, I just could
not come to terms with it. My father died of a heart attack one year
later because of my son - he couldn't take it."
It started out picture-perfect though.
Born in 1938 in British colony Ceylon - as Sri Lanka was known as
before 1972 - she was the second of four daughters of a prominent dental
surgeonand lived in the lap of luxury. At her family's sprawling
colonial mansion, she and her sisters each had a servant.
She started dancing at age five. At age 13, she came in first in the
All-Ceylon Dance Festival, and was elected to dance before Queen
Elizabeth II when Sri Lanka gained its independence.
At 18, she enrolled in Kalakshetra in Chennai (formerly Madras), one
of India's most reputable arts schools.
There, she lived in a thatched house with "snakes above and rats
running below" and led a regimented lifestyle, waking up at 4.30am for
practice every day. The gifted dancer finished her five-year course in
just two years.
She met her husband, Sathyalingam Suntharalingam, now 78, at
Kalakshetra. The son of a Sri Lankan politician, he taught music there -
classical Indian music theory, the Indian drum and cymbals.
After a two-year courtship, they married in 1956 and moved into a
40ha farm just outside Colombo. She taught dance at schools while
raising her daughters, the first of whom was born in 1957. Then
everything started to go downhill.
In 1958, at the height of the racial riots between the Sinhalese and
the Tamils, 80 Sinhalese rioters burnt their house to the ground. They
weretipped off before the attack and managed to escape but lost all
their possessions. They then rebuilt their lives with their three
daughters in Colombo.
In 1963, Neila gave birth to a son, Skanda. He was her family's first
male heir in three generations.
When he was six months old, he caught encephalitis, an acute
inflammation ofthe brain commonly caused by a viral infection. She took
him to London for treatment, but his mental and physical development
"Honestly, I don't know how I've come this far with a child like
that. As far as the doctors are concerned, he's a medical miracle. They
expected him to die at 20," she says matter-of-factly.
In 1974, the family moved to Singapore. Uniroyal Chemicals, the
American chemicals company where Sathyalingam worked as area sales
manager, posted him here. Neila became a Singapore citizen in 1994.
She is upset that Indian dance - and other ethnic dances for that
matter - do not get the same standing as more contemporary or modern
genres of dance. On the one hand, she finds the measly pay an insult to
her culture's art form; on the other, she has found it immensely
satisfying to nurture "artistes, not mass numbers of children who learn
dance as a hobby and then vanish".
Meanwhile, the jolly dancer, who enjoys cooking, sewing and
homemaking, aims to enjoy her semi-retirement in the comfort of her
home, with her family.
"I don't want great things. Mundane things make me very happy, like
if someone sends me flowers," she says. As for dance, "I will keep
dancing as long as my body will say yes to me".
For someone who claims "I sleep dance, I eat dance, I breathe dance",
she sure walks the talk.
You leave feeling this is a woman who has overcome and achieved so
much in her life, yet, you still want, somehow, to help her but she will
have none of it.
"My sister lives like a Hollywood star in a palatial house in London.
That's her destiny, God gave her that. I'm not asking for that," she
says with a smile.
The Straits Times Singapore/ Asia News Network
From school to public stage: Union Neth Hamuwa
POTTERY WONDER: Students of Sripura Madhya Maha Vidyalaya,
Sripura, who were awarded first place in Folk Dance (Female)
AESTHETIC COMPETITION: It was an evening vibrant with talent, music,
song and dance as students representing schools from districts
islandwide took to the stage at 'Union Neth Hamuwa', the all island
aesthetic competition and cultural show, Pasalen Karaliyata.
The event compromising folk dance, songs, music and announcing is
organised by Union Assurance in collaboration with the Ministry of
Education is a search for hidden talent in school children and to foster
the development of local dance and music.
The competition was held from March 15 to August 15 with 26, 112
participants from over 19 districts. Around 6, 200 children were chosen
from the total number to represent their school in the national
competition held on September 8 and 9.
The programme concluded with a national cultural show held at the
Maharagama Youth Centre on September 19 graced by the top officials from
the Ministry of Education and senior management from Union Assurance.
