« Primitives, Pioneers and Places of Cinema in Colonial Ceylon (Sri Lanka) » by V. Tampoe-Hautin

We would like to warmly thanks Dr Vilasnee TAMPOE-HAUTIN, Senior Lecturer in British and Commonwealth Civilisations at université de La Réunion (France) and member of Centre des Recherches Littéraires et Historiques de l’Océan Indien (CRLHOI), to publish in our website her article intitled  « Primitives, Pioneers and Places of Cinema in Colonial Ceylon (1890-1940)”.

 

About the author

Vilasnee Tampoe-Hautin is Senior Lecturer at the University of La Réunion, where she obtained her PhD, Cinéma, Colonialisme et Identité: naissance et développement du cinéma au Sri Lanka (1896-1966), in 2009, under the supervision of Jacques Tual. Her research focuses primarily on the history of Sri Lankan cinema, its genesis and evolution during British colonization. She also investigates into the socio-cultural and political movements of 19th century Ceylon, including the colonial press, in relation to nascent cinema. Her interest in cinema derives from her father Robin Tampoe, and her grandfather, W.M.S. Tampoe who were pioneers of Sinhala cinema during its formative period (1947-1967). She is the author of a number of books in English and in French, published between 2008 and 2013. These include two biographies, Robin Tampoe: Last of the Big Ones, (2008), Sumitra Peries, Sri Lankan Filmmaker: poetess of Sinhala cinema (2011), and a two-volume study of Sri Lankan cinema, published by L’Harmattan in 2011, Cinéma et Colonialisme: la genèse du cinéma au Sri Lanka (de 1896 à 1928), and Cinéma et Conflits ethniques au Sri Lanka: vers un cinéma cinghalais « indigène » (de l’indépendance en 1948 à nos jours).Her forthcoming book, Ethnicity, Politics and Cinema in Sri Lanka (1900-1967). From global to gama, casting a celluloid mould from Sinhala cinema, focuses on the structuring of Sinhala-language cinema in colonial and post-independent Sri Lanka.

 

As in most parts of the world, film exhibition in Sri Lanka began during the late 19th century, though pre-cinematographic forms and experiences have been recorded from 1896 onwards. In fact, cinema came to round off an array of technological inventions that characterized the early and mid-19th century, including the printing press, the telegraph, photography, the electric bulb, the revolver and the phonograph to name a few innovations. Beyond inventiveness lay an acute flair for business displayed by French and Anglo Saxon inventors, whose ranks were soon joined by Indian businessmen during the first quarter of the 20th century. So great was their enthusiasm to spread the new technology that a number countries became familiar with the moving image within the first few years of its invention. Newspaper advertisements indicate that urban-dwelling Ceylonese were already accustomed to all manner of entertainment such as folk dramas, circuses, puppet and ventriloquist shows, choruses and operas. These were held in the Colombo Fort, the financial heart of the city. The Fort, also called Malvatta or Flower Garden in Sinhalese, was under military command, and the local name derived from a species of trees, the Suriya, that grew in the vicinity, and whose flowers provided the raw material for a cottage industry.  Before cinema, the Fort had courted a diversity of shows, performed under tents and pavilions. To these would soon be added the moving image. Members of both the expatriate and local English-speaking bourgeoisie patronized these spectacles, as they lived in close proximity.

