Jothi, always alive in our hearts

By Ramesh Uvais
It is hard to imagine that Sri Lanka's most popular vocalist H.R. Jothipala who mesmerised the masses with his irreplaceable voice, has not been among us for 16 years.

Though the nation was unfortunate to lose him on July 7, 1987, he is regarded as the most popular people's singer even today.

His demise was a stunning blow particularly to the film industry which is still struggling to find a versatile playback voice to replace Jothi. Some critics are of the view that Jothi's demise was a major cause for the apparent downfall of the Sinhala cinema.

Hettiarachchige Reginald Jothipala, born on February 12, 1936 studied at St. Lawrence College, Maradana and St.John's College, Dematagoda but never studied music as a subject even in later stages. As a schoolboy poor Jothi used to spend time in nearby tea kiosks listening to songs as his home did not possess a radio.

One of the luckiest things that happened to young Jothi's life was his meeting with director Cyril P. Abeyratne and Ceylon Entertainment's chief Jabir A. Cader who after realizing Jothi's aptitude for singing agreed to give him the much awaited break in their film Surathalee. Jothi gradually began to taste popularity as the song 'Siriyame sara' under music director T.R. Papa became an instant hit. It did not take long for him to rise to the top carrying along with him the tag of being the best with an excellent screen voice.

His popular number Puruthugeesikaraya sung to the tunes of the country's reputed musician Sunil Shantha in Dr. Lester James Peiris' Sandeshaya helped him reach the pinnacle of success. Jothi, who was never known to be purse-proud always mingled with the common man and also cultivated healthy relationships with fellow artistes, although a section started to realise his worth only after his death.

Apart from enriching the Sinhala cinema as a playback singer in more than 200 films, Jothi had sung more than 5,000 songs in his career spanning over 3 decades.

The father of four daughters also acted in several films after making his acting debut in Robin Tampoe's Sudu Sande Kalu Wala.

A unique feature in Jothi was his gifted knack in varying his voice to resemble the actor he sang for. The late Jothipala will always be fondly remembered as a man who endowed permanence on so many films, keeping them alive in public memory.

‘Irasma’:Value of parental love on Screen

Ranjith Bandara Attanayake
"Irasma, the visual creation of film director Ariyarathna Vithana, is now on the silver screen at theatres of National Film Corporation.

Vithana has set an example to elders by his film, though it evolves around a child, who has lost parental love due to frequent quarrels between her parents.

Though this is not a new theme to the film world, Ariyarathna's presentation is taken a totally novel turn. The film "Punchi Suranganavi" too spoke of the same problem.In one scene, the brawl between the father and mother is not depicted directly. The camera is focused towards them from a low angle, as if the spectators are watching it from under a table. Irasma is intimidated while her parents fight and she hides under the dining table.

Parental love is so immence that ‘Irasma’ (Ama Wijesekera) is reminded of her beloved mother when she was acting in a school drama as Ehelepola Kumarihamy (wife of Ehelepola Adikaram) and faints. There the mental trauma is indicated in a very comprehensive manner through this film. That credit should go to Anoma Ratnayake too who wrote the novel "Irasma."

Irasma's uncle (Douglas Ranasinghe) tells Irasma that her father (Priyankara Ratnayake) has sent her a brand new car from a foreign country (Nigeria) where her father had gone to work. Surely no child will ever appreciate or will be happy to become an owner of a new car if that child is separated from his/her parents. There a question arises as to whether that scene appeals to the audience. Because it is an universal fact that highest happiness for children remains not on material things but on their parents.

Let the film "Irasma" convey a message to the millions of parents in our country who have the tendency of quarrelling or being in stand offs for trivial reasons that have grave repecussions on innocent children, shattering their future irrevocably.

Ama Wijesekera who plays the main role seems to be a promising actress. Dulika Marapana is mediocre in her performance. Priyankara Ratnayake who has more experience on stage dramas has a sort of 'artificial acting' and lacks facial expressions. Adding a scene of a full Robot for the first time will be a novel experience, specially to Sinhala filmgoers.

Film Director Ariyarathna's "Irasma" was awarded a certificate of merit at the 12th Prix Leonardo International Film Festival held at Parma, Italy.

His first children's film "Athuru Mithuru" received four Presidential Awards in 1987 and represented Sri Lanka at the Moscow International Film Festival and Bangalore International Children's Film Festival. His short film "Thrupthi" on children’s rights represented Sri Lanka at the Chicago International Film Festival."Irasma" casts include Irangani Serasinghe, Maurine Charuri, Hirushini Abewardena and other child artistes too.

