MADANI MALWATHTHAGE NOBLE ERUDITE ACTRESS IN ALL MEDIA AT PINNACLE OF CELEBRITY IN A SPARKLING VOYAGE

MADANI MALWATHTHAGE NOBLE ERUDITE ACTRESS, IN ALL MEDIA AT PINNACLE OF CELEBRITY IN A SPARKLING VOYAGE

 

Madani Malwaththage when young her ambition had been to be a singer and a music teacher which Madani’s father had realised her talents had sent her to the music  class  at Mulgampola conducted by Asoka Perera and Ananda Perera brothers duo which she remembers to date. Then at Sarasavi Uyana Maha Vidyalaya it was Sandya Jayakody was her music teacher who had taught her ‘sarigamapadanisa’, then at  Kandy High school she was taught music by teacher Mangala Samarasiri Sir, where in addition to singing she was taught the violin too.She reminisces that even to date she is contact with her gurus. At  home there had been a cassette recorder and a number of cassettes of Malini Bulathsinghala, Karunaratne Divulgane, Gunadasa Kapuge ,Deepika Priyadarshini Pieris which her father had bought , which only Madani was interested in listening not her elder sister or her younger brother.She quipped that among them she had adored the cassette of Karunaratne Divulgane “ Eseta asuwena mayime”, the song ‘sulanga numba wage ‘ most. Madani had loved to listen to them ,particularly as love is common to all but experienced inversely individually . Madani had sung songs at the ‘Kandurata Sevaya Kandy , but focussed  lately mostly on stage plays to unprecedented altitudes, she believes the singing talent had got propelled away. After she had sung in many television programs in the recent past many had advocated her to record her own. Considering the pleas ,Initially on request to the lyrics of Daya Ramya Alwis to music composition of Samantha Perera, then Nawaratne Gamage music to the lyrics composed by a colleague of his, then Sarath Kulanga to the lyrics of Mihira Siritilleke she has recorded songs. All expenses for the recording of the song for Sarath Kulanga’s music  had been borne by Sarath Kulanga himself ,who had done something no one else does or done was affirmed by Madavi, Some more songs she intends to record to the music of Darshana Wickrematunga and others too soon.

Madani Malwaththage  is a versatile , stage, tele drama, cinema actress and model had portrayed Dittala character in “ Dittala Kala Gola” Nadagam stage drama of Punyasena Gunasinghe, for ten years after Menike Attanayake portrayed. Madani was born in upcountry, seven kilometres from Peradeniya, Bolawatta village. Initially studied at Peradeniya Sarasavi Uyana Maha Vidyalaya , thereafter at Kandy High school where she had sat for advanced level studied music as her  pet subject for which  scored highest marks close to hundred always. Also she had participated in the school’s annual variety shows and drama and in all island school drama and music competitions. Teachers knowing her innate talent had in her wanted her to participate in all such events in school. Madani disclosed that her first interest in art had arisen from the Peradeniya university ‘wala’.In that era there had been each year one week was allocated to the “wala sathiya” festival week, one stage drama  was held daily where exclusively  one or two  Dr  Ediriweera Sarathchandra dramas like Sinhabahu and Maname and top stage plays which were selected at the state annual drama festival  were undoubtedly staged. Madani confessed that from her pre grade classes she had been fortunate to witness yearly all such plays as her father,Lionel Malwaththage was  the chief person  instrumental in organising this annual event having worked in the University of Peradeniya holding the  position as President of the  University Arts Board .At a television dialog Madani quipped that she used to walk about five to six kilometres to and from the Peradeniya ‘ Sarathchandra open air theatre -wala’ to view the stage plays . During the ‘Wala sathiya” seven separate dramas were shown among them Dr Sarathchandra’s Sinhabahu, Maname , Kada Walalu were definite inclusions while those dramas who were selected as the top dramas in the state drama festival were selected to stage. The audience was predominantly attended by all lecturers, science and arts students. These were a huge boost for Madani whose desire and ambition  was someday to execute in the “wala’. She has quipped that she was one exclusive person who was afforded this unique opportunity to witness all theatrical oriented and life-oriented dramas produced in Sri Lanka.Madani had been accompanied by a ‘click’ comprising of all close relatives aunts, uncles. cousins etc who by 5 pm used to walk to the ‘wala’ to witness the stage dramas which commenced at 7 pm. The members of the ‘click’ were used to develop disputes on the frames in the narratives in the stage dramas witnessed on the way back which devised substance to enhance their expertise within the philosophies of the dramas . Madavi believes that the root cause of her immense fondness to drama had developed from this original ‘beejaya’. She believes she had art embedded in her system and was of the view she liked only this art, no other profession she would prolong.  Madani from her younger days had developed a terrific liking to perform in the ‘open air wala’ . Madani reminisced the first stage play she had witnessed was ‘ Maname’.She quipped that as a mark of respect to Dr Ediriweera Saratchandra, his stage plays ‘Sinhabahu’ and “Maname’ were invariably staged each year. Her father had been in the habit of introducing to all stalwarts who participated in the dramas from her younger days whereby she had got the opportunity to know them too a rare opportunity indeed. Madavi had watched the ‘Maname’ stage drama lately when Kumari Perera and Rathna Lalani Jayakody portrayed the ‘Maname Bisawa’ roles.

