From stardom fantasy to the ground reality | Daily News

From stardom fantasy to the ground reality

Tag-Focus-on-Books.jpgThis is the season of books. The readers are given the option of selecting what to read. While watching the endless churning out of books, the readers have to be cautious as to what book they should buy.

As one reads the latest Sinhala novel written by the well known television producer Parakrama Ekanayaka, the basic feeling that seeps into the mind is the intensity in which some of the facets of the much discussed ‘entertainment industry’ plunges an artiste into a pseudo commercialistic frame of reference where the pangs of pain and the gravity of restlessness in the competition overshadows and reduces the human qualities to the lowest possible manner unimaginative.

But one would just remark that the situation cannot be reversed or improved as it stands in that manner. Ekanayaka titles his creation as ‘Tikiriliya Tharu Medde Giya (Fast and Fast, Surasa book 2015) which literally means the ‘damsel named Tikiri or went into the midst of stars’ referring to the stardom in the visual media with special reference to television musical shows familiar to the present day audiences. Some of these shows are titled as ‘superstar’ shows where a chance is given to amateurs to rise on the ladder of success to become a star. It is said that newcomers are drawn from various social quarters, some from schools and some from other units of execution and also from nowhere finding an identity in the competitive media culture circles.z_p26-From-stardom.jpg

It is believed that the way or the steps ahead are both winding and uneasy dependable on various factors. Those who are selected in the first round and several other rounds are being nurtured by individuals of varying types who also have something to gain, like in many a middleman process. The protagonist in this narrative named Tikiriliya too encounters a few male helpers who though come in the guise of helpers are seen turning into opportunistic self helpers who succumb to lecherous means and other physical and mental corruptions unfathomable.

As Ekanayaka tries his best to expose these situations more dramatically than in descriptions making entire work look more an exposure than a well made narrative with a beginning middle and an end. The writer makes use of the well known Sinhala limerick ‘tikiri tikiri tikiriliya kalet aran lindata giya’ and turns the embedded folk meaning into a more modernistic parable. In the age old Sinhala limerick the intrinsic sense of the folk creator is to depict the picture of a village damsel Tikiri who is tender goes to fetch water from the well with her clay pot. But it so happens that an alligator (kabaragoya) frightens her by roaming round the well. Then she is bitten by the water snake (diyabariya) in the well. It is mere fun and fantasy in the surface layer but bears a metaphorical age old sense which could give numerous other layers of meanings like ‘little miss muffet sat on a tuffet’ or any other folk verse around the world.

As a matter of fact the folk verses of varying types could be twisted into express new experiences depicting the contemporary consciousness which is by and large the most significant factor that could be interpreted creatively. The character of Tikiriliya is depicted as a young girl who could sing and anticipated a world of futuristic glory by which she would be elevated to a better plane of exhibiting her talent as a singer. Though this happened and continues to happen the destiny of the character Tikiriliya is shown as a victim of circumstances. The stardom to which she enters is shown as challenging and competitive. She is shown as well groomed in knowledge acquisition in the company of her father mother and some of her nearest and dearest friends and well wishers.

But circumstances drive her gradually to areas of darkness. At times she is deceived by pretenders and at times by hoodwinkers in the show business. Ekanayaka in a series of flashbacks shows in episodic form the intensity in which this happens. The narrator Tikiriliya herself brings the human experience of the central factors a tragicomic nature that drove her to a calamity that culminates in her actual dissociation from the show business.

The episodes look more like a series of visual situations with interviews and chitchats intermingled. This creative layer is sensitively portrayed. Ekanayaka has a mission to fulfil as a contemporary writer. He does not make a sentimental issue out of her experiences nor does he attempt sensationalize the stark issues of the entertainment business. Instead he tries to present via the series of experiences of Tikiriliya, to enlighten the reader on a much hidden media exposure.

Prior to this effort in the field of Sinhala narratives a few works of this type had appeared with varying differences. One of the pioneer narratives titled Dona Kamalawathie, was written in the late sixties by the veteran Sinhala journalist Gunadasa Liyanage, depicting the calamities and tragedies in the life of a young girl who went in search of a radio communicator profession.

Then came another narrative on the broadcast issues pertaining to the popular links of the disc jockeying techniques and intimacies of the song lovers that happened to be a popular item in the broadcasting system before the advent of television.

The narrative is titled as Kurulu Hadavata written by Liyanage Amarakirthi. Quite recently a well written narrative titled ‘Clara’ came to be written by the poet Parakrama Kodituvakku. This narrative unfortunately passed without much discussion on the part of the literary critics though it had popular acclaim running to several editions.

The work by Parakrama Kodituvakku basically rested on the actual life episodes of the popular Sinhala singer cum musician Clarence Wijewardhana. I felt that the work of the latter is somewhat similar in the actual vision than the structure to the creative imagination of the writer Ekanayaka.

But both works need more discussion, as they inevitably open new vistas in the creative field. The work of Ekanayaka though rests on a series of flashbacks as presented by a village damsel who had the failure in obtaining the desired opportunity of becoming a ‘singing star’ nevertheless is not reduced to a mere tragic disillusion.

The writer Ekanayaka makes the protagonist look back in realisation of what actually befell on her Thus the narrative is more a positive life giving venture.

The writer makes use of the folk idiom and the folk beliefs to the brim enabling the reader to feel the pulse of a new parable worthy of writing.