On the 8th of January 1898, the Daily News in Ceylon reported that the Lumière operators would organize a film show in Colombo, using the cinématographe[1]. The same year, viewers were treated to the two-reelers entitled Greek-Turkish War[2] and English Cricket Players.[3] Edison’s kinetoscope, was also known to have entertained the Ceylonese, and for the price of five cents, the public could watch pictures of Buckingham Palace or the revered places of Buddhist worship[4]. From 1874 to 1895, night shows were possible through the use of gaslights, until they were replaced by electric-powered lighting in urban areas.  Electricity represented a major asset for the commercial exploitation of cinema. These occasional screenings were at first merely accompaniments to existing shows, but as the animated image took its place in this arena of leisure time activities, it would soon overtake them in popularity. Sometime between 1901 and 1904, the first official presentation of the moving image in Ceylon was held. Newsreels were shown featuring Queen Victoria’s funeral, and the ascension of Edward VII to the English throne.[5] The event was organized under the aegis of the Governor of the colony, Sir Joseph West Ridgeway, and came a few years after the discovery of the Lumière Brothers’ short films, by a Parisian public on 28th December 1895.[6] A striking feature of the Colombo screening was the projection of a multiple-episode newsreel on the British victory of the Boer War to an audience comprising South African prisoners who had been deported to Ceylon, at the turn of the 20th century.[7]  The Public Hall, situated at Hyde Park Corner in Colombo was another early venue of cinema[8]. Dating from the mid-19th century, the auditorium had been used for a various functions. The Ceylon Examiner of 29th September 1899 carries an advertisement for a film screened at the Public Hall, The Convict’s Escape, comprising “120 Living Pictures”. Tickets cost between one and three rupees and the show began at 9 p.m. The Public Hall would later become the Empire Picture Palace, and Ceylon’s first fully-fledged cinema hall[9].

PIX 00 Madan - Public Hall

PHOTO 1: : An advertisement for early bioscope, organized by Madan Theatres at the Public Hall, Colombo

In August 1907, animated photographs called Leonard’s Beautiful Pictures were projected; this collection of moving images was described as “both educational and entertaining, a real discovery in the art of cinema…” The announcement moreover vaunted viewing comfort obtained by electric fans.[10]

PIX 1 Ad for Leonards  copy

PHOTO 2::  An advertisement for Leonard’s Beautiful Pictures, Ceylon Examiner, 24th August 1907

Regular bioscope sessions for the general public were organized at the Bristol Hotel, in the heart of the city of Colombo, where currently the restaurant Pagoda stands. [11] In 1907, The Bristol Hotel presented Living London to Colombo residents[12]. The curtains rose at 9.30pm, and for a price of between one and three rupees, patrons were treated to a film as well as to other forms of entertainment. Another early venue of cinema was the Grand Oriental Hotel, also located in the Fort area, facing the Colombo harbour. At the time, The Grand Oriental was considered as one of the most luxurious hotels in the East. In Bombay, the historic beginnings of cinema took place in a similar hotel, the celebrated Watson Hotel, which Mark Twain described as a “bird’s cage”. This was followed by regular bioscope projections at the Novelty Theatre.[13]

 

PIX 2 THE PAGODA copy

PHOTO 3:  The Pagoda (today) at Chatham Street Colombo Fort

PIX 2 bis Ad for Liv

PHOTO 3 bis: An Advertisement for Living London, shown at the Pagoda in 1907

 

PIX 3 bis GOH 1920ss copy

PHOTO 4:  The Grand Oriental Hotel, facing the Colombo Harbour, in the Fort area

In the vanguard of early cinema was A.W.A. Andree, who had also been requested by the British colonial administration to organize the first official presentation of the moving image. Andree was born in Jaffna, in the northern part of Sri Lanka, to a Part-European father, and a mother belonging to the Jaffna middle class. This local photographer of repute was moreover the first Ceylonese to have formed a local film company, Coric Bioscope[14] in 1903.[15] In addition to his talents with the still camera, Andree had a flair for business, getting down a projector from overseas and acquiring an auditorium to show silent films from Europe.[16]  The motion picture had begun to woo crowds, including those from the lower rungs of colonial society who were already adept followers of Parsi plays and popular Sinhala and Tamil dramas. The monopoly of early film exhibition and importation was in the hands of Andree, a dynamic entrepreneur who used the Fort area as his base until his death in 1910.[17]  Warwick Majors, an Englishman, planted another flag in the name of cinema, again in the Colombo Fort. This is where the Regal cinema would later rise in the mid 1930s. Majors was a known figure of early colonial cinema, having already refurbished the Electric Theatre in Madras, and established a film business in the Tamil Nadu capital in 1913.[18] Majors’ too drew crowds to his makeshift cinema shelter, the Belek Hall erected near the Maradana railway station.[19] J. F Madan, a Parsi film magnate, and former stage actor, would later demolish this structure and build the elegant Elphinstone Hall in its place. Madan’s network of cinema auditoriums spread across northern India and the colonies, a number of them carrying the name Elphinstone. With Madan’s 1920 quasi-total take over of the cinema business in Ceylon, Colombo was offered well equipped halls, including the Empire and the Elphinstone which today bear testimony to the glittering splendour of a bygone age[20].