Camera has been handled by Suminda Weerasingha, Victor Ratnayake has provided music and Nanda Malini has sung the theme song. Lyrics by Kumaradasa Saputhanthri. Make up artiste is J. Suranimala. Milton Perera is Art Director. "Irasma" is edited by Denzil Jayaweera.

The multi-faceted Ranjith

The now popular 'peduru party' concept was pioneered by four talented Lankans - Herbert Ranjith Peiris, H. R. Jothipala, Mahinda Tilakaratne and Dolak player Fuji more than three decades ago.

Significantly, the death anniversaries of the concept's two prime movers - H. R. Jothipala and Herbert Ranjith Peiris - fall on the same day, July 7.

Herbert Ranjith passed away on July 7 two years ago as the film he made after 17 years - Hai Hui Babi Achchi - was released in film circuits.

The lovable and outspoken showbiz man proved his capabilities as an artist, musician, film and teledrama director, screenplay writer, lyricist and art director after he entered the scene as part of a chorus in Prof. Ediriweera Sarathchandra's Maname stage drama.

Ranjith demonstrated his passion for humour through the TV visuals of the popular Gypsies number 'Singnore'.

Ranjith also gripped the nation with teledrams - especially Irata Muwawen, better known as the 'string-hopper house story'. (RU)

'Hima Warusa'coming

The location shooting of Laxman Pushpakumara's second tele-drama 'Hima Warusa' (Snow Fall) will commence next month at various locations at Hantana, Kandy.

Cast include Sriyantha Mendis, Nilmini Tennakoon, Tissa Udangamuwa, Grace A

riyawimal, Jagath Chamila, Susantha Chandramali, Sarath Kothalawela, Ruwanthi Mangala, Nilanthi Dias and Chathura Weerawardena.

Daya Sooriya Arachchi will handle the camera.

Picture shows chief guest veteran Film Director Amaranath Jayatileka lighting the traditional oil lamp at the 'Muhurath' ceremony held at R.S. Video Centre, Kalubowila, recently. Director Pushpakumara (in red shirt behind the chief guest) is also in the picture.

Musical explosion in Kandy

“Mega Musical Show” featuring some of the top artistes in the country will come alive in Kandy on July 12 at the Dharmaraja College Auditorium at 6.30 p.m

This show would bring back Sohan and the X'periments to Kandy after five years and would involve Annesley Malawana, Indrani Perera, Anil Bharathi, Ronnie Leitch, Sohan, Baby Shanika and Ginger.

In fact this would be Annesley's 2nd Show in Kandy after the successful Stars of the 70's Show in 2001. This show is Compered by Clifford Richard and with dancing provided by Channa Wijewardene's Dance Troupe is certain to catch the imagination of the entertainment-starved public in Kandy.

The show is organised and will be presented by Golden Key Credit Card Company, which has organised various other events ranging from Night Club Promotions, Weekend Promotions, Kiddies Carnivals and Jazz Shows, Dinner Dances and many other events.

Also Golden Key is hoping to arrange many entertainment programmes including foreign shows in the near future. According to their Asst. General Manager Credit Card Division Orville Pereira of The Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd., quite a few foreign acts are lined up for next year. “ It will be like our good old days. We did bring many top names in the world to the Sri Lankan soil.The years to come will be like that” he concluded.

Kalan back to screen after 17 years

Veteran actor Amarasiri Kalansuriya, after a 17 year lapse has come back to the cinema, playing a major role in Udayakantha Warnasuriya's latest film, "Diya Yata Gindara".

Kalansuriya popularly known as "Kalang", who has acted in 54 films, came to the silver screen playing a role in Sugathapala Senarath Yapa's "Hanthane Kathawa" with that ever popular actor, Vijaya Kumaratunge. This brilliant actor won the Best Actor's award in 1974 for his very second attempt in Dharmasiri Pathiraja's "Ahas Gawwa".

However, Kalang temporarily left the cinema due to the numerous difficulties and hardships he had to undergo in his personal life. He played more challenging roles in real life as a labourer, salesman and businessman which were completely different to his roles on the screen.

Then came his second entry to the cinema with H. D. Premaratne's "Apeksha" and the role he played brought him another Best Actor's award along with several other OCIC presentations in 1978.

He was destined for more remarkable roles in the local cinema, some of them being H. D.'s famous film "Parithyagaya" (Sacrifice) and "Podi Wije" in which he played the stellar role.

Kalansuriya who bade goodbye to the silver screen due to the setbacks the industry was facing, has returned after 17 years of silence.