a web around Malani
By Susitha R. Fernando
Legendary actress of Sri Lankan cinema, Malani Fonseka's name has
gained worldwide access with a website opened under her name recently.
Malani in her continuing career for the last four decades, is undoubtedly
the number one actress in the local cinema scene. And it is timely
and deserving that the website malanifonseka.com is opened for this
gifted actress. Celebrating this landmark event Malani shares some
of her ideas, experience and visions about Sri Lankan cinema.
do you think about a web site under your name?
Actually at first I thought whether there was a need for me to have
a website. But when I saw the response and the number of fans who
had browsed the site I realised the esteem and importance in which
my fans regard me. And it gave me a feeling that still there is
so much work that needs to be done.
you satisfied with the journey you have made in the world of cinema?
In a country like ours with so many obstacles and failures in the
cinema industry I am happy that I have a come this far. I always
loved this field and in return it has given me a lot of important
opportunities and experience.
you have any regrets?
When it comes to my personal life there are no regrets
at all. In fact my personal life is always supported by what I have
been doing in the cinema. But there had been instances when I felt
how wonderful it would be if we had the facilities that actors and
actresses in other countries enjoy. Hence I feel that there is so
much that could have been achieved.
we are happy that compared to other countries we have shown lot
of talent and so much potential talent to be discovered too. Being
a tiny island with a comparatively small population we have made
giant strides in cinema. I also have seen how our technical crew
specially cameramen, editors and directors keep pace despite so
many difficulties due to the lack of technology and other facilities.
And we have to be proud of the international heights we have reached
with the earlier technological equipment with which we made films.
you think you should have kept away from the popular cinema?
No, not at all. I'm rather happy that I involved in popular cinema
and even produced a film like Sasara Chethana. Actually it is a
difficult task to do a popular film. Though financial constraints
prevents me, I would still love to do a popular film.
a time when our audiences have easy access to foreign films it is
not easy to beguile them with some trash under the tag of popular
In the past there were directors like Lenin Morais and K. A. W.
Perera who made wonderful films in this category. They understood
the rhythm and the heartbeat of the then younger generation and
thus their films became popular. We must not forget the younger
generation who forms the major fans of popular cinema and the films
must appeal to their hearts. But this cannot be done by just bringing
back what was there in the past.
most important thing is to be genuine with what you do and make
an honest work of art that everybody would enjoy.
Why do you think the film industry has not produced the actress
of your calibre at present?
This happened due to the failure of the cinema industry and also
due to the downfall of the whole social, political and cultural
spheres in the country. There were no films for the talented actors
and actresses. What happened to Swarna Mallavarachchi and Anoja
Weerasinghe and others? They left the industry even before we could
get their best and there were no films made to further their talents.
The talented artistes left along with the directors and producers.
the exit of producers the industry had to depend on those few who
were ready to take the risk and invest the local cinema. The industry
is continuing because of a few dedicated who are courageously holding
on to it.
All these reasons make it difficult to produce good artistes nowadays.
actresses also seem not to have studied their subject?
It is quite true. One reason for this is that they cannot
leave what they are doing to dedicate time for serious study. One
reason for this is that they would lose their places and popularity
when they returned after one or two years.
the other hand there is jealousy and undercutting in the bureaucracy.
There are so many international opportunities available and even
awarded to Sri Lankan artistes. At times some foreign diplomats
question us why we do not apply for the scholarships awarded by
their respective countries. We are completely unaware of such openings.
educational opportunities are not properly channelled and most of
the time these opportunities are left unavailed.
hands behind Malani.com
"We wanted to do a website for a popular celebrity in Sri Lankan
cinema. And the first name that came to our mind was Malani,"
said Ralani Fernando of LankaShopping.Com who took up the task of
"Malani deserves it as she is the number one actress right
now," Ralani Fernando said.
a website for an actress for the first time Ralani says it was their
idea to do a website for Malani and when we proposed it she accepted
inspite of her busy schedule. "Working with her for nearly
two years we really felt for her and realised that Malani was a
down to earth, friendly person though she was the leading actress
in Sri Lankan cinema,".
were many difficult occasions to which she could not adjust owning
to her schedules but we didn't want to give up," Ralani stressed.
Speaking about the funds for the project Ralani said, we did not
want to put the burden on Malani. The total financial support was
given by manufacturers of Lux Unilever Limited. We are really grateful
for their support and it was a service for those Malani fans around