 

2 001 copy

PHOTO 5: The Empire Theatre in Colombo

 

PIX 4 Elphinstone

PHOTO 5 bis: The Elphinstone Theatre, Colombo built by J.F. Madan in 1926

 

PIX 4bis

PHOTO 5 ter : Madan’s bust is displayed on the façade.

PIX 5

PHOTO 6: The Regal Colombo, another cinema hall dating back to the 1930s, refurbished under Sir Abraham Gardiner

Ambulant cinema was developed by resourceful pioneers who aimed at exposing rural inhabitants of Ceylon to bioscope. Reels on wheels were thus set in motion in Ceylon around December 1909. This was when the Noorbhai-owned London Bioscope Company screened films outdoors, using tents supplied by a German resident of Ceylon, C. Wagner.[21] Nevertheless, the most illustrious example of roving cinema entrepreneurship in Ceylon comes from Andreas Van Starrex[22]. Hailing from a family of mixed Dutch-Sinhala origins, Andreas Van Starrex is in fact emblematic of diligent and imaginative entrepreneurship in both sedentary and nomadic cinema.[23] Van Starrex’s mobile cinema shows were veritable excursions into the unknown. Hunters accompanied the Imperial Talkies team, recruited for their shooting skills. Their ability to bring back enough game to feed the members was as important as their capacity to operate the projectors and survive the rigours of nature. Imperial Talkies, the company he founded in the mid 1920s reached out to villages in the remote areas of the island, often surrounded by jungle, their itineraries subjected to the vagaries of the tropical climate, especially the monsoon rains. While continuing his ambulant cinema, Andreas Van Starrex built a number of cinema halls of which the elegant Imperial at Balangoda. This enabled him to cater to an expanding market of colonial and middle-class audiences. His fixed cinema abodes would continue to function long after roving cinema ceased to exist from the mid 1970s.

 

PIX 6 Imperial Balangoda

PHOTO 7: Imperial Theatre, at Balangoda. Andreas Van Starrex and theatre staff and other associates (circa 1930s ?)

The first film companies in Ceylon date back to the first decade of the 20th century, as the Ceylon Morning Leader of February 1908 reports that the number of such companies had risen, even prompting rivalry and competition. The growing popularity of cinema as a new mode of entertainment signified that tents, show booths and cinema sheds would soon cede to buildings specifically designed for cinema usage. C. Wagner, a German resident of Colombo, established the Olympia Bioscope Company, and later acquired Coric Bioscope[24]. Wagner imported films from India in association with T. Noorbhai, a Ceylonese of Indian origin. With Coric Bioscope came Wagner’s appointment as the manager of the celebrated Tower Hall, soon to be converted into a cinema hall. The move from theatre to film gave more momentum to the growth of cinema in Ceylon and widened the perspectives of Tower Hall, though it would deal a temporary blow to Sinhala drama.  During the initial decades of the 20th century, T.A.G. Noorbhai extended his activities to the production and distribution of films, through his Fort-based company London Bioscope Co. Noorbhai bought cinemas, including the Criterion Hall in Colombo which he renamed The Olympia. Destined exclusively for cinema use, the Olympia opened its doors on the 15th July 1918. Until 1924, it screened Indian and British films at the rate of three shows a day. Another more significant milestone was the presentation in 1922 of a 10-minute religious film at Noorbhai’s Plaza. The main focus of the film was Anagarika Dharmapala patriot, philosopher and adulated hero of the Sinhala nationalist cause. The film also featured Buddhist prelates attending a ceremony at the Dharmaraja temple in India where the sacred relics of the Buddha were exposed[25].

