First in a series of  books on films! 
Ilankai thirai ulaka munnodigal!
(Pioneers of Sri Lankan Cinema)

While the outstanding Sinhala language films made in Sri Lanka have earned respectability and appreciation in arty cinema of the world and thus deserving to be proudly called indigenous Sri Lankan cinema, most films made in Sinhala and Thamil in the island are far from greatness. This is understandable, because there is hardly any quality films, as in yesteryears, created in any part of the world at present. Hollywood, Digital Video, Action, Technology et al, have taken over artistic sensibility. There is no more serious cinema in a European style. One should recall the pioneering efforts made in Sri Lanka to make film making a viable enterprise and a thriving industry in our country. However stupid, alien, melodramatic and hotchpotch earlier Sinhala and Thamil films had been in the past, it is ungrateful to dismiss the pioneering brick-building that members of different communities in our little island, had made in the past. 

To put the records straight, a Sri Lankan writer in Thamil has compiled a little book which gives at least a few forgotten facts about the making of a Sri Lankan cinema. He is Thambyayah Thevathas a teacher, broadcaster, translator and author. As a translator of the Sinhala fiction of K. Jayathilake and Karunasena Jayalat the author should write this book in Sinhala as well for the benefit of the majority of readers in Sri Lanka. Some of the big names in the production of Sri Lankan films mainly in the Sinhala language are mentioned and brief write-ups on each one of them are included in this 245 - page book printed in Chennai, India. 

The book is the first in the series that the writer hopes to publish in succession. Specializing in filmography rather than critical evaluation. Thevathas has already published two other books on Sri Lankan Cinema. 

They were The Golden Age of the Sinhala Cinema and The Story of Thamil Cinema in Sri Lanka. The 40 pen-portraits of artists and businessmen featured in the book include the following: S. M. Nayagam, Henry Chandrawansa of Kerala origin, Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner, B. S. Krishnakumar, W. M. S. Tampoe, T. Somasekeran, K. Gunaratnam, M. Vedanayagam, Jabir A. Cader, Lenin Moraes, Joe Devanand, A. V. M. Vasgam, Helen Kumari, A. J. Vincent, M. Masthan, Rukmani Devi, V. P. Ganeshan, K. Thavamani Devi, Mohideen Beig, A. S. Rajah, S. N. Danaratnam, V. S. Muttuvelu-Ranjani, R. Muttusamy, Anton Gregory, M. K. Rocksamy, Robin Tampoe, S. Ramanathan, K. S. Balachandran, M. S. Anandan, Eelathu Rethinam, K. P. K. Balasingham, V. S. Thurairajah and K. Venkat. 

Ilankai thirai ulaka munnodigal!
(Pioneers of Sri Lankan Cinema)
Author: Thambyayah Thevathas
Available at: Poobalasingham Bookshop ,
Colombo, Sri Lanka 
Courtesy: Sunday Observer,Colombo,Sri Lanka

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