Posts Categorized: Arts & Culture

Performing Politics

State Power, Ethnicity and Gender in Sri Lanka by Janet O’Shea, Dance Chronicle, 34:146–151, 2011 Review of Susan A. Reed’s 2009 book “Dance and the Nation: Performance, Ritual, and Politics in Sri Lanka” 288 pp. with DVD. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009. $29.95 paper. ISBN – 13: 978-0-29923-164-4 Performing Politics O’Shea review 2011 Reed’s… Read more »

Bharatanatyam in Sri Lankan Sinhalese Films & in Sri Lanka

by Cinema Nrityagharana blog, June 24, 2014 While on a zealous search to see what kinds of dance could be found in the cinema of Sri Lanka, India’s island neighbor to the south, I was completely perplexed when I stumbled onto this Bharatanatyam-based dance in the 1965 Sinhala film Hathara Maha Nidhanaya: Starts :1:07 https://youtu.be/6RcYIYKk1AE My… Read more »

‘Jagame Thandhiram’ Movie Review #2

by Natalia Winkleman, The New York Times, June 21, 2021 ‘Jagame Thandhiram’ Review: Scheme, Slaughter, Repeat An intrepid gangster maneuvers between rival crime lords in the glossy drama “Jagame Thandhiram.” The movie (on Netflix) follows Suruli (Dhanush), whose merciless killing sprees earn him an invitation to serve under a wealthy British megalomaniac. Seduced by a… Read more »

‘Jagame Thandhiram’ Movie Review

Guns, warfare, a pressing issue and a ricochet bullet by Srivatsan S, The Hindu, Chennai, India, June 18, 2021 Karthik Subbaraj’s latest wants to have a bit of everything: a drama with an ultra-cool gangster (Dhanush) at the centre, a serious political film dealing with a global issue, and a stylishly-shot bubblegum film with a… Read more »

Power, Performance, and Ethnicity in Sri Lanka

When Time Won’t Tell by Ahalya Satkunaratnam and Venuri Perera, Dance Studies Association, Wisconsin, USA, 2019 | Volume XXXIX On October 26, 2018, there was a constitutional coup in Sri Lanka whent he Executive President, Maithripala Sirisena, attempted to appoint the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as his Prime Minister,thus ousting the current Prime Minister, Ranil… Read more »

Tamil Memes

Masters Politics, social tensions, and comedy all found a home in Tamil cinema. The Tamil meme needs all four things to work. by Aditya Shrikrishna, FiftyTwo.in, March 25, 2021 Nesamani was a contractor. On 26 May 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party was confirmed to have swept the seventeenth Lok Sabha elections. At some point on… Read more »

The Many Pongals of the Tamil People

by Anuradha Srinivasan, January 12, 2021 Jewel-coloured saris and spotless white “veshtis” mingle as people bustle about in the pale grey dawn, preparing for the sunrise. Young girls and boys dressed in their best pavadais [woman’s skirt] and shirts laugh and run around gleefully. Everyone is excited to prepare a feast and welcome their honoured guest, the… Read more »

The Voice of Music – S P Balasubramanyam

by Anuradha Srinivasan, Chennai, December 6, 2020  Ezhunthu Vaa Baalu, the harmonium player called out to his friend, who was catching up on the cricket score on his radio backstage. The jovial young man took the mic with a smile and sang breezily as his friends on the harmonium and guitar wove in and out… Read more »

‘Funny Boy’ and the Indian Tamil Gaze on Ilankai Tamils

by Sharanya Manivannan, Medium, November 15, 2020 I had first known that there was a film adaptation of Shyam Selvadurai’s iconic novel Funny Boy when I had heard about closed screenings of it in Colombo sometime in mid-2020. The story is a bildungsroman about a queer, upper-class Tamil teenager, culminating in the Black July riots of 1983 that… Read more »

U.K. Conservation Society Details Links to Colonialism and Slavery

The National Trust said a third of the properties it manages had direct links to colonialism or slavery. Some have a “hugely uncomfortable” history, it said. by Elian Peltier, The New York Times, September 22, 2020 LONDON — The country house of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, an ardent imperialist; an estate in northern England… Read more »

New Meanings for Ravana

The focus of the fourth paper, ‘Ravana’s Sri Lanka: Redefining the Sinhala Nation?’, by Dileepa Witharana, focuses on the recent widespread surge of interest in Ravana within the Sinhala community. This interest has reached unprecedented levels, to the point of redefining the Sinhala nation in popular public space by discarding the theory of Aryan descent… Read more »

The Ritualizing of the Martial and Benevolent Side of Ravana

in Two Annual Rituals at the Sri Devram Maha Viharaya in Pannipitiya, Sri Lanka by Deborah de Koning, MDPI Religions, Netherlands, 21 August 2018 https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/9/9/250 Reflections …That the Ravana myth should not be considered a version of the Ramayana becomes for instance clear in the wall paintings of the Ravana mandiraya: These wall paintings concentrate… Read more »

What Lessons Are We Talking About?

Reconciliation and Memory in Post-Civil War Sri Lankan Cinema by Dinidu Karunanayake and Thiyagaraja Waradas, ICES Research Papers, Colombo, September 2013 What_Lessons_Are_We_Talking_About_Reconc The official end of the war coincides with the beginning of a markedly changed Sri Lankan cinematic aesthetic. The post-2009 period has seen a boom in ‘patriotic‘ film productions. Shedding light on Jean-Luc… Read more »

FeTNA & World Tamil Conference 2019

[2020 FeTNA will take place in Atlanta, GA over Fourth of July.] World Tamil Conference schedule – https://www.icsts10.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ICSTS_Seminar_Schedule_05312019_v002a.pdf FeTNA pictures – https://www.facebook.com/fetnaconvention/ Dance before Parade of Sangams – https://www.facebook.com/bayareatamilmanram/videos/613844709104196/            

Sri Lankan Poetry in English

Getting Beyond the Colonial Heritage by D. C. R. A. Goonetilleke, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, 21 : 3 , July 1990 THE CONTINUING AND growing vitality during the last three decades of Sri Lankan literature in English seems to be disproving the prophecies of gloom and doom made periodically about it. In 1964,… Read more »

Tamil Artist who is Preserving Memories of ‘Surviving the War’

Meet the Tamil artist who is preserving memories of ‘surviving the war’ in Sri Lanka Sanathanan Thamotharampillai’s art focuses on the themes of memory, loss, home and self. by S. Senthalir, Scroll.in, December 15, 2018 Home and self are the overarching themes that define Sanathanan Thamotharampillai’s perspective, both as an artist and art historian. Thamotharampillai… Read more »

M.I.A.’s Critique of Wokeness

by Spencer Kornhaber, ‘The Atlantic,’ New York, October 5, 2018 CINEREACH M.I.A. wants to talk foreign policy. I called up the 43-year-old pop star Maya Arulpragasam last Friday to talk about Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., Stephen Loveridge’s fascinating documentary about her life. But she immediately brought up the latest news about her birth nation, Sri Lanka, which her family of ethnic… Read more »

Mamma M.I.A.: Influence of an Icon

Comedian Jack Rooke profiles his idol, Sri Lankan-British rapper M.I.A. by BBC Radio 4, October 9, 2018 https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/m0000np5 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000np5