The exclusively Euro-Ceylonese domination of cinema came to an end with the ascension of the Calcutta-based film magnate J. F. Madan. From 1902, his company Madan Theatres Ltd. grew unhindered and by the mid 1930s, an impressive network of cinemas and distribution circuits came under its wing, extending from the major Indian cities to the colonial capitals in the region[26]. This dynamism would soon spill over to the island colony of Ceylon where subsequent to his first visit in 1903, and with the help of local Parsis, J.F. Madan set up a Colombo branch, Madan Film Enterprises. Ceylon would thus come under Madan’s influence in the area of distribution and exhibition as he renovated or erected a number of cinema halls in the island. Having used the Public Hall to exhibit what were some of the first films to be imported into the island. Madan gave it a new name –the Empire Theatre. [27] Madan’s influence radiated from the capital city to Nuwara Eliya, a balmy hill resort in the central highlands of Ceylon, and home to what was considered as the world’s finest tea. This is where the Parsi businessman built the Clifford Pavillion and the Palace Hall. Nuwara Eliya, endowed with a cool, clement climate had become a small, but important, hub of commercial activity. The presence of affluent planter families as well as the Kandyan aristocracy no doubt encouraged the establishment of cinema halls in this high altitude town[28].

Until 1925, there was no local production of film, nor any that focussed on Ceylon. Two exceptions to this barrenness are A Ramble Through Ceylon, shot in 1907 by Charles Urban’s operators, and a few scenes devoted to Ceylon in Thomas Edison’s Curious Scenes from India (1903). It would a few more decades for filmmakers to evince any durable interest in the island colony, beginning with Basil Wright of the British Documentary Movement and Robert Flaherty whose offer to make a documentary on Ceylon was turned down by the Ceylonese during the 1940s. As evidenced by advertisements appearing in the local newspapers, the 1920s and 1930s were characterized by a growing interest for US films.[29] As cinema entrepreneurs imported films, they likewise kept abreast of the technological advances made in the West, especially the invention of sound. In India, as sound entered the hitherto silent world of the moving image, a number of avenues opened up for film producers, such as the inclusion of dialogue, song and music in Hindi movies[30]. In Ceylon however, due to technical problems, compounded by geographical distance, the impact of “talkies” did not resonate as quickly as it did in India. The first film with a sound track, Jazz Singer (1928), directed by Alan Crossland, was shown in India but opinions differ on the question of its release in Ceylon. But we do know that the audiences in Colombo were presented with Melody of Love in 1929, the second production to have marked the era of sound.[31] This musical comedy without dialogue was imported by Madan Theaters Ltd and shown at the Empire Theatre in July 1929[32]. The popularity of motion pictures from Europe and the US continued well into the 1930s : according to the Ceylon Observer of 3rd May 1928, Colombo audiences were shown Moon of Israel, (1919), through Madan’s Indian circuit. The film was based on Sir H. Rider Haggard’s novel, released two years previously, and then screened at the Empire Theatre Colombo, exclusively during the Holy Week.[33]

MADAN PUB-1

PHOTO 8: Advertisement for Moon of Israel, released through Madan Theatres Ltd circuit.

In the absence of a local production, Indian and American films were occasionally presented simultaneously to audiences: Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra accompanied Charlie Chaplin’s two-reeler, Gold Rush (1925). The Ceylon Observer of June 1928 carries advertisements for Fantomas (1913), F. Richard Jones’ Gaucho (1927), starring Douglas Fairbanks and United Artists’ The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926), directed by Henry King.[34]  American idol’s visit to Ceylon during this period increased enthusiasm for American films. Madan Theatres released these films at the Elphinstone Picture Palace and Empire Theatre in Colombo.

