Sathischandra Edirisinghe, a profound character in several streams of Art in Sri Lanka.

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Sathischandra Edirisinghe
Sathischandra Edirisinghe, the sixth member of the family born on 11th Feb. 1941 at Kelaniya. His father is late Mr. Petikirige Edirisinghe and the mother is late Mrs. Ushettige Elizabeth Perera. Members of the family are as follows:

P. Dharmasiri Edirisinghe (Late)
P. Techla Sandaseelee Edirisinghe
P. Florida Katherine Edirisinghe (Late)
P. Mershia Sirima Edirisinghe
P. Mary Elizabeth Edirisinghe
P. Sathischandra Edirisinghe
P. Nimal Ranjith Edirisinghe
P. Sunil Edirisinghe

He entered Waragoda Gov. School (present Sir D.B.Jayathilleke Vidyalaya) and studied for Introductory and Grade 1. Thereafter he admitted to Kelaniya Waragoda Sri Dharmaloka Central College and studied for ten years (1947 – 1957). There were a few teachers who are very popular among students. Among them, Mr. Ravilal Wimaladharma had a keen interest on literature and music. Lessons and practices given by Mr. Wimaladharma could be a vital backup storage to Sathis and others. While Sathis was grade 5, he saw a drama on the road and he tried “Madduma Bandara” – a drama which was in his literature book, at the home. This incident was reported to Mr. Wimaladharma by his parents. As a result he was appointed as in-charge of the stage play “Sudo Sudu” in the school. In a following class, he was under given script writing and production of “Sudo Sudu”. But there was no role that he suits to fulfill by himself. So he created a new role and acted by himself. Thereafter Sathis was a must character in all the school drama events.

Then he entered St. Mary’s College – Elpitiya (1958 – 1960), Stafford College (1960 – 1963) and Vidyodaya Pirivena – Maligakanda.

Sathis was attached with CTB in 1965. In 1966 he got married with Ms. Shriya Kariyapperuma who got introduced in the school as a dramatist. He resigned from CTB and joined to Mahaweli Authority in 1986. He served to Mahaweli Authority from 1986 to 1998 as the Manager – Cultural Affairs. Again he attached with his creations, from 1999 to 2007 and became a Full time artist. In 2008, once more Sathis was invited to fulfill the position of Consultant – Cultural Affairs in the Ministry of Irrigation.

As an Actor
Sathis started his career as an actor in 1961 in stage plays and most succeeded by then. Later he was absorbed to other streams – Cinemas and Tele Dramas, he captured those fields as a whole, identifying technical and characteristic differences in each stream keenly. Since 1961 he was called for about 25 stage plays and some were his own productions. Among the all, “Mahagedara” Directed by Ranjith Dharmakeerthi – an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard” is vastly memorable in all the fans’ mind up to date.
Number of Cinemas he casted is about 20 and the number of Tele Dramas were about 50 including his own productions.
He was acclaimed several times by various award ceremonies for his casting.

  • 1966 - Sampatha
  • 1967 - Sadol Kandulu
  • 1970 - Sidadiyen Hayak
  • 1971 - Pujithayo
  • 1973 - Mathara Achchi
  • 1978 - Gehenu Lamai
  • 1979 - Podi Malli
  • 1982 - Adhishtanaya  - Hamu Mahaththaya
  • 1983 - Karate Joe
  • 1984 - Vadula
  • 1984 - Madduma Bandara
  • 1984 - Hima Kathara
  • 1990 - Kristhu Charithaya
  • 1992 - Kadira
  • 1996 - Body Guard  - Wijenayaka
  • 1997 - Tharanaya
  • 1998 - Dorakada Marawa
  • 2009 - Kanyavi
  • 2010 - Ira Handa Yata  - Buddist Monk
Articles published by Sri Lankan Media - About Sathischandra Edirisinghe

Sunday January 11, 2009
Sathis celebrates golden jubilee
By Susitha R. Fernando
Veteran actor, filmmaker and teledrama director, Sathischandra Edirisinghe will be felicitated for his service to Sri Lankan art over the last fifty years on January 14 at his home town, Kelaniya.
Organised by ‘Nuwana Tharuna Hawula’ (Nuwana Youth Organisation), the felicitation ‘Sathischandra Prathibhanaya’ will start at 3 pm at Sarasavi Studio, Dalugama Kelaniya.

