YASHODA WIMALADHARMA POSSESSING SUPREME CHARISMA,ACTRESS ON STAGE,TELEVISION,CINEMA,LOCALLY AND OVERSEAS ,MODEL,BROADCASTER,LYRICIST ,HAVING A MASTERS IN HINDI IN AN ANIMATED JOURNEY FOR FIVE AND A HALF YEARS IN CELEB

Yashoda Wimaladharma with supreme charisma ,actress on stage, television, cinema locally and overseas, model, broadcaster, lyricist having a Masters in Hindi in an animated journey of three and a half decades in celeb

 

 

Raigama Lokumanage Yashoda Wimaladharma actress, model, presenter, lyricist,   born  on the 28th October 1970 to parents Professor Ravilal Wimaladharma  formerly in the university of Kelaniya and  Mallika Wimaladharma a teacher predominantly known to be a  dance ‘guru’ acclaimed undoubtedly as one of the most astonishing actresses of her generation  She has an elder sister Thusitha seven years  elder also a teacher .But she had never thought of art not even acted in any stage drama or taken part in any activities at her school,St Paul’s Milagiriya, not even recited a ‘kavi’ ,until by sheer coincidence ,when she was sixteen years old in the ninth year despite her unwillingness to participate in a teledrama directed by her maternal uncle Bandula Vithanage , Yashoda on persistence of father was forced to portray a role as sister of Kelum Wijesuriya in 1986 in the SLRC ‘s teledrama,  shot  for the first time within the studios itself  titled “ Atta Bindei’ portraying the role of Priyanka. She  has had then to take permission from the Principal of her ‘alma mater’ by furnishing the script and details of her role. This character had not been that cumbersome to her, as she had to portray an identical role to that of her life as it was that of a school going girl but having a brother although in real life she has had only a sister .The parents portrayals were displayed by veterans Santin Gunawardena and Veena Jayakody.

In 1990, when her uncle illustrious Bandula Vithanage uncle ,cast her as a main character in a play which won for her the Best Actress award at that year’s state drama festival, which she had added was never anticipated. She had always tested herself, challenged herself, surpassed herself. She is one who  do not choose each screenplay that comes her way. But Yashoda makes certain that the ones that come her way, she choose, push her  beyond the  limits of the script. It had  not been a cake walk and effortless at the onset. Yashoda  had confessed that she was not born with a silver spoon, was far from it to venture into  performing arts sector. Her father, Ravilal Wimaladharma, was Professor of Hindi at Kelaniya University, who had excelled in poetry, music, and the media who was instrumental in launching a Hindi service in the SLBC, to cater to exclusively Indian listeners. More importantly, her maternal uncle ‘mama” had been the illustrious playwright, director cum actor, Bandula Vithanage. Yashoda had added she owed it to him for having encouraged her she recalled. Yashoda had not even sat for her  ‘O’ Levels  at her ‘alma mater’ St Pauls Milagiriya when  Uncle had placed her  in front of a camera, for the first time she reminisced .Yashoda pays tribute to her teachers and colleague students for been very friendly and receptive when in her Advanced level.

 