 

Madani’s dual roles in ‘Jagan Ma’ stage play need to be reminisced as she portrayed the role of a boy and girl.For her role in the girl’s character she received an award. Once Dharmasiri Bandaranayake who watched the stage play had noticed why the character played by the boy did not appear at the curtain call which Madani explained as she came for the curtain call clad in the female attire. Madani added that it was an extremely difficult proposition as she had to behave like a boy in many actions even in the voice.This challenge was well accepted and executed immaculately ,Madani was very pleased with this opportunity she was afforded. .

Madani to date has portrayed roles exceeds over one hundred tele dramas after her initial portrayal in Srinath Maddumage’s new year endeavour mentioned above. Madani ‘s initial a long portrayal was the one directed by Nalan Mendis. Among the above cluster , Madani reminisces her role and the teledrama ‘Rangira’ which she had impressed also many audiences though not subjected to winning awards.This and some others she depicted roles were similar to teledramas like ‘Elle Langa Walauwwa’,’Giraya’, “Yashorawaya”, “Asal Wesiyo’, seen in the earlier era. Then Madeni reminisced the award winning teledrama ‘Maddhana” at many award ceremonies of Sunil Ratnayake .Then Madavi recollected the teledrama “Mahapolawa” telecast in ITN. Madani laid emphasis on the teledrama ‘Giridevi’ directed by Indika Dharmatilleke, which needed to be hailed as attracted to huge interest among many audiences. Madani added viewers had got addicted to this teledrama for hers and Shalini’s portrayals so immaculately depicted. Madeni said viewers were in a ‘tele pipasen’ until then as it was full of dreariness. In  ‘Adisi’  an ongoing  mega teledrama telecast over TV Derana Madani portrays an important character loved by viewers..

 

In all these portrayals Madani had adopted to the characters fittingly leaving her individuality totally aside. Madani had made a pledge to all directors known to her not to impede to such depictions  but  to offer her diverse fictional characters which she adores to illustrate within her vast performing arts repertoire. Madani affirmed as an example that if a ‘ mother’ is taken for a role  there are so many with diverse characteristics , the artistes should possess in  common sense in abundant proportions to excel .

Madani’s  career as a cinematic actress is not all large like in stage plays and teledramas.This is a question many ask her why so barely. After her portrayal in epic fantasy film ‘Kaala’ in 2017 directed by Sujeewa Gunaratne produced by Keerthi Ratnayake where she had to depict nine separate roles which could have been achieved by an actress like Madani only many believe. This appearance was incidentally an experimental endeavour in our film industry .This type of portrayal was only possible by legendary Madani. After she  was  known for Kaala  in the  following year in 2018 , it was thereafter  film ‘Joyful Journeys’  and then in the following year  ‘Miss Jenis’ in  year 2020. She has since received many invitations to portray diverse roles in films where she intends to depict deviating from Madavi.

There had been a time after her advanced level when students congregate in school in clusters to relax and perhaps gossip. On a newspaper that rapped a colleagues lunch parcel Madani had read an advertisement inserted by the youth authorities calling for applicants for a course in ‘Natya Ranga Kalawa”.She and her best friend Deepika had applied and were called for three grim interviews by a panel of well-known  dramatists. The duo Madani and Deepika had been selected among seventy in total. Of course she reminisced that by the time the course progressed  many dropped out leaving only about twenty five.Madavi and Deepika had been boarded in a vicinity dwelling during the period of training. After her advanced level she entered the National Youth Services Centre Maharagama to learn ‘Natya and Ranga Kalawa’ subject extensively under Douglas Siriwardena.Though it was for six months it had to be extended to over a year as Katya Kalawa had a very wide learning process. Madani reminisced that there was a strict rule within the ‘Youth’ that no student could take part in any other even until the course was over.One of the senior lecturers HA Perera had wanted to give Madani a chance flouting the laid down rule in the ‘youth’ as she was very talented .Once when she was elected to portray a role in Srinath Maddumage’s  new year short teledrama while travelling in the van Douglas Siriwardena had called and blamed HA Perera why he was breaking the rigid rule. To Madani’s defence HA Perera had said this talented girl need to be exposed, our responsibility is to guide them, for that plea he had given permission for that teledrama only promising it would not be repeated also that Madani’s safety was assured. Madani too had apologised to Douglas Siriwardena promising not to repeat.