As a grade five student at Dharmaloka College, Kelaniya, Sathischandra showed his talent to act and this led him to render his voice to ‘Lamapitiya’ in Radio Ceylon in the year 1953.
Later as a student of St. Mary’s College, Elpitiya, Sathischandra played a role in Anton Chekhov’s ‘Proposal’ at Inter-school drama competition and was adjudged the Best Actor of the Southern Province.

With his role in John de Silva’s play ‘Wessanthara’, produced by J. D. A. Perera, the talented actor won much recognition as a stage star and this gave him the opportunity to play in the dramas directed by country’s leading playwrights like Gunasena Galappathi, Dayananda Gunawardane, Henry Jayasena, Sugathapala de Silva, R.R. Samarakoon, Sunanda Mahendra, Ranjit Dharmakeerthi, S. Karunaratne, Lucien Bulathsinghala and Dhamma Jagoda.

Sathischandra’s entry to big screen was in 1966 as a Buddhist priest in Reggie Perera’s ‘Sadol Kandulu’ and this followed a long and award winning journey with nearly 25 films to his credit. And playing a minor role in Dharmasiri Wickramaratne’s ‘Hima Kathara’, Sathischandra won the Best Supporting Actor at the Presidential Awards 1985.

Having succeeded as an actor, Sathischandra turned to filmmaking with ‘Matara Aachchi’ in 1973. The film was a landmark in the film music as it introduced his own brother Sunil Edirisinghe as a singer, Wally Nanayakkara as lyricist and Victor Ratnayake as a film music director who later made big names in country’s music arena.

‘Matara Aachchi’ was followed by ‘Raja Gedara Paraviyo’ (1975), ‘Sri Madara’ (1977), ‘Sathara Diganthaya’ (1981), ‘Adishtanaya’ (1982) and ‘Wadula’ (1984).
Sathischandra is also one of the pioneer actors in Sri Lankan teledrama history. He played in teledrama like ‘Ekamawakage Daruwo’, ‘Tharadevi’ and ‘Palingu Menike’ which were telecast at the early stages of television in the country.

Having succeeded as an actor in stage, mini-screen and silver screen, playwright and filmmaker, Sathischandra later entered as a teledrama director and producer. He produced eleven teledramas of which he directed seven.

Sathischandra was honoured with ‘Kala Suri’ and conferred with an honorary degree from the University of Kelaniya.

Sunday, 10 August 2008
Opposites attract: destiny played the lead role
Sriya talks of life with popular actor, director and producer Sathischandra Edirisinghe:

Sathischandra Edirisinghe, actor, director and producer of stage dramas, films and teles; what a vital role is he playing at home? “He is a good husband. What else to utter,” laughs Sriya, his wife.
Sitting on the sofa at their residence at Kelaniya, Kariyapperuma Arachchige Sriya Kariyapperuma started recalling the past and the present with her hubby Sathis who has gained fame in all three acting arenas.
“We were friends. I acted in the stage dramas he directed at school. There was a competition among girls to win him, as he was an active and jovial boy who was always humming a tune even whilst walking. However he turned to me. I still don’t know what that something special he saw in me. Must be my destiny,” she smiles. Sriya was born on November 7, 1941 to Baron Perera Kariyapperuma who worked as a clerk and Sumanawathie Cooray at Gonawala, Kelaniya. Sriya was the oldest of the ten siblings in her family. She had her education at Dharmaloka Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya. Sriya was in the school orchestra and learnt to play the Esraj under Mr.Mudunkotuwa. “I did the first Division of Indian music examination. But, it all stopped after Mr. Mudunkotuwa went to India,” she recalls. “I did sports at school, and was in the school netball team. I was the House Captain too,” she reminisces.

Pix: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe

Sriya was brought up in a friendly environment with a happy childhood. “My mother was a bit of a strict character. We were asked to help out in the house chores though we had enough of helping hands to do the work. But, later in life, I realised the value of it. After I got married I got worked in dress making and cake making for about 20 years. It drew me an income while giving me self contentment.
Hence, I’ve never missed not staying at home as my husband was a very busy person with his job, acting career as well as the social service. I believe every girl should be armed with the capabilities of tackling the home front. That makes life easy. Whatever the career you are engaged in, a woman should know her duties by the home and family,” she says.

Patikirige Sathischandra Edirisinghe was born on February 11 in 1941 to a Chief Supervisor of the Department of Cottage Industries, P.Edirisinghe and Elizabeth Perera of Nungamuwa, Kelaniya. Sathis was the sixth in the eight in his family. Running events, Volleyball and drama were among his favourites at school. Sathis did his A/Ls in the Arts stream at St.Mary’s College, Alpitiya and got results to enter to the University. But, his craze over dramas changed his destiny.
Sathis’ first job was as a clerk at the CTB in 1965.

