Sarath Kulanga multifaceted actor in stage, teledrama, cinema, a music director with artistic charisma signature, a rare celebrity
Muthuthanthirige Sarath Kulanga Fernando born on 19th November 1958 a native of Panadura ,presently a household name among art loving folks in our motherland for his multi-facet talents in art which are possessed seldom by an artiste in the archives of our theatrical ring in our motherland. From younger days has had innate creative dexterity had performed on school theatre is an exceptional character has had two prime goals to become a teacher to have an artistic charisma.For well over four decades Sarath had performed to his expectations dominating the stage,teledrama, cinema also excelling as a vocalist and music composer and director. Sarath had initially come to recognition having quipped in Nalan Mendis’s “Doo Daruwo” teledrama as far back the late 1970 s having portrayed the protagonist of “Virudu Karaya”.But Sarath claims previously in year 1976 he had received an award for the music direction in a stage drama.
Sarath Kulanga possesses muti talented astonishing skills having been a teacher at the Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya, Panadura for thirty six years having had his primary and secondary education too at the same ‘alma mater’ having ended his teaching profession having held the position of Assistant Principal where his prime forte was discipline, working to time, never refrained from reporting to duties even returning from stage plays and musical recitals in the wee hours of the morning. Sarath having lived in very close proximity to his school had been present in school at six thirty in the morning to even monitor the traffic in flow. Sarath after his tenure in school in year 2014 was deservedly felicitated by Sri Saddharmakara Vidyartha Pirivena awarding the ‘Janaranjana Kala Bushana’ award for his services as student councillor cum student adviser during his long tenure as a teacher.
Sarath’s multifaceted aptitudes could be totted up as other than a competent well recognised teacher, for which he was felicitated as a character actor healthily known for his comedy roles on stage, teledrama, films, versatile director of music and vocalist, dubbing artiste, composer of music, script writer and an avid reader . His prowess in music was further evidenced of this astonishing artiste’s autonomous music creations in Hiru Mega Star event which was highly acclaimed. Sarath had commenced his acting career in year 1976 when he was still a teenager in which he persists still with same vitality and passion. His genres being drama, comedy, and romance.
.It is learnt that there are books on various themes are scattered in his dwelling which his daughter and son were forced to read which his daughter Nirmani had lamented as somewhat of a curse and a torment then. But now she realises the immense value in reading them which had been very useful to her in later for the educational familiarity. An inimitable quality within Sarath had been in adoring the female fraternity to unparalleled towering elevations . In conformity to it precisely he had created stage plays with the theme concerning the prime obligations of women.
Sarath Kulanga is unique as the only artiste who possesses six fingers in one of his palms. Though he was a versatile cricketer had to drop the idea of playing cricket as he could not don the batting gloves with his six fingers syndrome ,hence he had played softball cricket though his favourite sport was the gruelling rugby sport as he liked to play it furiously and rigidly. In the ninth standard in school Sarath recollected a new teacher for art who had come, a tough personality possessing ideal attributes. He had told all students to bring ‘drawing’ books the following day.Sarath had retaliated had not obliged, when the arts teacher came the following day had asked who are those who did not accede to his request to stand up. Sarath who was known to be a noted boisterous student, had stood up to be somewhat of a hero had stood up thinking at least three others were in the same boat.The teacher had called him given a slap asked to go under his table demanded him to draw giving him a piece of blank paper. In a television dialog Sarath affirmed he was a real teacher, who had later become his ‘hero’. As he had groomed Sarath to become a ‘cartoon’ expert whose cartoon had appeared in the very first edition of the “Sathuta’ newspaper in the “chitra kala” page which Sarath had sustained his dexterity shining in this field. As a teacher Sarath too was diverse to all others as he was very tactful. Sarath used to resolve student problems in his own inimitable style not essentially by punishing or beating. Once a student who had allowed his hair to grow extensively had not heeded to his advice to cut his hair. The manner Sarath retaliated was by reacting, was in taking the student on his pillion of his motor bike no matter how far he lived to have a friendly dialog with his mother. Sarath had asked this boys mother if you do not need her son He is prepared to accept him as his son.The mother had said he never listens to her,to which Sarath had said to beat him.In this subject also in the same television hostility Sarath emphasised that all students should be reprimanded for irregularities by beating them but there are some teachers who smack students to giant planes when they have unresolved domestic issues at home which should be clogged forthwith .
