Veteran actor and filmmaker Somie Rathnayake who has made a vibrant contribution to the Sinhala cinema with his unique style, is making a comeback to films with ‘Parawarthanaya’ (Reflection) – the maiden directorial debut of award-winning cinematographer Jayanath Gunawardane. Somie left to the US in 1996 and since then had not acted in any Sinhala movie, though he had got several offers.
“Jayanath has been a good friend of mine for decades and I just could not say no to him. On top of that the script is so powerful and I liked my character. So, I had to take four weeks leave and come down from California to play this role after 15 years,” said Somie when we met him at the film location in Anamaduwa.
“My sons are involved in arts in California and as parents I and Susila are happy for them. Though I was away from Sri Lanka, I was always in touch with the happenings in the film and arts scene. The lack of good scripts appears to be the biggest drawback here. I have an idea of producing another film and I am working on the project. I want the project to make a profit. After all I don’t want to lose hard earned money. I am an actor who likes to act but the director should know how to extract what he wants from the actor,” he said.
Commenting on the current state of the Sinhala cinema industry, he said,” When I left in 1996 the main concern in the film scene was how to uplift the local film industry. Today after 15 years, the concern remains the same. And doesn’t that say the story.” “The President has to take a bold and courageous decision regarding the film industry like what he did to win the war against the terrorists. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is known for his passion for movies and artistes but I feel it is the duty of the seniors in the industry to guide him on the right path,” he said.
Somie Rathnayake was Simon in Surabidena, Chitti in Chitti, Baby Mahaththaya in Uthumaneni… but what will he be in ‘Reflection’? (RU)
Full name: Somie Nanda Rathnayake
Schools: Ratnapura Seevali, St. Aloysius and Sri Sumana Vidyalaya
First stage play: Sumana Aloka Bandara’s ‘Erabadu Mal’
Other stage plays: Mala Kolang, Loku Minissu, Dunna Dunu Gamuwe, Gini Pupuru, Paraputuwo, Rail Peeli, Hathara Warang. Produced stage plays like Ran Salakunu, Sabanda Mama Rasputin, Yasa Makaru
Noteworthy films: Amaraneeya Adare, Uthumaneni, Ganga, Hulawali, Yakadaya, Anupama, Amal Biso, Suddilage Kathawa, Binari Saha Sudu Banda, Christhu Charithaya, Sergeant Nallathambi, Wasanthe Dawasak, Muwan Pelessa, Mayurige Kathawa, Sagarak Meda, Raththaran Kanda, Senehasaka Kandulu, Sakwithi Suwaya, Ayoma, Bava Duka, Bava Karma, Sathkampa and several others
Films Produced: Sathyagrahanaya, Hithata Dukak Nethi Miniha, Chitti
First playback song: Inne Ekata Thuru Wadule
Awards: OCIC, Sarasaviya, Presidiential, Swarna Sanka and state awards
‘Parawarthanaya’ (Reflection) by Somie Rathnayake – Original Article from Sandeshaya Sri Lannka – The Art of Sri Lankan Cinema.
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