Yashoda having excelled in her much-loved subject, literature  and Hindi language in her school St.Paul’s Milagiriya, she pursued her university education at Kelaniya, where her father lectured. Her campus life wasn’t at all rosy at all she  had retorted repeatedly. The ragging of  freshers had been intense and brutal, degrading nature had become the familiar pattern then. But that had not impeded her. Yashoda when entered Kelaniya University but owing the catastrophe that existed in the 1989 era the universities were closed for three years also due to the unrest of university students, during this period too she had been involved in acting in all three formats .Yashoda had lamented many times to the media and to television that a subject she hates to reminisce is her university tenure, as the most outrageous and appalling occurrence in her life had been during her early university aera .She quipped that from her ninth standard until then and after she had continued her acting in the same vein striding to stage, teledramas and films.She acknowledged that most of her portrayals had been cherished mostly by the educated quarters including the university students,  who all have had a enormous respect to her.Yashoda had even requested her father permission to continue to have an external course as it was then a time consuming period also that she could perform her main hind language. But father had replied persons like Professor Ediriweera Sarathchandra ,Jackson Anthony and  Dr Jayalath Manoratne too had participated in activities of art while studying in the university, for  her to remain in the university emulating her elder sister and himself as it would be an ideal stranglehold . But the intensity of the rag was unbearable to her, which she described as “ Vishvavidyalaye navaka wadaye kalakanni sanscruthaya”. It was a period then when even the university professors were held hostage by pointing kris knives etc by ruthless students. The professors were never allowed to offer any redress to innocent new entrants. Yashoda explained that the students who conduct the rag are those who had come from border villages and other rural villages were jealous of new entrants like Yashoda, it was like taking revenge for their sufferings during the civil war periods, living standards etc. Yashoda quipped that the mental and physical torments faced cannot be explained over any media. It was revealed by Yashoda was not subjected to common rags involving groups of new entrants, but she was dealt independently, individually. She was even prevented from attending to lectures which was never done usually. Yashoda unable to bear this further had asked why are you attacking me like this, as you are the people who appreciated me earlier in my portrayals, the answer was you are  here to learn ‘Hindi’ which you could learn while at home etc, our question is you have deprived another student in entering the campus. Also she had been accused for not going to India despite having money and popularity. After verbal abuses they commenced physical harming too which Yashoda could not resist had even decided to commit suicide by jumping from a third floor of a building nearby that was been constructed in the vicinity to escape from them.As she attempted to jump a lecturer had not allowed her to jump. Unfortunately her father too had witnessed this horrible incident .Yashoda summed up saying because of all this the most oppressed person was her father,who was such a kind person known to all, who taught the students with highest thoughtfulness sacrifce and dedication. As he was very emotional person could not resist Yashoda’s misery regretting also for not consenting to Yashoda’s pleas to follow an external course, he had come to a nervous breakdown while in the campus premises, having had to retire prematurely, later had become paralysed , thereafter had lived in seclusion for four years and expired in year 2000 when he was seventy years old. It needs to be reminisced that the Wimaladharma family had dwelled at the Elvitigala flats in a top most tier, when bringing father down when he had to be taken to the doctor was a tedious progression, which Yashoda with the assistance of her mother and  ‘Punchi Amma” who had dwelled with them had accomplished a role which even a son would never have conquered. Despite all such distractions she had completed her degree and then completed her Master’s in Hindi at Lucknow university thus fulfilling father’s dreams even exceeding his intents, even today Yashoda believes that her father would be looking at her successes from wherever he is also believes  will continue to bless her.

At a television dialog Yashoda reminisced the action she initiated about the prevention of the brutal type of ragging that is still experienced for the benefit of all new entrants to universities. Yashoda had added that some colleagues owing to ragging  had  died, got paralysed restricted to wheel chairs, some permanently insane in psychiatrist wards ,some have left the island in sheer frustration. But the majority that who were  impacted are scared to express views to media. When Yashoda was affected it was her father a professor in the same faculty who became a victim , depriving students to learn from him in literature, Sinhala, English, Hindi, also taught the manner to live. Yashoda had from year 1993 very boldly have been speaking on several platforms about the cruel ragging  via the several media, print , electronic .As a result in year 1998 an act in parliament was passed empowering the vice chancellors to take action against the raggers. But unfortunately to date the higher authorities of the universities have failed to curb this situation as  the backing of a leftist political party is behind these ruthless elements. Only the vice chancellor of the Ruhunu university had been able to curb this wretched ragging of freshers. Yashoda is on the belief that stringent laws need to be enacted firmly by the state to punish the raggers in order to avert this vicious manner of ragging of freshers in all other universities.

Immediately after Yashoda’s ‘A levels’,after her maiden teledrama “Atte Bindei” also of Uncle Bandula Vithanage’s direction had chosen for her again for portrayal as Emily in ‘Hiru Dahasa’, an reworking of Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town’. Along with it Yashoda had come to been in theatre across television, the new medium she had found a little hard to swallow, harder to consume. Yashoda did reminisce there had been complications from day one as she had experienced in failing to  launch her voice forcefully enough. The crew have had to spend six months practising during which period she had to tone up her voice. As a consequence fortunately, her efforts paid had  off  not only she was received to a standing applause. Subsequently, when she participated in the state drama festival, several veteran playwrights and thespians had congregated around her much to her immense delight. The veterans had quipped she deserved the Best Actress award, of course, though she had never anticipated it. During this era in 1991-1992  Yashoda had got an opening to portray a role in a Malayali film in Kerala when an Indian film director had seen her photos when the negatives of the film she acted as Neela in ‘Gurugedera” were sent to a lab in Kerala for processing .She had been selected as she was very proficient in Hindi vernacular . After the first film’ ‘Acharayam’ the directors had picked her for a series of other films ,’Mother Theresa’ other Italian, France films mainly because of her competency in the  Hindi vernacular, also for her Indian appears. She recollects getting the opportunity to portray opposite many famous actors, actresses like Geraldine Chaplin daughter of famous Charlie Chaplin. Although she could have prolonged with those directors she had to return as so many directors in native Sri Lanka needed her .

