‘Mega’ tele series creates havoc
By Sarashi Samarasinghe
‘Mega’ tele series have created havoc in the tele-drama industry today, with many prominent actors and actresses in the field opining that such series were a disturbance to the progress of the industry.
Tele-drama makers voiced their protest along with several of Sri Lanka’s actors and actresses, art directors, technicians, producers, directors and script writers at the Public Library Auditorium on June 5.
“This type of television series first started after Indian mega productions were introduced to the local market by a particular TV channel,” said Tele Makers Guild Treasurer Bennet Ratnayake.
He said that the Tele Makers Guild initially looked at the matter indifferently since they thought that it would be a good challenge to the Indian mega productions. “We thought that these mega tele series would stop after reaching a certain limit,” said Ratnayake.
Ratnayake said that at present there are 12 mega tele series being broadcast over four TV channels and that if this amount were increased with another three mega series, the opportunity of becoming a versatile tele drama creator would be lost forever.
“A total of 107 episode tele-dramas are being put away each year due to these 12 mega tele series, and employment opportunities of 5,885 artistes have been destroyed to date,” said Ratnayake.
Actress, Producer and Director, Sriyani Amarasena said that she had brought up the matter with several other personalities who were involved in these mega productions.
“I asked an actress, a script writer and a director what they thought about this matter and they had various ideas,” said Amarasena.
They had all maintained that they got involved in these mega series because of the financial gains and that they gained no satisfaction from such productions.
“In the period of the 1960s and 1970s, Sinhala cinema received unlimited responses from the audience. Later on it all vanished due to the breakdown of the local film industry. Now the same tragedy has taken place again in the tele-drama industry,” said Amarasena.
She said that such disasters occur when the standards of the creations fall apart.
“Mega tele series serve no purpose. They have no point. They are given the tag ‘mega,’ and they simply drags on for years and years with no ending,” said critic Tissa Abeysekara.
Abeysekara further stated that apart from government television channels, all other TV channels in the country were dependent on the income they receive from TV commercials. “Profits are decided on according to the amount of commercials they air,” said Abeysekara.
He further said that weren’t many good tele-dramas being produced these days and that most of the tele-dramas that were being produced were useless.
“The mega merchants are uprooting the tele-drama industry in Sri Lanka and destroying its fruits,” said Actress Duleeka Marapana.
According to Actor Janak Premalal, a tele-drama production should be based on a very sensitive theme and inspire humane feelings. “The main intention of producing a tele drama is not to show the faces of the actors or actresses close up on the screen,” said Premalal.
Former Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Chairman cum Actor Sanath Gunatilleke said that such a sorry state had come about since there was no permanent national policy in place with regard to the industry.
He pointed out that it was important to come up with such a policy, which he said would help overcome the problems that the industry is facing today.
****The Nation ***