Sumithra peries looking back in nostalgia-By Uditha Devapriya Source:Island Sri Lanka’s oldest living filmmaker, Sumitra Peries, stands shoulder to shoulder with South Asia’s pioneering woman artist-intellectuals, including her childhood heroine, Minnette de Silva. Yet, barring a comprehensive biography by Vilasnee Tampoe-Hautin, no writer has attempted to locate her life and work in the pantheon of South Asian cinema. A version of this article appeared in Himal Mag Southasia late last month. The cinema of South Asia blows up in a riot of colour and spectacle, offering a melange of romance, action, and history. Despite its modest scale, this is one of the biggest film industries in the world, worth around 180 billion rupees (roughly 2.4 billion dollars) in India alone. Today, it has transformed into a category of its own, mixing different genres and, at least in India, earning the apt moniker “masala cinema.” However, while many scholars have written ...

Read More →

Looking back: Sagara Jalaya-By Uditha Devapriya Source:Island The first Sinhala film I saw was Chandi Shyama. It did not, I confess, leave much of a good impression on me. The second, Madol Doowa, caught my fancies. The third did not catch my fancies, but it left a better impression. This was Sagara Jalaya. Sumitra Peries’s fifth film, Sagara Jalaya is considered among her best work today. Yet, in another sense, it is hardly considered at all. While critics and writers are willing to ascribe to it the high place it occupies today, they do not pay to it the kind of attention they readily give to Sumitra’s other films, most prominently Gehenu Lamayi and Ganga Addara. That is hardly a fate suffered by Sagara Jalaya only, of course: critics also ignore her later work, in particular Sakman Maluwa, which to me shows Sumitra at her most mature. But in the case of Sagara Jalaya, a more difficult film, the omission seems more ...

Read More →