Uditha Devapriya

    This is the second in a series of candid vignettes about Tony Ranasinghe. An interesting thing happens when actors get older. The actor becomes a parody of himself. This is nowhere near as true as in the American film industry. When Kirk Douglas tries to cross-dress in one of his last great performances, “The Fury,” he tries to impersonate Spartacus, reminding him of who he used to be. Some actors spend their years gracefully, like Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City. Many people don’t. They remind us of who we were while forgetting who we are. Even the best of them are prone to failure. That’s why the later brands are not as good as the early ones. Stars like Clint Eastwood play it smart. They ended his acting career and took a directorial position.

    This rarely happens in Sri Lanka. Gamini Fonseka’s best performance of the second half is probably Loku Duwa from Sumitra Pries. Here he threatens to take himself too far by embodying what we have associated with him and subverting our notions of him. we are shocked. He is scruffy and weird. He doesn’t speak, he mutters like he’s a made-up businessman. However, in the opening scene, there is a scene where he is messing around with a Mercedes-Benz cigarette lighter right next to Kalutara Bodhi Temple. Like his ballerinas who never age, Gamini Fonseca has kept himself as he is. When he sings with Nadika Gunasekara, it’s like a throwback to an old movie where he paired up with Malini Fonseca and Geeta Kumarasinghe.

    In the case of Vijaya Kumaratunga, the problem was not that he did not want to grow old, but that he could not afford it. His only two actual performances to feature him as an aging matriarch are, not coincidentally, two “serious” pictures: Sumitra Pries’ Ganga Addara and Vasantha Obeyesekere’s Kadapathaka Chaya. In Kadapataka Chaya, as a villain, he is cast against Type. There were rumors that Kumaratunga’s family were wary of accepting his role because he was at the peak of his career.Nombara 17 came around the same time as the Obesekere film. It was the only Sarasaviya award he won in his entire career. This is also his last role, so the first and last. Like Fonseca, he was furious with the years gone by and made it through. Both were mature but wanted to stay young.

    Tony Ranasingha is perhaps the only Sri Lankan actor who has shown that he has evolved and matured. Fonseca tried hard not to, except for movies like Yugantaya and Sagarayak His Meda where he had to get serious, but Joe His Abbey Wickrema didn’t. Ranasingha’s heyday was in his 1960s. This decade of his was the power of flowers and the resistance of youth. A native of Ape Katiya, who specializes in angry youth plays staged by British playwrights like Joe Orton, he took on the character of an alienated youth like a floating duck. In Delovak Athara, he more or less played the role he would play until the end of the decade. He typified it in the same way that Fonseca typified Chandiya’s tough, good-hearted rowdy. Yet he could not escape the passing years. Once they passed, he had to change.

    Ranasinghe was not true in Ran Salu as he was cast as a villain. Yet he hesitantly gropes, and shortly after impregnating his doting woman, he bids farewell and says he will take care of her. But even in this scene at the hospital, he is unable to utter a word. In the previous sequence, he contemplates abandoning her for her new fiancée, her heir, whom he contemplates for the girl with whom he fathered her child. to stop If Ranasinghe couldn’t really play the role of his ruthless teenager, it’s because he couldn’t quite let go of the tragic romantic figure he so well embodied. Perhaps because he’s not telling the truth, the sequence in which he tells the girl, played by Anura Karnathilake, that he’s leaving her is awkward and almost out of place with the rest of the film, as if he were in 1940. In the 1990s Betty and her Davis seemed to be playing vamps. It doesn’t fit his profile.

    Soon its profile began to change. His outline is the same in his Parasathumal, the last time he played a tragic romantic in a major film. But he’s changing here, too. Parasathumal has him discovering that the man (played by Gamini Fonseka) who hired him to look after the mansion is chasing the woman he loves, and in a fit of rage he picks up a gun and makes his way through the woods. There is a sequence of walking around. The camera cuts from a long shot to a close-up, zooming in on his angry face. There is frustration, so there is not so much anger. The gun symbolizes everything he wants to put out. It epitomizes the macho bravado he’s conspicuously lacking. Give up and change direction. Its turnaround is predictable and characteristic.

    With Hansein Kasawa, he officially ended this phase of his career. Hansein Kasawa, like Parasathumal, pits Ranasinghe’s character against a man competing for the affection of the woman he loves. He has supporters like Amarasiri Karansliya, but he quickly betrays his lack of masculine bravery, whether it be in the student body elections or in the Hansein Hill Top Singing Contest Henry Jayasena is going through a similar ordeal with his Dahasak Sithuvili at GDL Perera. He recites a “serious” song at a party, but is tipped off by a rival who sings “Sathutu Vilai” and enlivens everyone around him. Hanthane Kathawa ends with Ranasinghe finally realizing that he cannot have the girl he wants. She enters a cave with another man played by Vijaya Kumaratunga. Ranasingha is full of despair and stung by her betrayal but turns around instead of throwing her tantrum.

    Beneath the delicate exterior, Ranasinghe’s characters had an air of nonchalance. “They are the most alive (and most fascinating) because they don’t imagine the day after tomorrow,” Pauline Kael once observed Jean-Luc Godard’s characters. This is very much true of the characters in Dharmasena Patiraja’s films, especially the Para Dijeh, but it is also true of Tony Ranasinghe’s protagonist. As a villain, he always sees himself as a classy and confident planner, a man who knows what will happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But the tragic romantic he had no plans. Because Ranasingha has no plan, Derobak doesn’t feel the flow of time very much in his Atala, like Gamperaliya for example. Fittingly, the morning after Peries’ movie accident, Nissanka gets up, hears the ticking of the clock, and closes it. He doesn’t want to think ahead.

    Unfortunately or fortunately for him, he was growing up, and so was his character. The reckless and tragic stupidity of his youth and the more serious outlook of his later years. He was neither reckless nor wise. But his profile and physique had changed considerably: from the once scrawny young man, he had become more stout, and his hair was indistinguishably disheveled. In two great films, Duhulu Malak and Ahasin Polawata, he is no longer a lover but a husband. But the dilemma is the same. He longs for their love, but his suspicions and their indiscretions make him cry and get angry. was. Vijaya would not have minded either, as his woman never left him.In the case of Ranasinghe, the situation was even more complicated.

    Movies like Duhulu Malak and Ahasin Polawa have their weaknesses and flaws. Still, they are saved by Ranasinghe’s performance. . His feelings are self-contained and a far cry from Nidanaya’s Willy Abenayake. Yet Ranasingha is doing what other actors have not been able to do. An inferior actor would have lost it. In the final scene of Duhulu Malak, the scene in which her husband imagines shooting her wife is deployed quite incorrectly. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Yet as his husband, Ranasinghe makes us understand his pain. In some ways, he’s grown up in these years and strayed far from his former tragic lover, but in other ways, he hasn’t. Caught between two worlds, he still couldn’t get out of either.

    The writer is an international relations analyst, researcher and columnist and can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com.

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