Alliance Francaise launches ‘The Bonsoir Diaries’
as part of French Spring Festival 2013
Colombo. Monday 24 June 2013. The Alliance Francaise in Sri Lanka and the Embassy of France launched ‘The Bonsoir Diaries’ by Kumar de Silva as part of its month long French Spring Festival 2013. Open to the public, this event took place at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 02 July at the BCIS – BMICH in Colombo.
The Bonsoir French Television Programme presented by the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka enthralled Sri Lankan television audiences since July 1985. It ran for twenty-five years and finally wound up in December 2010, leaving an indelible memory with the thousands who grew up with it.
Barely three years after Bonsoir’s demise comes ‘The Bonsoir Diaries’, un-edited and un-plugged, by Kumar de Silva, one of its pioneers, who, together with his erstwhile colleagues Yasmin Rajapakse and Chintananda Abeysekera, created magic on the little screen during those early days of television
A Samaranayake publication, ‘The Bonsoir Diaries’ is a cocktail of explosive chapters, bursting at their seams, and, revealing everything you never saw on your favourite television show … from the 80s ... through the 90s ... into 2000.
Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs of the French Embassy Michel Treutenaere says, “‘The Bonsoir Diaries’ is a delightful collection of 50 unpretentious ‘essays’, which transforms the book into a testimony of the "belle epoque" of Bonsoir. It is also a ‘reference book’ about a show, an investment at risk, which made its debut on the airwaves with a small audience, and which, thanks to the professionalism and creativity of its staff, became a great media success and a shining example of worthy audio-visual cooperation”.
“To all those of you who have seen Bonsoir at some stage of your lives, all I can say is … let these words spark your memory … To those of you who have not seen Bonsoir …. all I can say is … let these words fire your imagination … Let memory and imagination run riot … enjoy the ‘audio-visual’ sequence that unfolds ……” says the author.
“No one who has watched this ground-breaking television programme on ITN will ever forget it. It excelled in visual profiles and was packed with news, views, music, biographies, all of which linked two countries - France and Sri Lanka - in electric matrimony”, says Dr. Lester James Peries.
“Bonsoir successfully exposed Sri Lankans to the modern world by showcasing France and Europe with typical Sri Lankan flavour. Its positive journalistic influence and sensational style, shaped the manner in which Sri Lankan youth thought and acted, as they prepared to embrace the dramatic global evolution at that time”, adds CEO of Caltex Kishu Gomes.
“On instant face value, ‘The Bonsoir Diaries’ is a graphical record of the glorious years of this highly watched television show. One will also realise that the author seamlessly goes beyond his original mandate and parallely makes this an unconscious record of Franco-Sri Lankan ties, bilateral, diplomatic and otherwise, spread over nearly three and a half centuries, going back to 1672, all of which are skillfully woven into the narrative”, says the publisher Ranjith Samaranayake.
Kumar de Silva (www.kumardesilva.com) was decorated ‘Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the Government of France in October last year, in recognition of his significant contribution to promoting French culture and communication in Sri Lanka for more than a quarter of a century.
A Public Relations and Media Consultant, he has held two black and white photography exhibitions – Nostalgie - on France, with a third. ‘The Eiffel Tower - unplugged’, scheduled for October 2013. Paris-trained, and an award-winning television personality, he is a founder member of the Alliance Francaise de Kotte.
His previous publications were ‘Lester by Lester’ and ‘Irangani’, on Sri Lanka’s celebrated film personalities. He is currently working on his next book – ‘Sumitra’ – celebrating the life and times of Sri Lanka’s award-wining woman filmmaker.