Attention-grabbing snippets | Daily News


Attention-grabbing snippets

Let me give in brief a few items you may find worthy of knowing in the literary and cultural worlds.

Greco-Roman Relations

In the Tamil kingdoms in Southern India in the first and second centuries after Christ, there were relations with the Greeks and Romans in the European continent, claim Ratnasapathy Sri Hari, an engineer by profession but an independent researcher in history.

This is what he wrote in his research paper:

“This research paper was intended to be read at the 7th International Conference Seminar on Tail Studies held at Mauritius in 1989… Every statement made in this book is based on authentic and positive evidence as gleaned mostly from the primary sources of literacy, historical, geographical, archaeological, and humanistic works of the first and second centuries and of the modern period”. Running to 38 pages, this booklet in English has the following titles:

Greek-Roman relations with Tamil kingdoms, their archaeological remains in Tamil countries, Chronology of Roman Emperors and Tamil Kings, and selected bibliographies.

Simple and direct without any of the academic flourishes, this booklet gives valuable information regarding the historical processes of a bygone period.

I received this document from the writer way back in 1991. His address then was 121, Sir James Perris Mawatha, Colombo 02.

International Film Festivals of INDIA

Ever since January 1991, I have been visiting the International film Festivals of India hoisted by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India every year until it was permanently shifted to Goa. Even in Goa, I had attended three festivals. The places I visited include Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram. I had never been to Hyderabad festival. Then, besides Goa, there was the Kerala State-sponsored Kerala International Film Festival attracted my attention. I began to go to this festival afterwards. Nowadays since travelling became difficult for me I have not attended any International Film Festivals lately.

I remember at the 22nd IFFI in Chennai two Sinhala films were screened. They were: Paalama Yatta and Siri Medura.

By visiting these International Film Festivals one realizes that a horizon opens before us to see how the world reacts differently from a closed claustrophobic environment. We see the lifestyles of different countries, the people, language, culture and many more things. Then there is the interacting among people from other countries, their filmmakers, actors, technicians, and other artistes.

In Lanka, we used to see mainly Sinhala, Tamil and Hindi films only and on a few occasions some popular English films. We hardly knew anything about the films of other countries and their cultures

I remember in the late 1950s, there was the Colombo Film Society which screened for serious minded and knowledgeable critics.

This was the scene in 1990. But in the 21st century, Lankans are fortunate in watching several international films. Even in Yaalpaanam, such films are exhibited.

The Theatre and the Novel

"Theatre is a sensuous and seductive genre. More than anybody else, it is the actor, who confronts the text as a critic and interprets. The director or producer sees a play in his mind first and seeks the actor to interpret it. Silence on a printed page is not felt in the same way t is felt on the stage. The critic cannot afford to be aloof from the players or avoid rehearsals, because theatre is a joint way of celebration," says Prof Cristopher Bigsby, who was the Head of the Department of English at the University of East Anglia. He was a specialist in American Literature, particularly the theatre.

He was in Lanka somewhere in the 1990s. In his talk Bigsby at the British Council in Colombo, he talked about the uncommon things between the theatre and the novel. The late Prof A J Gunawardene presiding the meeting noted that Christopher Bigsby was pioneering a new approach to theatre and theatre criticism.

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