Sarath like many other artistes had not just raging away the time so precious during the Covid-19 lockdown phase by deploying his music skills by composing melodies from many song lyrics he had in possession. Sarath had recorded the songs composed in videos into a compact disc.The songs were sung by selected popular vocalists as Edward Jayakody ,Charitha Priyadarshini,Nilmini Kottegoda, Mariyazelle Gunatilleke ,Dayan Vitharana,Madhavi Malwatte, Saman de Silva,Janaka Wickremasinghe,Tharaka Crusz, Rodney Warnakula, Banduka Wijeweera etc.The compact disc with his song collection was named ‘Kulanga Sara”. Sarath had professed also in a television dialog that none of the singers had charged had sung free sans any payment. Sarath did disclose for the expenses were met through a government loan obtained against his monthly pension derived. He intends to do videos for each of these songs at the end anticipates to be a gigantic accomplishment. For this triumph Sarath had received a state award, a glittering trophy among the one hundred chosen artistes.
Sarath Kulanaga is rather fortunate to become a grandfather at a relatively young age when her elder child ,daughter Visharada Nirmani Prabashwari Kulanga had graduated early with several post graduate qualifications had married a most suitable partner also more or less in the same field with similar interest were blessed with two daughters who though young appear to be following the footsteps of the mother and grandfather. Nirmani had been a dancing Visharada in Matugama training educational centre, presently a teacher in performing arts at her same ‘alma mater’, Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya,Panadura.It was also revealed in a television dialog that Nirmani had been grabbed by the Principal for her expertise .In fact it is Nirmani is who had commenced the subject ‘Performing Arts’ properly at her ‘alma mater’. Father Sarath had never insisted Nirmani to follow his footsteps as he as father wanted her to prolong her own careers according to her intrinsic aptitude though she possessed many hereditary affiliations. Nevertheless a close family associate teledrama director Priya Ranasinghe having deemed her aptitudes had selected her to portray may roles in many Teledramas .Nirmani imitating his father’s mannerism and features too had taught children at the own dwelling, offering meals which is a rare quality of the duo. Such students it had been revealed are now occupying high positions in society which propels the duo. During a television in a most popular channel “ Jeevithayata Ida denna’ daughter Nirmani revealed that her mother was a very strict which allowed them to be brought up in an ideal environment which had helped immeasurably to bring the mandatory balance to the family. Nirmani reminisced that father Sarath was a very strict disciplinarian who worked strictly to time always very punctual was at a given place before that time prescribed. When Nirmani joined her ‘alma mater’ as a teacher she had felt a bit uncomfortable as she too had to adopt to his punctuality guidelines. She had divulged that father hardly took leave was a type of a workaholic who takes leave only for a very fundamental reason. While performing traffic duties near the gateway when Nirmani was even pregnant used to whisper to her saying ‘endeavour to come early’ though she was not late. During this television confrontation he was asked to sing, added though a music director and composer not a traditional vocalist. But he had sung to precision meticulously as performed at many other television and radio programs. Nirmani too has genetic affiliations inherited to father also could also sing very well having sung a duet at this program too. Sarath though acts on stage, teledrama and cinema his favourite medium is as addressed is the stage. His daughter quipped that many directors have not identified father Sarath’s acting capacity only Lalitha Sarathchandra had identified his acting capacity , as he has a wide capacity selected for a role in ‘Verma’ stage play knowing well in his expressing style of dialogues on stage which had been always very vibrant having observed his portrayals in ‘Abuddassa Kolama’ and’ Raja Kapura’ which Nirmani had watched so many times as such she remembers the dialogues by heart as well. Nirmani said father Sarath possess a very wide-ranging capacity to portray any role. His contemporaries in his field had been stalwarts like Vijaya Nandasiri,Kumara Thirimadura,Priyantha Seneviatne, Rodney Warnakula,Sarath Chandrasiri, Bandula Wijeweera etc.To commemorate his thirty seven years in art a musical program was arranged at the Town Hall ,Panadura where many songs in stage plays were sung to a packed audience for which all his contemporaries had partaken. It should be reminisced of the musical extravaganza ‘Rookada Rajje” scripted by D Kumarage, produced by Priyantha Ranjan staged at the Holy Cross College theatre in Kalutara ,the cast included Sarath Kulanga, Richard Manamudali, Sunil Thilakarathne, Kumara Liyanage, Damayantha Perera,Tharanga Bandara, Kumari Senarathne, Tharaka Upendra and Nilanka Sandamali. The music direction was by Sarath Kulanga.It also should be reminisced the stage drama “Deyyoth Danne Ne” the story and direction by Sarath Kulanga starring himself ,Vijaya Nandasiri,Kumara Thirimadura,Ananda Attukorale etc.
