Dec 03 2012. view 2117
Tens of thousands of film fans will always remember yesteryear Sinhala cinema heartthrob Tissa Wijesurendra who ignited the silver screen with his chocolaty charm.The matinee idol of the seventies made his debut in Ranjith Lal’s ‘Nim Walalla’ but his major role came in Kalana Mithuro in the early seventies.
Among some 65 films he acted in, a majority of them were box office hits in the seventies especially. But Tissa will go down in history as the only actor who went awardless in his illustrious film career.
In an interview with Impulse, Tissa said though he studied science subjects with the aim of becoming a doctor, destiny made him an actor.
“There were many youngsters who became doctors then, but only a very few became actors. So I thought I was made to become an actor,” he said.
You were one of the super heroes of the Sinhala cinema’s golden era..?
Well, that was an unforgettable era. When Vijaya-Malani’s Thushara was running to packed houses in one circuit, another circuit attracted filmgoers who came in their thousands to watch ‘Suhada Pethuma’ featuring Malani and myself. Besides Malani, I have acted opposite Sumana Amarasinghe, Jenita Samaraweera, Sriyani Amarasena and other heroines who really cooperated with me. I think Sumana was the heroine who acted opposite me in most films.
Are you content with your colourful film career?
Yes, because I got a chance of acting in good commercial films, but I only regret for not having won a single award.
Can you name one film that remains your favourite?
Hemasiri Sellapperuma’s ‘Senehasaka Kandulu’.
What kind of gossips was your name linked with?
Even during the peak of my career I conducted myself well and that prevented my name being linked with gossips. I never went behind anyone seeking roles. I also never went behind the media seeking undue publicity.
You were not seen in films or tele dramas for sometime, though you have made a comeback now?
Well, it hurts when your hard work is not appreciated. I returned to act in Iti Mal but unfortunately I had to withdraw after about 15 episodes.
The quality of actors and actresses then and now?
In the good old days we had committed stars who were talented. Can we ever forget yesteryear stars like Piyadasa Gunasekara, D. R. Nanayakkara, Freddie Silva, B. S. Perera or L. M. Perera? Today the situation is different. Today most artistes are only concerned about being popular. They have no power to win the hearts of the people.
Your future releases?
I play a role in a new film called ‘Roopantharana’ with Ravindra Randeniya, Angela Seneviratne and others. It is directed by Nalaka Vithanage.
“I read a lot and I am also engaged in writing scripts now. I am thankful to my wife and three daughters for giving me all the support,” he said.
Full Name: Don Bathiya Tissa Wijesurendra
Born: At Sarikkamulla, Panadura on April 3
School: Nalanda College, Colombo
First film: Nim Walalla
Other movies: Kalana Mithuro, Pujithayo, Samanala Kumariyo, Suhada Pethuma, Sinawai Inawai, Surekha, Lasanda, Es Idiripita, Pem Kurullo, Kohoma Kiyannada, Lassana Kella, Sadhana, Hadawathaka Vasanthaya, Haratha Hathara, Nedeyo, Neela Sudu Parewiyo, Niluka, Honda Hitha, Saja, Niwena Ginna, Sithaka Suwanda, Deepanjali, Kumara Kumariyo, Jeevana Kandulu, Ran Kurullo, Rosa Mal Thunak, Anusha, Api Dedena, Jeewanthi, Kiri Suwanda, Sithara, Major Sir, Senehasaka Kandulu, Bonikka, Hadawathaka Wedana, Hondin Nethnam Narakin, Oba Mata Wishwasai, Bambasara Bisaw, Nelum Saha Samanmali, Kiri Suwanda, Dadabima and others.
By Vasantha Wimalasinghe