On the 11th of January 1931, Chaplin’s silent movie, Good Night Charlie or A Night Out (1915) was shown at the Elphinstone, Colombo. The same year, local audiences were treated to Wonderful Night (1922) by Stuart Paton and James Flood’s Man without a Conscience (1925). Indian cinema likewise gained in popularity, as evidenced by the remarkable and unexpected success of Chinthamani, released at the Elphinstone in 1936. Newspapers of January of that year relate the outstanding performance at the box office of this South Indian film, with a twenty-four consecutive week run.[35] The previous year attested to the release of Ceylon’s first film in Tamil, Nalla Thangai, though it failed to attract audiences, prefiguring the destiny of Sri Lankan Tamil films.  It was amidst this influx of foreign imports that attempts were made to shoot ‘local’ films in Ceylon. T.A.G. Noorbhai’s Royal Adventure/Rajakeeya Wickrama (1925) is Ceylon’s first silent movie, an important landmark in the history of Sri Lankan cinema. Indeed, Royal Adventure was the first film to cumulate Indian know-how and Ceylonese talent. In the absence of cinema infrastructure in colonial Ceylon, post-production for Royal Adventure was carried out in Bombay. Due to high costs, only one copy of Royal Adventure was ordered. A number of sources agree today that although the film was shown in India, it perished in a fire in Singapore before its arrival in Ceylon, a criminal act allegedly perpetrated by Noorbhai’s detractors[36].

Moreover, Ceylon became the focus of European documentary filmmakers, with Basil Wright’s Song of Ceylon (1934). Presented in London in 1935, the documentary is considered to be a jewel in the crown of the British Documentary Movement. After Song of Ceylon came W. J. Edward’s twenty-five minute silent film, Revenge/Palli Ganeema. Falling under the category of early Ceylonese films, Revenge was released on the 19th of May 1936 at the now defunct Gaiety Theatre in Colombo.[37] During the 1930s, Madan’s cinema halls were gradually equipped with sound. Madan pursued the policy of exhibiting imported American films to Ceylonese audiences. In April 1934, Colombo boasted four major cinemas: the Regal, Majestic Talkies, the Empire and the Elphinstone. The Capitol Theatre showed American films, of which Son of Tarzan (1920) as well as the D.W. Griffith’s second sound film, Abraham Lincoln (1930). An earlier production, Fighting Blood (1911) was released at the Olympia Theatre[38]. From thesthe was destined to become a release centre for British or US films. In  it showed and by as well as ’s  The Capitol of Colombo on the other hand scheduled Hindi talkies: Sati Son contained 18 songs, and its popularity in Ceylon provoked some anxiety amongst Buddhist ecclesiastics.

A new chapter opened in the history of Sri Lankan cinema when Noorbhai attempts to rehoist his business following the tragic loss of Royal Adventure. He approached three other Ceylonese, Alfred Leo Thambaiah, Manuel Saverimuththu and Chittampalam Gardiner with the offer of floating a new company to import films (serials) from India. But again, Noorbhai’s death in 1938 brought this partnership to an end[39].  The 1930s witnessed the ascension of Sir Gardiner and the establishment of Ceylon Theaters Ltd, the first local film production and distribution company. Sir Chittampalam Abraham Gardiner bought, built or acquired existing cinema halls, notably those belonging to Madan. Gardiner later rebuilt the Regal cinema and in the subsequent years, his company took over the Olympia, the Plaza and the Chitra cinemas in Negombo. With its façade reminiscent of the 1930s, the Regal Colombo constitutes a rare testimony to an era of elegance and refinement. The names attributed to the major cinema halls in pre-independent Ceylon – Elphinstone, Majestic, Olympia, Plaza, Regal, Empire – reveal the way cinema carried forward imperial ideology, even when the cinema owners were Indian or Ceylonese….

PIX 8 Sir Gardiner 1939

PHOTO 9:  Sir Gardiner(1899-1960), pioneer of Sri Lankan cinema (Ceylon Observer, 1939)

 Photos and other illustrations courtesy of ANCL(Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.)

Bibliography

 

Arjuna, T.A. Shaping the Future of the Motion Picture in Sri Lanka, 2004, p. 5.

Bose, M., Bollywood, a History,: Lotus Books, 2006.

Dissanayake, W and Ratnavibhushana, A., (ed.), Profiling Sri Lankan Cinema,  Asian Film Centre, .