 

In the earlier decades , a novice had appeared  on stage only very seldom. So when audiences saw Yashoda, they were simply  mesmerized as she was young ,fair and cute. Once she immersed in knowledge, the theatre had become to her a very fascinating place to her.Yashoda had learnt the basics in acting as described by famous Russian dramatist Stanislavski, one has to learn the techniques of acting  and practice .It is essentially consciously been unconscious to be conscious of self be unconscious about self when portraying some other’s character. Yashoda’s success to stardom had been  mainly because she  was clinging on to the moment, sustaining the audience’s curiosity  constantly. Up there on stage, Yashoda have had no retakes. She  needed to give her best performance through. Yashoda believes that for an actress,  living in one’s role is the most challenging , yet most crucial part of the job ,is to maintain this  when she portrayed  Emily’s role in ‘Hiru Dahasa’,  she had sensed , she needed to learn about the topic at a time she wanted to connect campus life with acting which was turned out to be a vocation to her ,as the problem  existed  with no acting school,  which is even now still not established non existent.

By the time Yashoda came of age onstage, there remained only one professional well versed in the subject who could teach her. That person  was Jayantha Chandrasiri her ‘Guru” having studied about acting extensively  from engaging in many workshops in Germany, Sweden Norway and more importantly in many states in USA securing scholarships deservedly . It was  Yashoda’s father’s insistence having known his potential, her training had prolonged for years, though it had been a challenge. Yashoda as a voracious reader had read many books on the subject matter, self-educating on latest techniques, on guidelines, trickeries and crosscuts  .Being an advocate of the ‘Method’, Jayantha Chandrasiri had naturally taught it to her very well. The point with the ‘Method’ is to flawlessly arrive to a character’s life. This had appealed well to Yashoda, since back then she wanted to know how one could ignore oneself, to generate the impression that one is being a different person.

Astonishingly for someone who went through all this because of the theatre, Yashoda had not been in many plays. Four productions only over 30 years hardly amount to much, after all. Once she was done with ‘Hiru Dahasa’, she took part in ‘Venisiye Velenda’, ‘Trojan Kanthawo’, and ‘Makarakshaya’. The latter two, direction of  Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, which on record were two of the finest contemporary political dramas this country had ever been staged.In Trojan Kanthawo, as Andromache, Yashoda portrayed opposing to Anoja Weerasinghe. Part of the pleasure of watching Bandaranayake’s story evolved was seeing these two collide with each other. The level of commitment and loyalty required, to personify not just only the anguish of the women but also, more importantly, their submission in the face of the conquerors, was no doubt immense. Both Yashoda and Anoja have thus been nothing short of absolute brilliance in their respective performances, as Hecuba and Andromache, over the last two decades.

 

