Sangeetha in producer's role
There are a number of actresses in Sri Lankan
cinema, who turned successful producers during the course of their
Nita Fernando, Malani Fonseka, Sriyani Amerasena,
and Geetha Kumarasinghe are the stars who not only made box-office
hits, but also award winning productions.
An award winning actress, Sangeetha Weeraratne
is the latest to join the band of actresses turned producer.
|Ravindra and Dayan in a scene from 'Sewvandhi'
'Sewvandhi' her debut production to the direction
of acclaimed director Vasantha Obeysekera is sure to turn a different
page in her career as an actress.
Sangeetha who is still busy with the post-production
of 'Sewvandhi' spoke about her experience being a producer when
TV Times interviewed her at her ABC Lane residence, Colombo-2.
TV Times: How challenging
was the role of the producer?
Sangeetha: Having been brought
up in surrounding with stars and crew running around my house, my
film production was a way of life. From the time I was born my father
made films. I could remember those days my father would be out of
the country almost every month. In fact I can remember when I was
very young, Thaththi used to go to India very often and oh my god
I thought that India must be very close to us.
So production was something I was interested in
when I was very small as well. One reason for this was I liked mathematics
and accounts in film producing. I was interested in these aspects
in addition to acting. How much money goes into different areas
of the production, I was more interested in that. And film production
was a family business for me. I knew how to treat my artistes, how
important my crew is, how to treat them well and how to handle props
and crops. In addition while acting, I was also amassing experience.
TV Times: What kind of support
did you get from your team?
Sangeetha : Their support was
immense. Actors Kamal, Ravindra and the rest them were very accommodating.
They were not worried about how much money they would get. The crew
was excellent. I had a hard working production team.
TV Times: You worked with
one who is known as a tough director?
Sangeetha: That is the idea I
too had when I was doing 'Maruthaya' in which I played one of the
lead roles. He was popular as a tough director, who shouts at people.
But I realised that this was wrong. He only shouts at people when
things are not done properly.
TV Times: Did you think that
it was a risky decision to invest money on a film?
Sangeetha: I love my films. How
can we expect the people in the business to put money if we are
thinking like that. I think the sensible thing to do is to do a
good film for the screen and try your utmost to sell it out of the
country. There are many European countries which are ready to support.
Other ways to find alternate markets are to take our films to Sri
Lankan audiences living abroad. In filmmaking there are different
ways to recover your money.
TV Times: What are the areas
that you would improve if you do another film?
Sangeetha : Marketing. Marketing
a film is an area I never thought of before I did a film. I was
only thinking of completing the film. But now I have realised that
I should have thought about it right from the beginning when making
the film as well as producing. Marketing would be one aspect I would
pay more attention next time.
TV Times: What gave you the
idea to do Tamil versions of ‘Sewvandhi’?
Sangeetha: It is not a new idea
from me. My father had done complete Tamil films. We make lot of
films but Tamil people never watch them. Irrespective of language
there is a film going audience among the Tamils, who would not miss
a good artistic film. Whether Tamil or Sinhala at the end of the
day we are in one culture.
Spending a lot of money I made three copies of
the Tamil dubbed versions for the first time in addition to 20 Sinhala
TV Times: How was it being
Sangeetha: It was very very interesting,
It is a character which goes through a lot of emotions. It was a
wonderful experience. Sewvandhi could be your mother, sister or
a friend. It is from real life. It was different from all the other
film of Wasantha Obeysekere. Sewvandhi gives a twist and a surprise
at the end of the film for the audience.
TV Times: What would be your
Sangeetha: Well, preparing for
the next film. I have not yet decided, who is going to be my director.
In fact there is a long list of people I need to think about. I
was introduced to cinema by Roy de Silva. And there are also many
like Mr. and Mrs. Peries who taught me a lot in this field. So once
I select my director I would start working on it.
on December 13, 1973, Sangeetha studied at Methodist College
Started acting career in Dr. Lester James Peries' miniplay
'Golu Handawath' (Silent Heart), the first film she played
was ‘It's a Matter of Time’, the English film
made by Roy de Silva.
Her successful career as an actress had garnered her award
almost all the years she had been in the cinema. Along with
'Sewvandhi', Sangeetha had acted in forty nine films.
1993 Best Newcomer for ‘Saptha Kanya’
1994 Best Actress for 'Nomiyena Minissu'
1995 Merit Award for 'Maruthaya' (Sarasaviya).
1996 Critic Award for Best Actress in 'Dorakada
1998 Best Actress OCIC for 'Dorakada Marawa'.
1999 Best Supporting Actress for 'Pawuru
2000 Outstanding young personality- Junior
Sri Lanka for the contribution to the arts.
2001 Best Actress and Most popular
Actress for 'Aswesuma'
2002/2003 Most Popular Actress (Sarasaviya)