Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sri Lankan Art – Teek wechcha ape kalaawa!

In recent conversation with my fiancé, the point came in to the surface whether I’m losing my depth in art or not. Simply my answer was that now I’m more influenced by the stuff like Kill Bill, Demon Ananda’s pulp novels and Cowboy Bebop, so my motive now is to bring that atmosphere and tone in to our audience in any way I do art. That’s why I tend to look for Monroe and Jimi Hendrix in the stencil graffiti and more unorthodox concrete style in my poetry.

In Sri Lanka, virtually every art form is dominated by the work which consists of certain degree of visible depth and similarity to the reality. In films the applauded ones are reality based dramas directed by well renowned, award winning directors. The mainstream films lack everything, even a moderately good, original plot. In Sinhalese Literature the good ones are tend to be the translation of famous novels, and better original work is mainly popularized by the reality based themes. You can’t see western best selling kind of paper back thrillers or sexy pulp novels here. In drama – it’s same, In TV- it’s same, In paintings and drawings- it’s same. Damn-I’m bored… Even the Sri Lankan English Language drama and literature scene is not getting enough attention though they are trying to be different and more creative than their native counterparts. Why Sri Lankan film makers not doing horror movies? Why they are not going for simple romantic movies which are set in suburbs and based on ordinary people without sticking to weary bollywood formula? Why don’t writers try raunchy subjects and thrillers? Where’s Sri Lankan original techno, rave, trip hop, electronic or computer instrumental music?

What is the reason for this homogeneity? Is it because we are intellectually bankrupt? Or lack of finances for the innovation because of less audience and market scope? I don’t know… but the point which is important is that Sri Lankans try to be on the middle path to get the maximum benefit- not going to the extreme experimentalism or to the massive meaningful crowd pullers. Even if they go for either sides (very few) most of them are incorrect approaches or being neglected by majority which is not the case in other art-rich countries.

I hope somebody would break the shekels. I hope I will see the work similar to Quentin Tarantino here, the turntabilism, the pop art, simple romantic (not bollywood-formula bullshit) and trashy horror movies, and more street art too…

Oh baby! I have a dream…

(P.S. - Thanks for Somea and my fellow juniors in Uni for popularizing the word “Teek” and the word and usage borrowed from them.)


  1. What you say is all good but take another look at what you have written.
    "You can’t see western best selling kind of paper back thrillers or sexy pulp novels here"
    That's cos we are not westerners. Somewhere along the way we have lost ourselves. Come to think of it who are we? to quote Russel Peters, Sri Lankans are the lost Indians, which is basically true, except that we are the "banished" Indians. We have much more in common with the "bollywood-formula bullshit" as you call it than with Quentin Tarantino.
    "Where’s Sri Lankan original techno, rave, trip hop, electronic or computer instrumental music?" duh...What original?
    I agree with you on the horror movie thing though, because I think Sri Lanka has very good potential in the horror sector.(really..)

    What we need to realize is that we easterners have a different epistomology than the westerners and we should be true to this, in finding our own identity, be it in films, music or drama.

  2. Commenting on the 'easternmost' comment of the of the previous commenter.. however much he condemns the fact the writer have made on the lack of Sri Lankan thrillers or sexy pulp novels, the commenter won’t really be able to deny the fact that foreign paper backs sells here more than that of local authors.. so then where does the whole western eastern line come into play there? The flavor of our roots matter yes..but so does the air we breathe doesn’t it?? The fact here is not really of being westerners or easterners..if we stick to that argument we’d merely die inside the cocoon of being a caterpillar than being the butterfly we can be in an era where an equal sea touches every shore..
    And the ‘bollywood formula bullshit’ the writer has referred to, is much connected to the mainstream sop shit we see as bollywood..but in reality the Indian film industry may contain many masterpieces that have lived a short life simply since its beyond the boundaries of the ‘system’. The fact here is the risk and the practicality of deviating from the system norms of the industry or the art we practice.. Be it local Kill Bill or suwanda danuna jeevithe 101, the fact is how practical it is for the maker to make his plot a reality and how it would touch the audience. Here, the creators make a conscious decision of what can be touched on the shortest route possible. And many of that bollywood shit style is popular here, not because of the flavor it gives but merely since it’s the type of needs in activity the system has created in the minds of the audience.. Had they been given the chance to be exposed to diversified areas of art, I’m sure we’d be having a very rich and an intelligent group of viewers in this country. (This is exactly what the so called system wants to refrain)
    The social realism style of art we see here is mainly cos of the flavor of pain and suffer in life people go through and each one of them is trying to tell their own suffocation to the world.. I don’t see anything wrong in ti given the fact that art still could be considered a genuine mode of expression..Yet its fair for the writer to claim to be bored by everyone coming up with the same bloody struggle especially if he’s in a different layer of intellect, experience and expression. So to the writer I say that there must be more like you, who are bored…bored by the gap in the local works on fantasized art and constantly seeking out for escapes provided by Hollywood or East Asian works of art…if you are convinced about your ‘dream’ make the first step to go beyond the boredom of the system and if it sits in line with all those who are out there like you, you’d know you won’t be alone to fight your battle. Good luck!!!

  3. "foreign paper backs sells here more than that of local authors"
    How many people read english books let alone purchase them in Sri Lanka? would you call it the majority of Sri Lankans or a very few? So does this mean that the other "lindey inna gembo" doesn't read books? quite unlikely. I dont wont to elaborate more because if by now you dont get what I was trying to say, you never will, and I would be just wasting my time.
    a few English speaking colombians do not represent Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka is represented by the diversity that has molded and probably ruined this country.

  4. කොහොමවුනත් අපේ එවුන් පුරුදු වෙලා ඉන්නේ දෙන දෙයක් කාල වෙන එකක් කොපි කරලා ජීවත් වෙන්න කීයක් හරි හොයාගන්න නේ..එත් හැමදාම ඒ වැඩේ කරන්න පුළුවන් වෙන එකක් නැහැ.

    මේ උඩ ලියාපු ඇනොනිමා ටත් බ්ලොග් එකක් තිබ්බ නම් වැඩේ ලේසි.. :)

  5. කොහොමද වැඩේ ලේසි වෙන්නේ?
    ලංකාවේ අපිට වෙලා තියන ලොකුම හෙන ගෙඩිය තම අපෙය් ලාංකීයත්වය පිලිබඳ කිසිම හන්ගීමක් නොමැති වීම. සමහර සිංහල එවුන් සිංහල කතා කරන්ඩ බේරී බව කියන්ඩ කිසිම ලැජ්ජාවක් නෙහෙ (, එත් කීදෙනෙක් තමන්ට එන්ග්රීසි කතාකරන්ඩ බේරී බව පිළිගනීවිද? එහ වෙන එකක් නිසා නෙවේ අපෙය් තියන දීන ගති හන්ද.