When the budget was over the participants were taken by Douglas Siriwardena to one of his  dwellings in Madapatha where the males were stationed, the girls had got boarded in the vicinity had come for the rehearsals of the new play of the master  for his second production in the play ‘Sihala Wanshala” for which for three months the crew have had rehearsals .The stage play was staged at the Lumbini theatre which was the maiden appearance on stage for all.   Immediately after her tenure at the NYSC Madani had been selected for portrayal of a role in Jayalath Manoratne’s ‘Kaneru Mal’ stage drama in year 2000 which had been staged in the ‘wala’ which fulfilled Madani’s dream abruptly. Madani commented that a stage drama in the ‘wala’ may fail or succeed which totally depends on the responses of the audience.

Dr Jayalath Manoratne had been an adjudicator in the practicals at the passing out in the NYSC had selected six of them .Thereafter had portrayed a number of significant roles like ‘Sinha Sivalee” in Sinhabahu and ‘Maname Bisawa’ in Maname stage dramas impressively as Madani had watched them portraying the respective roles a number of times at the open air ‘wala’. From the era of Dr Sarathchandra , Dayananda Gunawardena’s , Madura Jawanika, portrayed a ‘Kantha Bumikawak’  formerly portrayed by Anula Bulathsinghala and Manike Attanayake . Madavi did pay tribute to the duo as it is not an easy proposition to portray roles similarly to what they had depicted so professionally . It is learnt that Anula Bulathsingha who had watched Madani’s endeavour had praised her immensely. Madani quipped that she was selected for this role by Dayananda Gunawardena’s son ,Wasantha Gunawardena and wife who are continuing his legacy. Even ‘Neyange Suduwa’ which had two versions one of Daya Weiman and the other of Dayananda Gunawardena which many are confused. These essentially separate ‘Javanika’s like ‘Kuweni’, ‘Maname’ etc. are also under “Madura Javanika”.Madani had continued these roles for over ten years a very creditable accomplishment.

It was revealed by Madani that directors continued to give her harsh characters as she portrays them best as it is generally a practice for directors to follow suite in this field.  Madavi always pays her highest tribute to all former erudite artistes from who she had learnt.  In Gajaman Puwathe ( still portraying Gajaman Nona’s role, formerly portrayed by Ratnamalee Gunasekera), Bakmaha Akunu,( portrayed the role of Lama Thena) , then under Simon Nawagaththegama (Suba Saha Yasa), RR Samarakoon, (Kelani Palama),Makara of Henry Jayasena produced by Dr Jayalath Manoratne.Madani quipped that she had worked with the new generation too like Akila Sampath, Hemantha Prasad, Buddhika Damayantha, Dhananjaya Karunaratne etc,.This of course  Madani reluctantly though attributed her success ,morally for her memorable aptitude.  Dr Jayalath Manoratne in boundary stage plays with diverse roles had participated in many stage dramas portraying vivid roles which she reiterated that she leaves one character aside when portraying another given character which is a hall mark of her unblemished career. After her acquaintances, performing diverse roles with the above greats, Madavi had lately portrayed roles in the stage dramas of Sarath Kotalawala,Dhananjaya Karunaratne,Buddhika Damayantha too adapting and modifying to distinct styles with consummate comfort. Madavi was questioned as to how she got acquainted to different styles, she quipped as she had developed her skills in acting, singing and dancing as it was what Dr Ediriweera Sarathchandra had advocated for an actress which she had already personified in her. But Madani had known of him only when she was young but had passed away when she came to light but she was groomed by  Madam Lalitha Sarathchandra who was continuing his legacy in the similar vein preserving his  fabulous creations. Madam Saratchandra has been successful in preserving his dramas by selecting appropriate artistes. Madani had affirmed that she had developed her skills in dancing and acting during her tenancy at the NYSC but she  already had immense innate talent for singing having focussed in music when at school and lately. Madavi added that as an artiste one needs to follow many finer points like even how to stand erectly. acting postures , viewing with eyes  which are fundamentally mandatory for all to succeed.. Madani emphasised that to triumph need to change from one character to another abruptly which is very important for a successful artiste which is a scientific process to be followed. To Madani it is the life events experienced that are portrayed on stage. But there are times when Madani had wanted to express her real feelings in life via her portrayals, she endeavours to express which she relishes in portraying. It is said that among all professions in the world acting is one of the hardest ten occupations.

