MADANI MALWATTAGE DIGNIFIED ERUDITE ACTRESS AT APEX OF CELEB IN A DAZZLING VOYAGE

MADANI MALWATTAGE DIGNIFIED ERUDITE ACTRESS, IN ALL MEDIA AT APEX OF CELEB IN A DAZZLING VOYAGE

 

It was the university of Peradeniya open air theatre predominantly and traditionally known as “wala” is the place where Madani Malwattage’s life got transformed. Her father, Lionel Malwattage  an employee of the university who held the prestigious position as the President of the university art circle,  was chiefly instrumental in organizing the ‘yearly ‘wala sathiya’ where seven dramas were used to be staged. Madani, her elder sister and younger brother the trio invariably were taken to witness all stage dramas from the very young ages. which were patronized by lecturers , students as well as hundreds of stage drama fanatics. Madani, then was not merely be seated and watching the drama, but it was a significant spectacle for Madani  like correspondingly sitting for the entrance examination for the university and getting through to graduation. Madani was fully immersed in all productions, spontaneously her mind and soul surged into this artistic and creative philosophy. Obviously, the theatre bug had stung her to lofty elevations. This is the route Madani Malwattage chose unanimously to be a dominant stage thespian.

 

Madani Malwattage was born on 21st October 1979 when young her sole ambition had been to be a singer and a music teacher which Madani’s father having realised her flairs had sent her to the music class  at Mulgampola steered by Asoka Perera and Ananda Perera brothers duo who she remembers with gratitude to date. Madani was also sent to a dance academy by her father felt she had inherited the talent for dancing too. She was initially educated at Sarasavi Uyana Maha Vidyalaya where it was Sandya Jayakody her music teacher who had taught her ‘sarigamapadanisa’ and dancing too, thereafter at  Kandy High school she was taught music by teacher Mangala Samarasiri Sir, where in addition to singing she was taught to execute the violin too. She reminisces that even to date she is contact with her gurus. Madani affirmed that from her younger days in class she had been obtaining very high marks for the music subject almost close to the maximum of one hundred marks. Madani had always participated in the school’s annual variety shows and dramas 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.

 

At home there had been a cassette recorder and a number of cassettes of Malini Bulathsinhala, Karunaratne Divulgane, Gunadasa Kapuge ,Deepika Priyadarshini Pieris which her father had bought , which only Madani was deeply interested in listening but not her elder sister or her younger brother. She quipped that among them she had cherished the cassette of Karunaratne Divulgane songs titled “ Eseta asuwena mayime”, and ‘sulanga numba wage ‘ most. Madani had loved to listen to them , particularly as love aspect is common to all but experienced inversely independently . Madani  had sung songs demonstrating her talent at the ‘Kandurata Sevaya’ Kandy , but focussed  lately mostly on stage plays which was her passion  to unprecedented tall elevations. She believes the singing talent had got propelled away as perhaps both talents could not go parallel. After she had sung in many television programs in the recent past many had advocated her to record her own. Considering these pleas, Initially, on request she recorded a song to the lyrics of Daya Ramya Alwis to the music composition of Samantha Perera, then to Nawaratne Gamage’s music to the lyrics composed by a colleague of his, then to the music and melody of 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 Madani, Some more songs, she intends to record to the music of Darshana Wickrematunga and others too soon.

 

Madani Malwattage  is a versatile , stage, tele drama, cinema actress and model had portrayed Dittala character in “ Dittala Kala Gola” the ‘nadagam’ popular stage drama of Punyasena Gunasinghe, for ten years after Menike Attanayake had portrayed. Madani was born in upcountry, seven kilometres from Peradeniya, in the Bolawatta. Madani disclosed that her first interest in art had arisen from the Peradeniya university open air ‘wala’.In that era there had been each year one week was allocated to the “wala sathiya” a famous festival week, one stage drama  was held daily during the week, where exclusively  one or two  of Dr  Ediriweera Sarathchandra dramas like Sinhabahu and Maname and top stage plays which were selected from 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 Malwattage  was  the foremost person  instrumental in organising and selecting the dramas to be staged for this annual event having worked in the University of Peradeniya holding the prestigious  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 with utmost enthusiasm. The audience was predominantly attended by all lecturers, science and arts students and drama fanatics. 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 affirmed 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  in the narratives overheard in the stage dramas witnessed on their 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 which was  her view she liked  this amazing art, with absolutely 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 actors and actresses 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 too when Kumari Perera and Rathna Lalani Jayakody portrayed the roles of  ‘Maname Bisawa’ had been thinking if she too could perform similarly.