Sarath had portrayed vivid roles ranging from fictional character roles to comedy protagonists. The latest film released was the jointly directed film the NEWSPAPER in year 2020 of Sarath Kothalawela and Kumara Thirimadura starring Sarath Kulanga, Jayantha Amerasinghe, Ananda Athukorale, Sarath Chandrasiri, Pubudu Chathuranga and others. In year 2018 “Thuththiri” a comedy, Sci-Fi film starring Sarath Kulanga ,Sandani Fernando,Anurudha Edirisinghe ,Niroshan Wijesinghe,Anjula Rajapaksha etc,In year 2013 “Seetha man Awa” directed by Jayasekera Aponsu starring Sarath Kulanga,Bandu Samarasinghe,Jayasekera Aponsu,Sanoja Bin=bile,Rodney Warnakula etc.In year 2012 ‘Super Six ‘directed by Udara Palliyaguruge starring Sarath Kulanga ,Anarkali Akarsha,Menike AttanayakemPubudu Chathuranga,Suneth Chitrananda etc.In year 2011 “Sweet Angel” a film with drama and romance directed by Eranga Senarathna starring Sarath Kulanga,Deepa Chandi,Suresh Gamage, Manel Wanaguru,Susan Fernando etc.In year 2010 the film “Suwanda Denunu Jeewithe” was directed by Dhammika Siriwardena starring Sarath Kulanga, Roshan Ranawana,Pooja Umashankar,Rex Codippili,Ramani Siriwardena etc.In 2004 “Nohadan Amme” directed by Kandapola Kumarathunga starring Sarath Kulanga, Dilhani Ekanayake,Roshhan Pilapitiya.Rebcka Nirmali, Ananda Wickramage etc. In year 2001 “Bahubuthayo” directed by Udayakantha Warnasuriya starring Sarath Kulanga,Pabodha Sandeepani,Mahendra Perera,Rodney Warnakula.Richard Manamudali etc.In year 1998 “Gini Avi Saha Gini Keli” directed by Udayakantha Warnasuriya starring Sarath Kulanga,Jackson Anthony,Sriyantha Mendis,Palitha Silva, Mahendra Perera etc. In year 1998 “Bawa Karma” directed by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, starring Sarath Kulanga,Kamal Addararachchi,Neil Alles,Jackson Anthony,Tissa Bandaranayake,thereafter the film was ‘Bawa Karma: in 1998 a continuation of the film “Bawa Duka” deploying the same cast directed by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake.In year 1993 was the first film in which young Sarath Kulanga portrayed a character in film “Guru Gedera” directed by Wijaya Dharma Sri starring Sarath Kuanga, Anoja Weerasinghe Asoka Peiris,Ravindra Randeniya and Jackson Anthony.
Though Sarath commenced his acting career in cinema in year 1993 but he had commenced his stage acting career in the 1970’s towards the latter part having possessed innate talent. But before long had directed stage plays singlehandedly and also with a solitary joint direction endeavour. As mentioned above he directed “Deyyoth Danne Nehe”, “Kolam Pure”, “Rookada Rajjeje” a joint direction,” Midi Wela’ ( a school drama),”Aalu Deriya” ( also a school drama),”Anda Bootha”,”Nawathen Polak”, “ Sama Rajjya” ( which was adjudicated in year 1982 (in All Island inter school drama festival as the best production).Also had directed the teledrama ‘Sellathawo Avurudu Genath’.