In Year 2000 while at the NYSC Madani had met Keerthi Ratnayake who had enormous experience in art well versed in the drama arena having studied the phenomenon elaborately winning many awards at many festivals and all Island state drama festivals which had been a tremendous boost to Madavi who was endeavouring to be a star.The duo had married in year 2000 itself.  Son,Chamidu Themia Ratnayake  was born on 19th December 2003. Madani had acted on stage until her sixth month of pregnancy. On this day she had developed pains early morning had entered castle street hospital for women for her confinement but until half past ten .As the baby was rather heavy doctors had performed a caesarean operation. Young Chamidu believes he too had acquired art via hereditary affiliations to Madavi affirms he too is into art from even before birth. Madani had commenced acting and taking part in rehearsals when Chamidu was two months old, she happily commented that all her associates had rendered a genuine humanity attitude in bringing up infant Chamidu .He had followed art inherited from the parents duo from his young days.Madani had at all times whenever she could attended to his needs. Chamidu is  presently  an advanced level student at Nalanda College, follows art subjects, music and ‘ranga kalawa’,mass communication linked to each other.He is one who  surfs the internet often  to explore many happenings in the world which has now become rather minute . Had portrayed roles in Jayalath Manoratne stage dramas like ‘Guru Tharuwa’, Thanamala Pipila portraying child characters as “Punchi Hethu” also in other Tele dramas and in many  television commercials  from his very younger days owing to his  cuteness and adorability ,also like to follow Mother’s footsteps .He is into photography, videography having his own studio . Chamidu has acquired hereditary affiliations from mother in singing talents could sing well and  play many musical instruments .Chamidu very appropriately  has been given the freedom to select what he likes without forcing him to perform what he does not like which all parents should emulate is Madani’s gentle direction.

Madani in addition to her busy schedules in acting find time to attend to many television programs where invariable she is requested to sing for which has talent in abundance having trained in music from her young days.She had participated in all television channels and some radio and Frequency Modulation (fm)  channels. In programs like TV derana’s ‘Ma Novena Mama” where for the first time she sang seven songs to delight  audiences showing her singing repertoire. She had participated in ITN’s  ‘Nim Him Sara’ , Ayubowan, Nugasevena, Iridalankaraya in Yes fm radio, Hard talk in Siyatha TV, Jeevithayata Idadenna in SirasaTV,Lines and Beyond etc etc.

Madani is an unselfish unassuming actress who believes in imparting her immense knowledge gained to anyone with pleasure. In this scenario she has commenced her own Academy  in theatre and arts at the Nada Institute named “ Dithirumbaya” for enthusiastic learners in ‘Natya and Ranga Kalawa”. It is a tri month gruelling program which commences August, September and October thereafter a workshop production is conducted for the benefit of all novice enthusiastic personnel .Once more her program commences in January to March followed with a workshop production and it revolves through the entire year which is an extremely  cumbersome exercise,  to enhance the knowledge and talents of all student learners.

Madani Malwaththage is essentially a very cynical  person a very emotional which was proved when at a television dialog when asked about her mother, who expired six years ago she became dumbfounded for a few minutes speaking out about her demise after suffering for a few months fighting dreaded cancer. Her most loved and linked persons in life had been father and mother.Father she described as a very tall handsome person who greeted everyone warmly is her definite hero .In the same dialog Madani added she is perhaps too emotional in nature as, if she sees a stray dog wet in the street her tendency is to give shelter at her place. Madani still young though has had a effervescent voyage for over two decades . There is much more time for her to exploit herself in new creations more particularly in cinematic creations as undoubtedly as one of the most sought-after gorgeous actresses ever emerged in native Sri Lanka.All her mammoth volume of fans would no doubt await to view her new feats as a very sought-after abundant talent oozing rare actress.

Sunil Thenabadu e mail sthenabadu@email.com whatsapp 0061444533242