‘Spotlight’ will focus on films, film-related matters and film personalities
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
This is the first of a new, regular column titled ‘Spotlight’ to be written by me for the Daily FT. Most readers who have followed my earlier writings in English newspapers such as The Island, Sunday Times, The Hindu, The Sunday Leader, The Nation, The Bottom Line and currently on Daily Mirror would know that I generally write on political matters and politicians. This column in the Daily FT however would be different. The ‘Spotlight’ in Daily FT would focus on films, film related matters and film personalities.
I have been – and still am – an aficionado of movies and movie matters since childhood. Apart from being an avid film goer I also read quite a lot of magazines, journals and books on cinema and cinema related matters. When I was a recipient of a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, most of the courses I followed for audits were in the sphere of cinematic studies.
Many of my friends and relatives who are aware of my passion for films have been surprised and puzzled at this lesser-known aspect of my personality. What I say to them is that I grew up with cinema and cinema grew on me.
For several years, nay decades, in the past I have nursed the fond hope that I could write a regular column on cinema. I have written occasionally on cinema-related topics but what I yearned for was to write a regular cinema column in a Sri Lankan newspaper; a cinema column that would be informative and entertaining without being too serious or too frivolous. My Editors, however, would lend a sympathetic ear and then gently urge me to continue writing articles on politics.
Things took a different positive turn last year when I visited Sri Lanka after an absence of 25 years. A conversation in Colombo with Wijeya Newspapers Chairman Ranjit Wijewardene and his son Sujan Wijewardene, CEO of Wijeya Newspapers, followed subsequently by an exchange of e-mails created an opportunity for me to write another column for the Daily FT in addition to my weekly column for the Daily Mirror.
Related discussions on the matter with Daily FT Editor Nisthar Cassim and Deputy Editor Marianne David resulted in a most welcome outcome for me. The Daily FT was amenable to my writing a cinema column instead of a political column for the paper. Nisthar, being the enterprising Editor that he is, observed with a smile, “I will be happy if you can write one or two articles on politics too in the future.” I agreed.
Despite my elation and excitement at the prospect of realising my long-cherished dream of writing a column on cinema, there were some unforeseen problems on my side. Thus there was a delay in beginning this column entirely due to lapses on my part. As a result the ‘Spotlight’ which should have shed light early this year is being switched on now in July.
This film industry is one which manufactures dreams. The commencement of this column on films, film-related matters and film personalities is a dream come true for me. It is my sincere hope that the readers of Daily FT will enjoy sharing this dream along with me as the ‘Spotlight’ starts shining regularly in the coming weeks.