Columnists

Vasantha Obeysekere, his house on Lauries Road and ‘Dadayama’

Views - 5776 Saturday, 6 May 2017 00:02

    Versatile Film Director and Script Writer Vasantha Obeysekere breathed his last on 8 April. Vasantha, born on 29 December 1937, was 79 years of age when he passed away peacefully in Colombo.  In a creative care


Lester James Peries, the legendary pioneer of authentic Sri Lankan cinema

Views - 7218 Saturday, 8 April 2017 00:02

    The doyen of Sinhala cinema celebrated his 98th birthday on 5 April     If I were to pose the question “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best Lankan filmmaker


First Sinhala talkie ‘Kadawunu Poronduwa’ was released 70 years ago

Views - 8351 Saturday, 21 January 2017 03:20

History was made 70 years ago when the film ‘Kadawunu Poronduwa’ (Broken Promise) premiered at the Kingsley Theatre in Colombo on 21 January 1947. The Chief Guest was D.S. Senanayake, Minister of Agriculture and Lands under the State C


Action hero Gamini Fonseka was the first superstar of Sinhala cinema

Views - 13078 Saturday, 24 December 2016 00:10

‘Spotlight’ beams this week on Gamini Fonseka, the first superstar of Sinhala cinema. I had begun preparing this article many months ago to mark the 80th birth anniversary of Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka who was born on 21 M


When actress Jayalalithaa reigned as uncrowned Queen of Tamil cinema

Views - 10161 Saturday, 17 December 2016 00:10

The recent demise of alluring actress turned powerful politico Jayalalithaa Jayaram has caused a void in the politics of India’s Tamil Nadu state.  The 68-year-leader of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK)


Maestro W. D. Amaradeva created a distinctive genre of Sinhala music

Views - 14718 Saturday, 3 December 2016 00:10

     Renowned Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and music composer W.D. Amaradeva passed away in a Colombo hospital on 3 November, just one month short of his 89th birthday.  Millions of Lankan rasikas scattered


“Marikkar” Ramdas: The Brahmin who transformed into a Muslim

Views - 10860 Saturday, 16 July 2016 00:05

        “Marikkar” Ramdas has passed away! Sadness spread among numerous fans of Sri Lankan origin scattered widely in different parts of the globe as news of the demise of th


Southern skylark Susheela soars to ‘record’ heights in singing film songs

Views - 13513 Saturday, 11 June 2016 00:10

   An indispensable feature of Indian language films are the song sequences. The songs are usually picturised on actors or actresses who lip-synch them on screen. The voices we hear belong to off-screen singers known gen


An ‘affair’ of the mind between a nubile undergrad and her ageing professor

Views - 15569 Saturday, 28 May 2016 00:36

Asoka Handagama Asoka Handagama’s latest film ‘Let Her Cry’ is currently being shown in theatres on a limited run from 13 May to 10 June. The director apparently preferred to utilise the gap in between already-scheduled r


Kandy-born actor-politico “MGR” reigned supreme in Tamil Nadu cinema and politics

Views - 18223 Saturday, 20 February 2016 00:05

There was a time when the magical initials MGR were a household name in the Tamil-speaking homes of countries with a substantial population of Tamils, including India and Sri Lanka. The initials referred to swashbuckling actor M.G. Ramach


‘Lanka-friendly’ Indian actress Asin weds entrepreneur Rahul in grand style

Views - 17764 Friday, 29 January 2016 23:43

An adorable actress with lovely looks being swept off her feet by an efficacious entrepreneur with dashing features into a grand wedding is the romantic stuff modern fairy tales are made of. No wonder then that Indian ne


Uncrowned monarch of humorous actors in Tamil movies

Views - 14242 Saturday, 19 December 2015 00:56

By D. B. S. Jeyaraj An integral part of the Tamil Film tradition has been humour. While a few films have been devoted to comedy alone the bulk of Tamil movies have had actors playing out amusing roles evoking mirth and laughter. T


Villain of Tamil cinema who terrified people with his grimaces and scowls

Views - 16562 Saturday, 28 November 2015 00:20

The eighth death anniversary of a man named Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N. Nambiar fell on 19 November. He was 89 years of age at the time of his death. Nambiar was a terrible villain who could terrify people by merely grimacing and sc


Gamini Fonseka, Lester James Peries and the milestone movie ‘Nidhanaya’

Views - 15172 Saturday, 3 October 2015 00:10

Gamini Fonseka    Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka, known generally as Gamini Fonseka – the uncrowned monarch of Sinhala cinema – passed away at the age of 68 on 30 September 2004. Gamini was one of my


Indigenous Tamil cinema in Sri Lanka before ‘Black July’

Views - 14411 Saturday, 26 September 2015 00:02

 Athanas Jesurasa ​ “Yaarlpaanam” (Jaffna/Yapanaya) regarded by many as the cultural capital of the “Ilangai Thamizhar” of Sri Lanka hosted an international film festival from 15 to 21 Septem


Geetha stars in new role as Galle MP

Views - 16723 Saturday, 5 September 2015 00:01

Geetha Kumarasinghe ​ Elections are over and a new Parliament has been elected. The political excitement however is yet to subside. ‘Spotlight’ returns after a brief interval to focus on films, film


