I was consistently prevented from articulating my point of view, says Vimukthi Jayasundera, stony faced.TNA spokespersons say that there is no agreement between us and other members of the UNFGG, claims Jackson Anthony, arms akimbo.
These actors and artistes have shed their artistic carapace, and decided to back the politicians of their choice.
Not since MS Fernando was introduced as JR Jayewardene’s anointed baila maestro on stage in 1977, have so many artistes come forward to say that they are for this or that politician or political platform.
But MS Fernando was genteel in comparison. All he would sing was a medley about how ‘Jayewardene methi’ would become the ‘raja.’
Things have changed, and the Gypsies guy, better known for removing the under garments of females on stage, has set himself up as a crooner activist of sorts, and got himself into more than one unseemly situation.
Recently, he was booted out of a wedding at which he was supposed to sing oldies such as ‘Singore.’
But not being able to keep his mealy mouth shut, this guy who says he stands for ‘good governance’ and associated positive value systems, began belting out a ditty or two, improvised of course, slandering the former President.
For his efforts he has earned a Letter-of-Demand from the latter. Please note that he was booted out by those who invited him — the bride’s father and Co themselves.
A thing or two could have been learned from MS Fernando, who though a legend in his own time, was able to keep his politics from interfering with his onstage persona.
The intrepid may argue that artistes have a right to band together and pursue their own political causes as folk who are on the same page, on certain issues.
No argument there. But there is something called critical overreach and the kind of performances that the artistes of today are able to manage leave people wondering what happened to civility, truth or common decency that artistes in particular were associated with.
If politics is show biz for the ugly, as they say, it is generally expected that the show biz types would stay away from the political whirl for reasons of reputation more than anything else.
But Vimukthi Jayasundera and his band of ‘Venasakata’ people have not been able to do much other than make themselves look a little bit silly, and that’s not a good sign for activists who claim a level of maturity that should place them head and shoulders above a mere baila bird such as MS Fernando.
Vimukthi is in the mould of the street theatre types who shed copious tears before the last presidential election, asking for a lamborgini.
‘Matath onne lamborginiyak’ one of them said, teary eyed. But these people’s general political reach was proven much later when on May 18, a war commemoration event they organized in Colombo to belittle the victory celebrations was attended by about 10people.
At least the Jackson Anthonys and the Malini Fonsekas do not deal in abstractions, and Jackson for instance aiming a frontal attack at the TNA and Hela Urumaya, gives out the idea that here is somebody who for what it’s worth, wants to put his money where his mouth is.
Ditto Malini Fonseka. At a recent event she ended by saying that she doesn’t want to live in an island in which she is required to carry a passport to ‘visit Jaffna.’
Many would take her to task for that. Inevitably, there would be those who point fingers and say ‘see, a racist is a racist, despite her senior years.’
But yet, she does not dabble in the currency of platitudes; her stand is clear, and that’s comforting in comparison to ‘Matath lamborginiyak onne.’
The latter seem to fall into the category of rebels without a cause and so they seem to have to invent one, in order to be in the pubic’s eye.
Nobody remembers Vimukthi Jayasundera being censored. His Sulanga Enu Pinisa had a good run in local cinemas despite the fact that the army was being portrayed in an extremely poor light, but yet, Jayasundera, sans explanation, has to join the bandwagon of the rebels whose only cause seems to be the fact that they too — in the hearts of hearts — would like to possess a lamborgini.
The thing about the lamborginis is that the much maligned brands of sports vehicles were more spoken about than found and identified. There are more photographs today of Sujeeva Senasinghe, ex MP — and a man who dabbled in a few cinematic creations himself trying hard to outdo a Hindi actress who played opposite him — in his vanity limo, than the so and so and his so and so in a lamborgini.
Small wonder that the lachrymose ‘I want a lamborgini’ set could not get 10 people to gather at Vihara Maha Devi Park for their war commemoration. But there too, footage appeared of the petulant organizers, seemingly blaming others for not turning up, and inferring that they cannot possibly ‘convert the rabble.’
This is probably why the Art House movie has failed in this country.
These people’s attitude is that they are culturally superior and that the masses should get themselves seated on the dentists’ chair and brace themselves to take whatever they would deliver between gritted teeth, and down the hatchet.
Their political activism has taken a leaf from this same failed genre.
When another artiste who sits alongside Malini Fonseka says ‘ko Rathana’, he does not seem to say ok Rathana, it’s all ok — as long as you endorse one of our movies.
The political activism must be apart from the screen antics.
The Vimukthi Jayasundaras and the ‘matath badagini, onne lamborgini’ set seem to have a grievance that their art is under-appreciated.
Now that’s a different story. True political activism leaves art at the door. It is not show business redux, once more for the pretty.