Yashoda  has been in much more phenomenal in films, though even there she’s been sparse in her options. It has been reported, her first role had been in an Indian film, 1992’s ‘Acharyan’, next was Vijaya DharmaSri’s ‘Guru Gedara’, in  year 1993 when the director had come in search of her to take permission, was happy that she was the daughter of his Professor in the university. She had quipped she was fortunate to work with capable directors always.Though the character was a small one the viewers had adored it .She reminisced that she won a Sarasaviya award for it’s portrayal. Her first major portrayal had come two years later, in Vasantha Obeyesekere’s ‘Maruthaya’, in retrospection one of his lesser works, but important  because, in it Yashoda acted in a way fundamentally distinct to how she would accomplish in later assemblies. Yashoda in a firm stand undertakes to portray  a new role  she was performing was over which she had maintained always. He added having been fortunate to work under acclaimed directors beginning with her Bandula Mama,Wijaya Dharma Sri,Dharmasena Pathiraja,Sudath Senaratne,Parakrama Niriella,Nalan Mendis then in Sir James Pieris in his teledrama ‘Giraya’ where the role was only miniature. For over thirty five years with the innate talent possessed and the competency of the directors she had been able to  achieve her triumphs overwhelmingly, she claims. She emphasised as taught by her uncle Bandula Vithanage initially how to ‘live’ performing on stage , where there are no takes, no close ups, with only the light and your portrayal with dialogues to be heard to the entire audience. All these she had learnt from the “Hiru Dahasa’ stage play she had affirmed which has to be learned scientifically. Yashoda had got an opportunity to portray a role in Sumthra Pieris film ‘Duwata Mawaka Misa”.Yashoda had quipped that the Lester Sumithra duo is the most gorgeous two to work with just similar to one’s parents. Yashoda reminisced ‘a frame’ in the film where she had to push a tall  oil lamp filled with kerosine oil on to a glass window for it to break. Sumithra Peiris had been worried whether Yashoda would be injured with the broken glass pieces, however Sir Lestor had intervened had guaranteed that such a thing would not happen.Yashoda emphasised his immense knowledge in filming procedures even at his old age. Among her more recent works, ‘Samanala Sandhwaniya’ takes pride of place the role of ‘Punya’ had been the most challenging.  Yashoda had reminisced that Jayantha Chandrasiri  having  had posed a unique challenge in that project. When he had given her the script, told her to wrap up all her other work and come back with a rejuvenated thinking. While Yashoda had brought her prejudiced conceptions about acting to her other roles, Jayantha had been adamant that she approached it as a novice to it. The effect he had wanted was essentially this when  she comes onscreen, what could be seen was that of her  character, ‘Punya’. Quite a different challenge, also unique, faced by Yashoda  in the role of ‘Vaishnavee’, ( a  Goddess) under Sumithra Peiris’ direction,  where for the entirety of the script Yashoda has had to act emotionless while, at the end, she unearthed its sensitive essence having to portray three diverse phases of the Goddess character.

 

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In ‘Maruthaya’, Yashoda was all emotions, scarcely covering her wrath and hardly disguising her hatred for all those intimidating towards her and her family. The opposite cast to her the actress as representative of her period as she would be, Sangeetha Weeraratne, Yashoda fumes, erupts, and glares constantly. She was abnormal, almost unlike herself. When in the second half of the film she , her sister (Sangeetha) enter the world of nightclubs, she goes beyond the limits of her usual self without shattering her integrity. In contrast to the more vociferous sister, she seems, almost gentle, but more often than not she  had broken down. No better film could demonstrate the contrast between this bypass in her vocation than the next role she got through Vasantha Obeyesekere, as a girl, supposedly born to rich parents, in search of her pedigrees in ‘Theertha Yathra’. where no better actress contrasts with her better than Sangeetha. This twin struggle – between her upsurges in ‘Maruthaya’ and her calm temperament post-‘Maruthaya’ on the one hand and between her and Sangeetha’s approaches on the other ,comes up in Jayantha Chandrasiri’s ‘Guerilla Marketing.’ Here, at least until that point in her career,  Yashoda was seen at her best, the former lover of the character, who was married to the partner at his advertising agency at which both women worked. Sangeetha’s outbursts at her husband’s plunges into psychosis, at once sincere and intolerable, are a world away from Yashoda’s more contemplative attitude.

 

 

