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Sri Lanka Main Page


 

Performing Arts 


Sri Lankan cinema in past years has featured subjects such as family relationships, love stories and the years of conflict between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels. Many films are in the Sinhalese language and the Sri Lankan cinematic style is similar to bollywood, kollywood of Indian cinema.

The first film to be produced and shown in Sri Lanka was Kadawunu Poronduwa (The Broken Promise) which was released in 1947. The first colour film of Sri Lanka was Ranmuthu Duwa.

 

Afterwards there were many Sinhalese movies produced in Sri Lanka and some of them, such as Nidhanaya, received several international film awards. The most influential filmmaker in the history of Sri Lankan cinema is Lester James Peiris who has directed many movies of excellent quality which led to global acclaim. His latest film, Wekande Walauwa ("Mansion by the Lake") became the first movie to be submitted from Sri Lanka for the Best Foreign Language film award at the Academy Awards.

In 2005 the director Vimukthi Jayasundara became the first Sri Lankan to win the prestigious Camera dOr award for Best First Film, or any award for that matter, at the Cannes Film Festival for his Sinhalese language film Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land). Controversial filmmaker Asoka Handagama's films are considered by many in the Sri Lankan film world to be the best films of honest response to the ethnic conflict raged in the country for many years.

 


Prasanna Vithanage is one of Sri Lanka's most notable filmmakers. His films have won many awards, both local and international. Recent releases like 'Sooriya Arana', 'Samanala thatu', and 'Hiripoda wessa' have attracted Sri Lankans to cinemas. Sri Lankan films are usually in the Sinhalese language. Tamil language movies are also filmed in Sri Lanka but they are part of Kollywood which is Indian Tamil cinema. It is also known as Sri Lankan Tamil cinema in Sri Lanka. However some Kollywood films are based in Sri Lanka as well.

Music

The earliest music came from the theatre at a time when the traditional open-air drama (referred to in Sinhala as Kolam,  and Nadagam). In 1903 the first music album, Nurthi, was released through Radio Ceylon. Also Vernon Corea introduced Sri Lankan music in the English Service of Radio Ceylon.

In the early 1960s, Indian music in films greatly influenced Sri Lankan music and later Sri Lankan stars like Sunil Shantha found greater popularity among Indian people. By 1963, Radio Ceylon had more Indian listeners than Sri Lankan ones. The notable songwriters Mahagama Sekara and Ananda Samarakoon made a Sri Lankan music revolution. At the peak of this revolution, musicians such as W. D. Amaradeva, H.R. Jothipala, Milton Mallawarachchi, M.S. Fernando, Annesley Malewana and Clarence Wijewardene did great work.

A very popular type of music is the so-called Baila, a kind of dance music that originated from Portuguese music introduced to the island in colonial times

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