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It had been at the ‘youth’  that she had got  to know the giants in the field and opportunity to study the subject deeply. Dougles Siriwardene, H.A.Perera, K.B.Herath, Jayalath Manorathna, Mangala Senanayake, Nissanka Diddeniya and several others were her teachers, She set foot to the open stage in the year 2000, receiving an opportunity by Jayalath Manorathna in his play “Kaneru Mal” which was staged in the ‘ wala’ too fulfilling her childhood ambition .Of course she reminisced  that she had taken part in rehearsals for three months.Not much later Madani portrayed role in Simon Nawagaththegama’s “Subha Saha Yasa”, Dougles Siriwadene’s “Sihala Wanshala”, R.R.Samarakoon’s “Kelani Palama”, Punyasena Gunasingha’s “Dikthala and Kala Gola” Dhananjaya Karunarathne’s “Sihina Rangahala”, K.B.Herath’s “Jagan Ma” and Rohana Beddage’s “Alakalanchiya” which are only a few stage dramas in which Madani portrayed diverse roles.

 

In  year2001, she portrayed a role in Janapriya Jayasinghe’s “Weradi Welawe Hamuwu Hari Miniha” for which she was nominated for the best supporting actress at the state drama festival. Again, she was nominated for the same category at the state drama festival for her role in Sunil Chandrasiri’s “Don Juwan”. In year 2003, she was nominated for the award of best actress at the state drama festival for her portrayal at Hemantha Prasad’s “Malsara Bisaw”.  Madani’s dual roles in ‘Jagan Ma’ stage play need to be reminisced as she portrayed the role of a boy as well as a girl.For her role in the girl’s character she received an award. O Dharmasiri Bandaranayake who had 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 was clad in the female attire as she had displayed her role at the end of the play. Madani added that it was an extremely difficult proposition as she had to behave like a boy in several actions even in her voice. This challenge was well accepted and executed immaculately. Madani  affirmed she was very pleased with this opportunity  she was afforded.