Not only do the winners of Pasalen Karaliyata received awards for
their achievement but they also received the prominence which makes way
for them to attain future employment and other opportunities. Their
schools were given cash awards.
TEA TREAT: Students
of Kirindiwela Madya Maha Vidyalaya,
Kirindiwela, who won the first place in
Folk Dance (Mix)
Apart from this social service project, Union Assurance also plans to
create societies in participating schools to continue to enhance
cultural and aesthetic activities among their students.
Winners of Pasalen Karaliyata
COLOMBO CHAOS: Members from the Ranwala Balakaya provide
CAPTIVATING RHYTHEMS: Shantha Mariya Maha Vidulhala,
BACK TO THE PARAKUMBA PERIOD: Students of Anuradhapura Madhya
Maha Vidyalaya, Anuradhapur, who won first place in Folk Songs
MELODIOUS TUNES: Students of Maliyadewa Balika Vidyalaya,
Kurunegala, who achieved first place in Folk songs (Female)
Folk Dance (Mix)
First place - Kirindiwela Madya Maha Vidyalaya, Kirindiwela
Second place - Jayakodi Maha Vidyalaya, Ganemulla
Third place - Senanayake Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, Madampe
Folk Dance (Male)
First place - Sri Chandrananda Bauddha Vidyalaya, Kandy
Second place - Western\Kalutara Rajakeeya Viduhala, Panadura
Third place - Keppitipola Maha Vidyalaya, Gampaha
Folk Dance (Female)
First place - Sripura Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, Sripura
Second place - Sangamiththa Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Galle
Third place - Rathnavalee Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Gampaha
Folk Songs (Mix)
First place - Anuradhapura Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, Anuradhapura
Second place - Sudarshana Maha vidyalaya, Maspota
Third place - Thakshila Maha Vidyalaya, Gampaha
Folk songs (Male)
First place - Shantha Mariya Maha Vidulhala, Gampaha
Second place - Udawela Madhya Maha Vidyalaya
Third place - Gampaha Bandaranayake Vidyalaya, Gampaha
Folk songs (Female)
First place - Maliyadewa Balika Vidyalaya, Kurunegala
Second place - Warakagoda Maha Vidyalaya, Horana
Third place - Agamathi Balika, Panadura
First place - Sajith Bhadraji Alankara of Rajakeeya College, Panadura
Second place - Pabasari Koliyabandara of Mahamaya Girls' College, Kandy
Third place - Surani Sachintha Munaweers of Rathnavalee Balika Maha
Experience the healing touch of ancient medicine
Jackson Anthony as king Buddhadasa
TELEDRAMA: Jayantha Chandrasiri's newest teledrama, Satara Denek
Senpathiyo will unspool on Rupavahini on Saturdays at 8.30 p.m. from
October 29. The introductory programme was telecast last Saturday.
The storyline of the tele series is based on the ancient forms of
traditional medicine in Sri Lanka. It is a legend brought before the
present viewers to analyse and enjoy the extraordinary wisdom possessed
by our ancestors.
In the backdrop of the period of King Buddhadasa (360 A.D.), there
lived a Mahavedana (head doctor) named 'Sona'. With his wife 'Dalabiso'
and his Suluvedanas (helpers) 'Mahali' and 'Gaya' he was engaged in an
exceptional treatment technique under the strict supervision of the
Meanwhile, a hard-core thief named 'Data' who had wooed Dalabiso
since her prime of youth kidnaps her. This saga turns the lives of all
those involved into turmoil and creates a base for an unending samsaric
chase. All the four characters are reborn in the contemporary society.
They are engaged in a strenuous attempt to fulfil their incomplete
obligations facing conflicts created by the extensive samsaric customs
as well as the current socio-economic catastrophes.
Their revolutionary therapies without the use of drugs raise a great
commotion throughout the entire country and lands beyond. In other
words, you have got to see it to believe it.
Satara Denek Senpathiyo: Sriyantha, Yashoda, Mahendra and Roshan.
Picture by Palitha Gunasena
Written and directed by Jayantha Chadrasiri
Presented by Ruoo Cinema Creation House
Produced by Ruwan Jayasingha
Jackson Anthony (Guest appearance)
Maestro Premasiri Kemadasa