Yashoda known as the ‘punchi thiraye ahinsakaviya” had been recommended by Chitra Warakapola to director Nalan Mendis to portray the role of Priyanwada in teledrama ‘Doo daruwo ‘in year 1990 a very popular teledrama remembered etched in the minds of viewers  even today. Since then Yashoda had been  invited to portray vivid roles in director Nalan Mendis’s teledramas. In year 1993 in “Ape Eththo” as ‘Udara’, where she had portrayed the role of daughter of late Granville Rodrigo.The the role of Sakuntala in the teledrama “Situwarayo” where she had to portray the role of wife of Duncan Hamu characterised by late HA Perera, a much elder husband.In the same year 1996 Yasodha had portrayed the role of Suba in ‘Nedeyo”.In year 1997 the role was Nirmala Channa Perera’s wife in “Senehewanthayo” for which she won an award at Sumathi awards for the most popular actress.In year 1998 Yashoda had portrayed dual roles as Hiruni and Aruni ,two sisters of one father and two mothers in the teledrama “Hiru Kumari”.In years 1999 the role of Sujatha, a psychiatric patient  was portrayed by Yashoda in the teledrama ‘Bonikko’.In these series of teledramas under the direction of Nalan Mendis Yashoda had to portray vivid roles different to one another which she had portrayed impressively. For young Yashoda she had got the unique opportunity to act alongside with veteran actors and actresses v.i.z.,HA Perera,Grandville Rodrigo,Channa Perera, Damitha Abeyratne, Kamal Addararachchi. Manel Jaysena,Shriyantha Mendis,Tony Ranasinghe,Henty Jayasena, Manel Jayasena,Manel Weeramuni and others the opportunity not had by any other actress then.At a television discussion Yashoda had stressed that the standards of teledramas had been vandalised to unprecedented low altitudes since the advent of the decade 2000 with many low quality teledramas were made as relatively more and more television channels had commenced operations. During this tenure Indian .Korean teledramas were telecast to capture our viewers with Sinhalese vernacular dubbings.Yashoda had quipped that the themes of these were not conducive to our audiences. Also, many producers had haphazardly selected raw actors and actresses’ sans basic knowledge of acting to portray roles.The productions were huge in quantity and very low in quality. In this scenario Yashoda due to this reason also as she do invariable read scripts very prudently before agreeing to portray any role ,had been reluctant to accept roles as such for about two decades, she had portrayed roles only in a fewer number of teledramas not more than five.This was unbelievable as Yashoda between the years 1998 to 2003 had carried the ‘most popular actress’ award at Sumathi awards awards consecutively a record in Sri Lanka television. One of them more recently  has to be reminisced her role in “Thanamalwila Kollek” the role of “Yashodara” directed by Roshan Ravindra. Upon reading the script she had begun to love the character of ‘Yashodara’. Roshan has had doubts whether she would accept specifically as it was his first direction. Yashoda had asked who was scheduled to portray the role of Deeptha opposite to her ,was he competent to which Roshan had quipped do not worry as in Dasun,  Roshan has had ample confidence in the novice. In it other than Hemasiri Liyanage and Yashoda all were from the new generation. After her role she believes she got a new set of viewers  mostly in the teen ages who had not seen her in earlier years The roles of Yashodara and Deeptha gives a message to the people to prove the association  could not be ‘love’ alone, as there could be many other attachments between two. After her role she had received accolades from Buddhist Monks too who had been instigated to watch by some staunch Buddhist dayaka’s in the temples.The accolades she received from celebrated Buddhist Monks ,to  Yashoda had been more treasured than receiving an award she had affirmed.

 

One critic had commented that the two scenes how  Yashodara  embraced Deeptha when she left to India and how Deeptha embraced Yashodara when she closed her eyes permanently had etched in his mind which proves the competence of Dasun. She recollected one student in an international school had made a post to her FB inbox “Aunty I watched “Thanamalwila Kollek” appreciated your portrayal , who are you ,where were you”, to which She had replied to the student girl ‘google Yashoda Wimaladharma’.Later the young girl’s mother too had called to apologise to her, to which Yashoda had said you need not make  apologies as how one could in the present generation know all that.

 

 

Only few know that Yashoda was one time a leading dress model  despite her acting heroism of course  at the beginning of her career along with Kalum Wijesuriya who had looked after her ,had participated in many stage appearences with him having walked on many stages with him, This subject Yashoda however had quipped as something the majority disliked. Yashoda from her schooldays had been keen on scripting ‘Kavi’ and songs in Sinhalese and Hindi vernaculars too. Yashoda is perhaps the first ever Sri Lanka film personality to launch her own web site , after which she was even called Yashoda dot.com.Her website www.yashodaw.com  launched in a solemn ceremony at the hotel Galadari on 18th June 2003 which reveals her life from childhood days as her mother had been collecting all her attires when she was a  baby, also Yashoda is in the routine of bringing a small souvenirs, tokens from every function or event she participates. Yashoda has  a firm intention of commencing a Performing Arts School with foreign collaboration probably with India which she is firmly contemplating on. Through her immense experience in domestic and foreign cinema, she had been elected to work as a jury member of foreign cinema festivals., like Singapore. In year 1999, she made her first song lyrics titled Thugu Girikulu,  sung by Dayan Witharana to  the music  composition of Dr Rohana Weerasinghe.

All her ardent fans would wish her good health and would hope she would receive invitations to stage,mini screen and cinema to portray more creations to delight her artistic fraternity.

 

Sunil Thenabadu e mail sthenabadu@hotmail.com WhatsApp 0061444533242