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Sarasavi Awards 1964
Monday, 11 December 2006 - 3:45 AM SL Time

Sarasaviya Awards are the most prestigious awards presented to distinguished individuals involved with the Sinhala cinema, each year by the Sarasaviya weekly newspaper in collaboration with the Associated Newspapers Ceylon Limited- Lake House, Sri Lanka in recognition of the contributions made by them to the Sri Lankan film industry. Just like the Oscars for the Hollywood fans and Filmfare Awards for the Bollywood fans, it is the Sarasaviya Awards for the Sri Lankans.

The Sarasaviya film awards ceremony began in 1964 at a time when the local cinema was trying to shed its South Indian orientation and establish an indigenous identity. There was no need to go to India to make films any more and the era of Indian artistes too had ended. The first Sarasaviya film festival was held on May 9, 1964 at the Asoka Cinema Hall, Colombo, 17 years after the first Sinhala film screened. By then a series of good Sinhala films like Podi Putha, Rekhawa, Sandeshaya , Ranmuthuduwa, Kurulubedda, Sikurutharuwa and Gamperaliya had appeared on screen. Yet the main stream consisted of simulations of Indian productions. The year 1960 is seen as the beginning of the golden era of Sinhala cinema. The first Sarasaviya Awards Festival had as entries not only the films screened in 1963 but also the films screened from 1960 to 1963. The best film, best director, best script-writer, best actor and best actress were honoured that day. Gamperaliya was regarded as the best film and it was awarded to its producer Anton Wickremasinghe. Sir Lester James Peiris and Regi Siriwardena won the awards for best director and best script-writer, respectively and that too was for Gamperaliya. D.R. Nanayakkara was awarded the best actor title for his performance in Sikuru Tharuwa, another popular film in the 1964 film festival. The best actress award was bagged by Punya Heendeniya for her performance in Gamperaliya.


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