Farges, Joël, « Le Cinéma en Inde : Rasa Cinematographica », ch. XXIV, pp. 545-568, in L’Inde Contemporaine : de 1950 à nos jours, (dir.), C. Jaffrelot, Paris : Fayard, 1996

Farges, Joël, « Le cinéma hindi, pratique culturelle national: ses chansons, l’âme des films? » http://www.indereunion.net/IREV/karthika/feetAii.htm

Kumara, N.N. Sri Lankan Film Chronicle, Colombo : Sarasavi Publishers/Samayawardana, 2005, p. 185.

Mendis, M.R. Genesis of Sinhala Cinema, ,(Eng trans: Somachandra Wijesuriya), Colombo, Godage Books, 2007

Perera C.B. « Four Decades of Sinhala Language Cinema: An Overview», Cinesith, 1986

Savarimuththu, R., Development of Sinhala Cinema, Colombo, OCIC, 1977

Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Film Industry in Ceylon », Sessional Papers II, 1965, Government Publications Bureau, Colombo,  1965, p. 20.

S. Muthiah, «Cinema at Round Tana», website, 2003, http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2003/06/25/stories/2003062500120300.htm

Seneviratne, D.V. Chitrapata Kalava (Film Art), Maradana:Anula, 1958

Tampoe-Hautin V., « Reels on Wheels: Mobile Cinema in Rural Colonial Ceylon (1910-1974)» Asian Cinema, (eds.) I. Conrich et N. Gillet, (éds), Vol 19, n°2, Fall/Winter, Asian Cinema Studies Society, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2008, p. 77-83, op cit., p. 77.

Tampoe-Hautin, V. Cinéma et Colonialisme et la genèse du cinéma au Sri Lanka (de 1896 à 1928), Paris, L’Harmattan, collection Champs Visuels, 2011,

Ceylon Examiner, 29th  September,  1899.

Ceylon Observer, 24th August 1907.

Ceylon Observer, 3 May 1928.

Daily News, August 1898

« 75th anniversary of Ceylon Theatres Ltd » Daily News 29 September 2003

20th Anniversary (1948)

Interview with H. Van Starrex (18 June 2006 at the Hilton Colombo);

 

[1]  Nuwan Nayanajith Kumara, Sri Lankan Film Chronicle, Colombo : Sarasavi Publishers/Samayawardana, 2005, p. 185.

[2] The conflict broke out in 1897.

[3] Daily News, August 1898, op.cit., 2005, p. 184.

[4] The area was also referred to as Malwatta, or Flower Garden, at the time.

[5] C. B. Perera  «Four Decades of Sinhala Language Cinema: An Overview», Cinesith, 1986, p. 35.

[6] W. Dissanayake, A. Ratnavibhushana, Profiling Sri Lankan Cinema,  Asian Film Centre, .

[7] D.V. Seneviratne, Chitrapata Kalava (Film Art), Maradana:Anula, 1958, p 16.

op.cit., p. 16 ; «Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Film Industry in Ceylon», op.cit., p. 14.

[8] Ceylon Examiner, 29th  September,  1899.

[9] The Empire was operational until the late 1990s when its owners razed it to the ground to build luxury appartments its place. The tragedy of Ceylon’s first cinema hall reveals the perilous situation in which most of the remaining venues of cinema in Sri Lanka are to be found today, running the risk of being destroyed and replaced with multiplexes. Unfortunately, authorities in charge of conservation seem barely to be conscious of the importance of this cultural legacy, no doubt because of cinema’s own status as an art and industry which was imported into the island during colonial times.

[10] Ceylon Observer, 24th August 1907.

[11] T. Kariyawasam in Nuwan Nayanajith Kumara, Sri Lankan Film Chronicle, Sarasavi Publishers/Samayawardana, Colombo, 2005, p. 38.

[12] A copy of Living London was recently discovered in Sydney Australia, thought to be one of the very few which have survived the passage of time.

[13] At the time of writing, Hotel Watson is in an extremely dilapidated state, waiting for some munificent sponsor to refurbish its walls and interior.

