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

Views - 17050 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 - 15435 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 - 14749 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 - 16850 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 - 13876 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 - 16064 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 - 20168 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 - 15142 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 - 3794 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 - 14467 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 - 10973 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 - 7805 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 - 7128 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 - 16058 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 - 11190 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 - 11775 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 - 15124 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 - 18262 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


Lester James Peries and the making of path-breaking ‘Rekava’

Views - 19849 Monday, 14 July 2014 00:20

‘Rekava’ or the line of destiny was the path-breaking film by Lester James Peries which altered the destiny of Sinhala cinema. (Though Rekava is spelled with both a ‘v’ as well as a ‘w’ in English, I am sticking to v because the original


Today's Columnists

Courting democracy; Housing disaster?

Thursday, 15 November 2018

A small step was taken by a sovereign court the day before yesterday. It was a giant leap for the supremacy of the Constitution over all three arms of government in a recently benighted Sri Lanka. As well as being the tangible proof of intra-governme


Sri Lanka’s Judiciary in its finest hour

Thursday, 15 November 2018

“We must never forget that the only real source of power we as judges can tap is the respect of the people” –Justice Thurgood Marshall


When scholars turn slayers of reason

Thursday, 15 November 2018

“… I think, that the intellectual is an individual endowed with a faculty of representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public. And this role has an edge to it, and cannot be


A stable democracy is a prerequisite for the wellbeing of Sri Lankans

Thursday, 15 November 2018

In Sri Lanka, despite the complexity of overlapping policies, the slow pace in implementing economic policies has been of central concern in the past few years. The current political state in Sri Lanka poses a series of e


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