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Madani to date has portrayed roles exceeding in over one hundred tele dramas after her initial portrayal in Srinath Maddumage’s new year endeavour mentioned above. Madani ‘s initial a elongated portrayal was the one directed by Nalan Mendis. Among the above cluster, Madani reminisces her role and the teledrama ‘Rangira’ in which she had also impressed many audiences though not adjudicated for awards. This and some others she depicted roles were in teledramas similar to yesteryear teledrama like ‘Elle Langa Walauwwa’,’Giraya’, “Yashorawaya”, “Asal Wesiyo’, seen in the earlier era etched in minds of viewers. Then Madeni reminisced the award winning teledrama ‘Maddhana” at many award ceremonies of Sunil Ratnayake . Madavi also  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 a gigantic interest among many audiences. Madani added viewers had got addicted to this teledrama for hers and Shalini’s portrayals so immaculately depicted. Madani had quipped that viewers were in a ‘tele pipasen’ until then as it was full of dreariness until it was telecast. 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 on 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 student participants were taken over 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 for three months of the new play of their Master  for his second production in the play ‘Sihala Wanshala”  the crew have had  rehearsals .The stage play was staged at the Lumbini theatre which was the maiden appearance on stage for all students.  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 Manoratna had been an adjudicator in the practicals at the passing out at 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 Menike 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 Sarathchandra 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 , 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 colleagues had rendered a genuine humanity attitude in bringing up infant Chamidu while at rehearsals .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.When he was attending school she used to get up at half past four in the morning prepare meals for him to take to school. Thereafter only she attends to her professional activities. Chamidu presently  has completed  advanced level  at Nalanda College, following art subjects, music and ‘ranga kalawa’,mass communication all 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 to be updated. He had portrayed roles in Jayalath Manoratna’s stage dramas like ‘Guru Tharuwa’, Thanamala Pipila portraying child characters as “Punchi Hethu” also in other teledramas ,also in many  television commercials  from his very younger days owing to his  cuteness and adorability . Chamidu o likes to follow mother’s footsteps, he is very closely attached to her. .He is also into photography, videography having his own studio . Chamidu has acquired hereditary affiliations from mother in acting and singing  could sing well and execute several melodic instruments .Chamidu very appropriately  has been given the freedom by parents 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 invariably she is requested to sing for which all know she has talent in abundance having trained in music from her young days. A question that is posed to her by the hosts always is whether she  thinks, was it appropriate to have been born in India or America where she would been in a much elevated popular actress. The answer had been yes, but she had affirmed that to have been born in native Sri Lanka, she has absolutely no regrets. 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 from the 2nd of July 2022, to fulfill a long desire she had to share her immense knowledge gained during her tenure in the field for over twenty-two years. Many had questioned Madani why she is not sharing her experiences among novices, also why she is late on it.She had received reliable  evidence that in all schools the practical side of performing art is still at snails pace not taught extensively. Madani had been contemplating on this venture with her close trusted friend for years Thilini Weerasinghe who had for over two decades conducted such workshops with education in India having expertise in ‘Yoga” also a exceedingly hailed character actress. The expertise on ‘Yoga’ is to be added to the intended course as it could ideally calm and relax one’s mind. Madani had believe that once these activities are combined for the novice students who could be groomed in an immaculate trend. Madani also emphasised that prospective actors and actresses should learn how a doctor, beggar , layman for that matter as should be in a position to accept any role given to portray. Madani and Thilini had been planning to commence this exclusive workshop for a considerable length of time. in theatre and arts at the Nada Institute, the western province ‘soundarya nikethanaya’. The name of the workshop is “ Dithirumbaya” ,the name was given by Daya Ramya Alwis which is the term used in the primitive era in ancient plays. The workshop is exclusively designed 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 with the participation of all students. is conducted for the benefit of all novice enthusiastic personnel. Madani quipped that three-month period is an adequate period for a proper training. On Saturdays and Sundays, the workshop hours would be from 9 AM to 3 PM. Once more the workshop program  will commence again  in January to March followed with a workshop production at the end,  it revolves through the entire year which is an extremely cumbersome exercise,  to enhance the knowledge and talents of all student learners.In a recent television dialog she was a bit unhappy about the attitudes of the present younger generation. Many are addicted to mobile phones and computers .The emotional qualities have diminished, the manner they behave with the parents, society is different, tending to lose temper, how they collide with humanity is different. She believes that if the younger generation adopts to follow art, music, culture to a large extent of the shortcomings could be diminished. Madani emphasised that every child is through innate affiliations has some art embedded need to be nurtured by parents.

 

Madani Malwattage follows Buddhist precepts to precision, is essentially a very unselfish 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. Her father she described as a fair, 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 wet stray dog  in the street her inclination is to give it shelter at her place.Madani had stated though she is very emotional she has the courage to resist such emotional situations also she is a very robust person who could face any situation ,not scared for the dark ,loves challenges above all she is very lovable. She loves to smile with anyone for which deal she had quipped is very treasured to her.

 

Madani as known to all had taken part in many stage dramas, at times there have been times when she had to portray seven or eight different portrayals within a perhaps within two weeks or so.  Madani had added she is like a computer been updated always. Several have questioned her how she remembers the dialogues very well  of each different to one another. This endeavour she successfully navigates was affirmed by her as she is so dedicated.

Madani still young though has had an 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 of talent oozing rare actress.

 

Sunil Thenabadu e mail sthenabadu@email.com whatsapp 0061444533242