Sarath had directed music in a number of stage plays, “ Kok Santhiya” of Premakumar Karunaratne for which the best music direction award was won in year 1976, for short stage play.”Diga Andu Karayek” also of Premakumar Karunaratne which won the best music director award in youth awards in year 1984.
Stage acting had been his first passion had acted in any plays like ‘Yerma’ of Laitha Sarathchandra,”Jasaya and Lenchina” of Dayananda Gunawardena “.Kambare Pore ‘ also of Dayananda Gunawardena,”Madura Jawanika” and “ Nari Bena” both of Dayananda Gunawardena,”Kapuwa Kapothi” of Ediriweera Sarathchandra,”Maha Sara” also of Professor Ediriweera Sarathchandra,”Abuddassa Kolama” of Janak Premalal, “Raja Kapuru” also of Janak Premalal,”Aragalaya” Leslie Fonseka, “Siyaluma Ganga” also of Leslie Fonseka,”Okkoma Rajawaru” by John Damasin,” “Rathu Lantheruma” by Madasa Peiris, “ Suriyak Grahanaya” by Janak Premalal, “Ithaliye Kathawa” by Cecil Gunasekera,”Mahalla saha” by Saman Pudshpakumara, “Hathalis Endiriya” by Heenetigala Premadasa,” Seem Mayim” by Hilarian Perera, “Sooti Gamarala Saha Raigam Bandara” by Athula V Samaraweera, “ Sarasaviye Donkaraya” by Jinadasa Hengoda, “Otunna” by Daya Shantha Kariyawasam. Sarath had also scripted the stage play “Saranaputha” in year 1989 which had won him the special Sarasavi award for creative writing.
Sarath Kulanga had also had directed music in Teledramas “Agathaya” of Christie Perera, Production of Srinath Maddumage produced by Adik organisation.Jayalayh Manoratne’s, “Thumdenek” ( a Christmas teledrama), Also Priya Ranasinghe’s “Meth Warusha” also a Christmas teledrama. Then in Saddha Mangala Suriyabandara’s “Always Breakdown”.
Sarath had portrayed vivid roles in many Teledramas like ‘Tharadevi’ by Lucian Bulathsinghala,”Doo Daruwao” of Nalan Mendis, “ Senehewanthayo” of Nalan Mendis,”Situwarayo” , “Nedeyo” also of Nalaka Mendis, “Kadathira” of Thrigula Deepa Thambawita, “Sathsara Nimnaya”,of Priya Ransinghe, “Isuru Soya” of Priya Ransinghe, “ Indikada Addara” also of Priya Ranasinghe, ‘Kammiththa” of Piyal Yatawara, “ Wara Peraliya” of Dharshana Piyaratne, “Mister Andare” of Anura Chandrasiri, “ Samawenna Sir” of Sumudu Wellalage, “Punchi Weerayo” of Channa Perera,” Sorry Madam” of Padmasiri Kodikra, “ Swarna Kinkini” of Bermin Layili Fernando, “ Thirtha Haranaya” of Bermin Liyili Fernando,” Manthri Hatana” of Saman Weeraman, “ Mahadenamuththa” of Ranasiri Fernando, “Dandana Mankada’ of G .Nandasena, “ KopiKade” of Lakshman Maththumagala, “ Wilbebda Danawiwa” of Parakrama Niriella, “Hada Pudasuna” of Ananda Wickremage, “ Tikiri Hapannu” of Channa Perera, “Kethumathie Rajadahana” of Eranga Senarathna, “Yes Boss” of Suranjith Wijenama, “Pawana Se Evidin” of Priya Ranasinghe , “Neela Pabalu” , “Kolam Kuttam” etc .
From the above the achievements of Sarath Kulanga it is apparent to all that the contribution made by him to art in Sri Lanka is enormous in portraying vivid roles in stage plays, teledramas and cinema also his music contributions to stage plays and teledramas.On perusing his statistics the writer too was puzzled as to the magnitude of his contribution to art. Sarath is still young only in his early sixties. All his followers and fans would wish him well for good health and longevity. Also for him to make more creations in music, portraying of characters with humour which fans appreciate highly.
SARATH KULANDA could be contacted on 0718002841
Sunil Thenabadu in Brisbane email firstname.lastname@example.org whatsapp 0061444533242