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MENAFN - Arab News - 30/08/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) KITULGALA: Its detonation is one of the most iconic scenes in movie history.

Now 57 years after it was blown to smithereens authorities in Sri Lanka plan to rebuild the 'Bridge on the River Kwai' to assuage the anger among locals over a controversial dam project.

While the World War II epic was supposedly set in Japanese-held Burma (present-day Myanmar) it was mostly filmed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) between 1956 and 1957 less than a decade after independence from Britain.

The final scene in which a British officer played by Alec Guinness blows up a rail bridge that his fellow prisoners of war have just built was shot at sleepy Kitulgala two hours' drive from the capital Colombo.

In recent years the village has become a magnet for adrenalin junkies who can white-water raft down the river whose real name is the Kelani.

So when Sri Lanka's Electricity Board unveiled plans to dam the river as part of an 82 million hydro-electric project there was widespread dismay among locals whose livelihoods depend on tourism. But in a bid to soften the blow the electricity board has announced that it will pay for the reconstruction of a new wooden bridge built on the original's foundations to attract fans of the Oscar-winning movie.

'We have offered to rebuild the bridge at the same location' the board's chief project engineer Kamal Laksiri told AFP on a visit to Kitulgala which is around 90 kilometers (56 miles) north-east of Colombo.

'Today there is no bridge only a few concrete posts remain. But we have looked at drawings and pictures of the bridge and we will recreate it.'

The explosion scene in which a train packed with Japanese VIPs derails and then plunges into the river below had to be shot twice in 1957 after a cameraman failed to give the correct signal to director David Lean.

 


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