Film and Screen Studies staff and community are saddened to hear of the death of Monash alumni and award winning film director and screenwriter, Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja, who passed away on the morning of January 28, 2018, aged 74.
Dharmasena Pathiraja started his academic career at the University of Kelaniya as an assistant lecturer. Later he worked as a lecturer in several Sri Lankan universities, including, University of Jaffna, University of Ruhuna and University of Colombo.
1978’s Bambaru Avith is widely considered Pathiraja’s masterpiece. That year it represented Sri Lanka at the 10th Moscow International Film Festival and was screened at the Venice and Los Angeles Film Festivals. In Sri Lanka it was awarded Best Director and Best Film honors at the first Presidential Film Awards and the OCIC Awards. In 1997 a special council selected to celebrate 50 years of Sri Lankan Cinema named it the fourth best Sri Lankan film of all-time.
Undertaken during a 1990s sabbatical at Monash University (Clayton), Dharmasena Pathiraja’s PhD dissertation was titled, The Dialectic of Region and Nation in the Films of Bengali Independents: Ghatak, Ray and Sen .