Remembering Kadirgamar on his 10th death anniversary

Views - 13580 Saturday, 8 August 2015 00:00

Lakshman Kadirgamar   ‘Spotlight’ will move away from its usual focus on movies and movie-related topics this week and beam on an illustrious personality of Sri Lanka whose 10th death anniversary falls on


M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, the ‘Monarchs of Light Music’ in Tamil cinema

Views - 15653 Saturday, 18 July 2015 00:05

The Chief Minster greets the recipients of the award MSV and TKR as Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan look on Watching Tamil movies on screen and listening to Tamil film songs over radio was an integral part of life for me as a


“Kaadhal Mannan” Gemini Ganesan, romantic actor king of Tamil cinema

Views - 15858 Saturday, 11 July 2015 00:05

In writing last week about legendary film actor Tony Ranasinghe, I referred to the comment by Malani Fonseka about Tony being the greatest romantic lover in Sinhala films. The queen of Sinhala cinema who has acted in about 40 fil


Tony Ranasinghe: the greatest character actor and romantic lover in Sinhala cinema

Views - 14877 Saturday, 4 July 2015 01:30

    “Tony as an actor is the best character-based actor not even witnessed in the Indian screen. He has an actor within himself who emerges at the correct moment. Tony Ranasinghe is the best charac


Farewell, Sir Christopher Lee

Views - 3733 Saturday, 13 June 2015 00:10

Legendary movie villain played Dracula, Fu Manchu, Scaramanga, Saruman and Dooku ​ Sir Christopher Lee   There was a time when I was afflicted by the supernatural in the form of ghost stories


Cannes award-winning ‘Dheepan’ arouses much interest in Sri Lanka

Views - 14083 Saturday, 6 June 2015 00:20

  Cannes is a city on the picturesque French Riviera-Mediterranean coast in South-Eastern France. It is classified as a French commune which is an administrative division roughly equivalent to a municipality. The pride of


P. Leela, ‘forgotten’ singer who sang unforgettable film songs

Views - 10607 Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:10

Baburaj, Abhayadev and P. Leela in an undated recording session     I was pleasantly surprised this week when a South Indian journal asked me to revise an article I had written earlier about the sin


Katharine “Kate” Hepburn holds Oscar record for most wins in acting category

Views - 7735 Saturday, 16 May 2015 02:31

 Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year 12 May was the birthday of an actress who was described by the American Film Institute as the “greatest American screen legend” among female stars


Gregory Peck’s flu cured by ginger-coriander tea when filming in Ceylon

Views - 7066 Sunday, 10 May 2015 16:45

The ‘Spotlight’ column returns after a lengthy interval. The focus this time is on American actor Gregory Peck. There is no particular reason other than nostalgia for writing about this former Hollywood idol at this time. Born in 1916, Pe


Monumental rise of a mischievous boy from Medamulana

Views - 15953 Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:47

Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa, known to his country and the world at large as Mahinda Rajapaksa, celebrated his 69th birthday yesterday (18 November). Sri Lanka’s fifth Executive President has been at the helm of the nation for nine years since Novembe


Gamini Fonseka and Lester James Peries Cinematic relationship of an actor and director

Views - 11072 Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:10

Ten years ago on 30 September the brightest light of Sri Lankan cinema went out. Gamini Fonseka, the monarch of Sinhala moviedom, passed away peacefully on that day. Gamini Fonseka was my favourite actor on the Sinhala silver screen and became an


Jayalalithaa in her actress avatar sparkled on the silver screen

Views - 11628 Saturday, 11 October 2014 00:37

The recent conviction and consequent imprisonment of Jayalalithaa Jayaram on charges of acquiring disproportionate wealth during her past term of office (1991-96) has resulted in the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister being under media spotlight for ma


Antonioni masterpiece ‘L’Avventura’ at International Film Festival Colombo

Views - 15052 Saturday, 13 September 2014 00:40

In my earlier writings on the film scene in Sri Lanka before launching the ‘Spotlight’ column, there were two things I emphasised as being necessary for the upliftment of serious cinema in the island – one was the need to establish a fu


Sivaji Ganesan: Tamil cinema’s versatile actor par excellence

Views - 17923 Saturday, 26 July 2014 04:14

The first Tamil film which impacted on me greatly during childhood was ‘Veera Pandiya Kattabomman’. It was a kind of bio-picture about a ‘Paalayakkaaran’ or Polygar (feudal chieftain) who defied the British during the last decade of the 18th


  • 1
  • 2

Today's Columnists

Media Freedom: alive and not so well… is it?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Today the only corpses in sight are those lining the bullpen – critics and social commentators who have fallen asleep at their desks, lulled by a democracy that offers peace but pre-empts justice. Oscar Wilde,


Rise of sustainable electric automobiles and the end of petrol and diesel vehicles

Friday, 22 September 2017

The past three years have been the hottest in recorded history and 2017 is already projected to be hotter than 2016! The cause for this heating up of the planet is clearly due to the excessive burning of fossil fuels.


The cry of ‘export or perish’ becoming real to Sri Lanka

Friday, 22 September 2017

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking at the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Annual Committee held in Colombo said for Sri Lanka to promote exports and investment, the Government will soon introduce several laws in


Why are interest rates high?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The general public is concerned about the high level of interest rates prevailing in the recent past. Interest rates influences the day-to-day life of ordinary people as it is the benchmark for all economic decisions.


Columnists More