[14] Also referred to as The Coric Bioscope Cinema Screening Company.

[15] N. N. Kumara, op.cit., ch. 14, p. 37.

[16] W. Dissanayake and A. Ratnavibushana, Profiling Sri Lankan Cinema, op.cit., p. 4. See report by T. A. Arjuna, Shaping the Future of the Motion Picture in Sri Lanka, 2004, p. 5.

[17] On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Times of Ceylon, A.W. Andree’s son, Lawrence Andrée, paid tribute to his father who had organized early « bioscope» which were held on the first floor of the Bristol Hotel in Colombo : M.R.Mendis, Genesis of Sinhala Cinema, ,(Eng trans: Somachandra Wijesuriya), Colombo, Godage Books, 2007, p. 14.

[18] The Electric was one of the rudimentary venues of primitive cinema, destined to show silent films. It was built by W. Majors and Reginald Eyre; at the time of writing, the building still exists near Round Tana, Chennai: S. Muthiah, «Cinema at Round Tana», website, 2003, http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2003/06/25/stories/2003062500120300.htm

[19] Belek is the Sinhala word for «tin».

[20] V. Tampoe-Hautin, Cinéma et Colonialisme et. la genèse du cinéma au Sri Lanka (de 1896 à 1928), Paris, L’Harmattan, collection Champs Visuels, 2011, p 57.

[21] D. V. Seneviratne, op.cit, p. 16.

[22] While Warwick Majors is a well-known figure in cinema scholarship, the work of Van Starrex remained largely unknown and unrecognized until his son, Hans Van Starrex, who inherited his father’s film business, unravelled it recently to the author

[23] Interview with H. Van Starrex (18 June 2006 at the Hilton Colombo); also see V. Tampoe-Hautin, « Reels on Wheels: Mobile Cinema in Rural Colonial Ceylon (1910-1974)» , Asian Cinema, (eds.) I. Conrich et N. Gillet, (éds), Vol 19, n°2, Fall/Winter, Asian Cinema Studies Society, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2008, p. 77-83, op cit., p. 77.

[24] D. V. Seneviratna Chitrapati Kalava, in M.R Mendis,op.cit, p.15.

[25] R. Savarimuththu, Development of Sinhala Cinema, Colombo, OCIC, 1977, p.17.

[26] For more on J.F. Madan, see the illuminating study by Bose, M., Bollywood, a History,: Lotus Books, 2006. Also Farges, Joël, « Le Cinéma en Inde : Rasa Cinematographica », ch. XXIV, pp. 545-568, in L’Inde Contemporaine : de 1950 à nos jours, (dir.), C. Jaffrelot, Paris : Fayard, 1996; Farges, Joël, « Le cinéma hindi, pratique culturelle national: ses chansons, l’âme des films? » http://www.indereunion.net/IREV/karthika/feetAii.htm

[27] Daily News 29 September 2005, « 75th anniversary of Ceylon Theatres Ltd » relates the story of Public Hall, which became the Empire until its demolition during the 1990s.

[28] V. Tampoe-Hautin, Cinéma et Colonialisme: la genèse du cinéma au Sri Lanka (de 1896 à 1928), Paris, L’Harmattan, collection Champs Visuels, 2011, p 50.

[29] M. R. Mendis notes the increase in the size of advertisements from one column to a quarter of a page in 1928. op.cit., p. 15.

[30] For more on Indian cinema, see Joël, « Le cinéma hindi, pratique culturelle national: ses chansons, l’âme des films? »

[31] N. N. Kumara, op.cit., p. 40.

[32] C. B. Perera, art.cit., p. 34.

[33] Ceylon Observer, 3 May 1928.

[34] Ceylon Daily News, 1928.

[35] M. R. Mendis, op.cit, p. 24.

[36] Idem.

[37] The film stars N. R. Dias, Sriya Kantha, C. A. Sangapala, H. W. Sugathadasa.

[38] Idem.

[39] R. Savarimutthu, op cit, p.17.

 

 


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