31st Sarasaviya Film Festival
Best actressâ€™s Award received by Dilhani Ekanayake on behalf of
Popular actress Meena Kumari receives the merit award for her
performance in Asani Warsha
Award for the most popular film in 2006 Hiripodawessa received by
the producer Soma Edirisinghe
Renuka Balasuriya receives the award for the most popular film in
2005 Samanala Thatu
Channa Perera receives the Most Popular actorâ€™s award for 2006
Most popular actressâ€™s award received by Malani Fonseka on behalf of
D. B. Nihalsinghe
Damith Fonseka arrives
Abeywardene Balasuriya and Niranjala Sarojini
The Sarasaviya Film festival which celebrates its 31st year is a
mother of all film festivals in Sri Lanka. Having been taken off the
ground as far back as 1964, it remains though it had its own ups and
downs, to its founding ideals of fostering and appreciating the Sinhala
cinema and also as the jewel of Sri Lankan film festivals.
At the early stages of the film festival, the Sarasaviya was held in
locations away from the city fearing that the noise would disrupt the
proceedings. Over the years, it has become one of the much-awaited
events in the cultural calendar for both the film viewers and stake
holders in the medium.
Some critics are of view that the sixties were the golden era of
Sinhala cinema. It was in the sixties that the Sinhala cinema which was
shot entirely at studios, were taken out of the studios with the
emergence of Rekhawa in 1956 as the first artistic film. Rekhawa not
only led to the emergence of artistic and classical Sri Lankan cinema
but also paved way for generation of film makers from Dr. Lester James
Peries to contemporary film makers.
Piyasiri Gunaratne, G. D. L. Perera, Titus Totawatta, Tissa
Liyanasuriya, Siri Gunasinghe, Sugathapala Senerath Yapa, D. B.
Nihalsinghe, Dharmasena Pathiraja, Ranjith Lal, Vijaya Dharmashri and
Amaranath Jayatilake, followed the footsteps of the forefathers of
The Sinhala films were nourished by generation of talented actors and
actresses who were on par with their counterparts in the world cinema.
Gamini Fonseka, Joe Abeywickreme, Tony Ranasinghe were outstanding in
portraying complex characters and became screen idols while Malini
Fonseka, Irangani Serasinghe, Swarna Malawarachchi, Nadeeka Gunasekara,
Vijaya Kumaranatunga, Somalatha Subasinghe, Kaushalya Fernando, Wasanthi
Chathurani played leading women roles.
From the very inception of the film festival, the Saraviya Film
festival presented awards for best director, the actor, the best actress
and the most popular actor of the year.
The best director awards include Dr. Lester James Peries (Gamperaliya)
in 1964, Mike Wilson and Tissa Liyanasuriya (Gatavarayo) in 1965, Tissa
Liyanasuriya (Saravita), Lester James Peries (Sanasuma Kotanada), Siri
Gunasinghe (Satsamudura). G. D. L. Perera won the best director>s award
for 'Golu Hadawatha'.
Entertaining the audience Pix by Marlon Karunarathne and Saman Sri
Titus Totawatte (Hadaya) in 1980, Sumithra Peries (Ganga Addara),
Gamini Fonseka (Sagarayak Meda) 1982, Tissa Abesekara (Maha Gedara),
Wasantha Obeysekara (Dadayama), Sumithra Peries (Maya), Dharmasiri
Bandaranaike (Sudilage Katawa), D. B. Nihalsinghe 1987 (Maldeniye
Simiyon), Tissa Abeysekara (Viragaya), Sumithra Peries (Sagara Jayala
Madi Haduwa Nuba Singda), Paraakrama Niriella (Sirimadura), H. D.
Premaratne (Palama Yata), D. B. Nihalsinghe (Kelimadala), H. D.
Premaratne (Kulageya), Vijaya Dharmasri (Gurugedara), Gamini Fonseka (Nomiyena
Minissu), H. D. Premaratne (Seilama), Sumithra Peries (Lokuduwa) and
Dharmasiri Bandaranayake's 'Bawa Duka' and in 2002 Benet Ratnayake won
the best director for 'Asvasuma' followed by Wasantha Obeysekara 'Salelu
Varama' and Inokaa Satyangani's 'Sulan Kirilli' (Wind Bird). May the
Sarasaviya film festival grow from strength to strength and hopefully
would improve its content, sustaining an informed film culture.