He rose up to be the Public Relations Officer and then to be the Manager of Grade 5 at the same place during his 20 years of service. During Mahaweli Minister the late Gamini Dissanayaka’s era, Sathis joined the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, and rendered his invaluable service. By introducing a cultural centre and a team in which many underprivileged village youngsters of the Mahaweli area got the opportunity to rise up in the society through their in-born talents.

Sathis’ first stage drama on the popular stage was Kalashoori J.D.A.Perera’s `Vessanthara’ in 1961. It was a script from John de Silva. Sathis acted in it with the late famous duo Edie Jayamanna and Rukmani Devi. Henry Jayasena’s `Manaranjana Vedavarjana’ (1965) was also one of the memorable plays Sathis was involved in. `Baka Thapas’ was his first production as well as direction which was staged in 1963. So far he has acted in 20 plays, and six of them were his production and direction.
`Sadol Kandulu’ directed by Senator Reggie Perera (1966) took him to the Silver Screen. Sathis who wanted to try his aesthetically talented hands in every field, directed and produced his first film `Mathara Aachchi’ in 1973. `Rajagedara Paraviyo’, `Shri Madara’, `Sathara Diganthaya’, `Adhishtanaya’ and `Vadula’ were the few films Sathis created for the Silver Screen which were with a novel creative and exquisite aesthetic touch one different from the other.

`Sandakada Pahana’, the popular song in Sathis’ first film `Mathara Aachchi’ sung by Sunil Edirisinghe (Sathis’ younger brother) was still a hit. It was the first song composition of Wally Nanayakkara; the first film music direction of Victor Ratnayaka and first film song of Sunil. This was a record that has marked the Sinhala film history.
Sathis’ unique talents in acting coupled with his deep intensive personality attracted the hearts and minds of the tele fans. Every character he played in 30-40 teledramas has imprinted an exquisite memory to the viewers.

(From Left) Udaya (eldest son), Dasanthi (daughter-in-law), Sriya, Udara (youngest son), Nisansala (daughter-in-law), Sathischandra, Shashini (daughter) and Ranil (son-in-law). (Front) Grandchildren (the four out of the five) - Ravindu, Thushani, Neha and Chetha.

Out of the 11 teledramas he has produced, seven were directed by him. Sathis has won many awards to his credit, and some of them were for his roles in the teles `Eka Mavakage Daruvo’ and `Thaara Devi’ (both directed by Lucien Bulathsinghala) in early 1980s, Gamini Fonseka’s film `Koti Valigaya’ (1985) and film `Hima Kathara’ were among the award winning lot.

Sathis was honoured with the `Kalashoori’ title by the late President R. Premadasa in 1990, and bestowed with an honorary doctorate by the Vidyalankara Pirivena, Peliyagoda in 2006.

Question: Sriya, we see Sathis as a strong steadfast personality on the screen. How do you describe him as a husband?
Sriya: He is a nice man (smile). He gets angry, but only for a few seconds. He has been a family man, but had little time to attend to the studies of the children and other work at home. I even shouldered most of the work in that sense, giving him more space for his work. I always thought it was my duty by him. He would not miss a single invitation he gets and prefers to attend to any function; be it a religious, State celebration or a book launch.

He reads a lot and loves to deliver lectures, especially for the youngsters at Buddhist Sunday Schools and schools. Sathis is a very religious person who tries his best to lead a virtuous life. Also if he is given a duty he would do it to the maximum capacity. He loves social service, and has had a vast number of students among the youngsters whom he has helped out to rise up in life. They still respect him whenever they see him. I’ve always admired him for his qualities and his talents.

Question: About your children?
Sriya: We have three children. All are married now. Udaya Shashipriya is our eldest. He studied at St.Thomas College, Guruthalawa. Now he handles his own business, `U and I Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd’, dealers of eye medical products. Sashini is our daughter, studied at St.Paul’s, Kelaniya. She is a B.Com graduate and now living in Australia. The youngest, Udara Asanga was a Royalist. He is in the textile and fashion designing trade in Australia.

Question: Contended life?
Sriya: Yes. We rose up in life day by day. We have been living happily, and our children are also doing well in their lives. We have really nice daughters-in-law and a son-in-law, and we are proud grand parents of five grandchildren. What else can we expect from life?



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