18 April, 2009 - Published 19:32 GMT

Tissa Abeysekara passes away

Award-winning filmmaker, actor, and scriptwriter, Tissa Abeysekara passed away at the Colombo National Hospital following a brief illness.

He was also a political activist, a critic and an academic.

Tissa Abeysekera entered into the artistic world as a Sinhala short story writer, still as a teenager and later developed his artistic skills broadly in to film making.

Excelled in many facets of film making Tissa Abeysekara directed highly acclaimed films such as 'Karumakkarayo', 'Mahagedara' and 'Viragaya' and wrote scripts for 'Nidhanaya' and 'Welikatara'

In 1996, Tissa Abeysekara won the prestigious Gratiaen Prize for the best piece of Creative Writing in English for that year by a resident Sri Lankan for the novel 'Bringing Tony Home'.

Great Loss

Close associate of Tissa Abeysekera, popular dramatist, Somalatha Subasinghe said that his demise was a great loss to the country.

“There are university acadamics with paper qualifications and there are also equally talented people like Tissa Abeysekera who are well read and well versed. He was an academic who deserved to have been be in a university where a large number of students would have benefited immensely from his knowledge", she said.

"They were deprived of that opportunity because Tissa Abeysekera was not duly recognised by relevant authorities”, she said.

Literary critic, Saman Wickremarachchi commenting on his writing said that his absence will be felt in the Sri Lankan newspapers as he was one who was commended for his versatile writing both in English and Sinhala.

Great writer

“He had a proven talent of writing on any subject ranging from films, drama, books, philosophy, culture or any social subjects”, Wickremarachchi said.

Tissa Abeysekera was a strong supporter of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and Professor Carlo Fonseka; a party veteran said that Tissa Abesekera joined the party when it was undergoing difficulties.

“This shows that he joined politics on genuine cause and not for personal benefits”, Professor Fonseka added.