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WASANTHA VITTACHCHI A MAESTRO COSMETOLOGIST CUM ICONIC INIMITABLE ACTOR EFFERVESCENT VOYAGE IN AN UNBLEMISHED CAREER SPANNING FORTY-FIVE YEARS IN STARDOM – by Sunil Thenabadu


WASANTHA VITTACHCHI A MAESTRO COSMETOLOGIST CUM ICONIC INIMITABLE ACTOR EFFERVESCENT VOYAGE IN AN UNBLEMISHED CAREER SPANNING FORTY-FIVE YEARS IN STARDOM – by Sunil Thenabadu

 

Sunil-ThenabaduWasantha Chandrawansa Vittachchi, the son of a high ranked Police officer possesses a gigantic robust figure as an actor cum an accomplished make-up artiste/ cosmetologist.Wasantha is well renowned stage, teledrama and film actor in an unblemished tenure of   around forty-five long years. Wasantha had received his primary and secondary education at Sedawatta Siddhartha Madhya Maha  Vidyalaya in Wellampitiya.  Wasantha from his younger days has had a liking to learn foreign languages being a language enthusiast. He had followed learning Russian language at the Russian Cultural centre having an intention to visit Russia.. At that time through sheer quirk, he was afforded an opportunity to perform in a critically acclaimed drama titled “Raththo” directed by Nimal Pathirana. Immediately thereafter, Wasantha Vittachchi had realized that it is very prudent to study the field of drama in depth rather than blundering in the dark without adequate knowledge in the craft. As mentioned by him, under the guidance of the ‘gurus’ such as Dr. Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Salaman Fonseka and Dhamma Jagoda the novice artiste then Wasantha Vittachchi had trained himself with immense enthusiasm. He was afforded the opportunity to lay the foundation through the foreign mentors from different countries such as German, Finland and Belgium had fostered his creativity. Lionel Wendt Art Centre had become a fertile ground for him to prosper. 

WASANTHA VITTACHCHI A MAESTRO COSMETOLOGIST CUM ICONIC INIMITABLE ACTOR EFFERVESCENT VOYAGE IN AN UNBLEMISHED CAREER SPANNING FORTY-FIVE YEARS IN STARDOM – by Sunil ThenabaduSpeaking of his contribution, the stage play titled Raththo directed by Nimal Pathirana is recorded as his maiden stage drama. ’Kada ‘directed by Parakrama Niriella is the first tele drama in his prolonged journey which today has a tally of over ninety teledramas.The film in which Wasantha Vittachchi emerged as a promising film actor and also as an assistant makeup artiste is Adara Kathawa directed by Chandran Rutnam. Apart for these dramas and films , all have witnessed his creative spirit in these films and tele dramas. Sirimadura, Weda Barinam Wedak naha, Kelimadala, Gurugedara, Maruthaya, Sihina Deshayen , Anthima Reya, Sudu Sewaneli, Sathkampa, Arumosam Wehi, Sikuru Hathe, Maathaa, Paththini, Garasarapa, President Super Star, Suparna and Aale Corona are some of them that comes to mind. 

Wasantha after commencing as an assistant make-up artiste still wherever possible try to learn from assistant make-up artistes as he believed that the thinking patters of them would be different from his which he could gather This behavior had made him stronger in his make-up artiste dispositions towards the cast. 

Through the facial expressions we can portray subtle differences of feelings and emotions. That is why facial expressions have occupied a vital role in the field of drama. Any makeup artiste is expected to heighten the emotions and feelings of the actors and actresses to bring out the nature depicted in the characters. In other words, he can re-create the characters on the faces of the actors and actresses. Wasantha with his ability could make a teenager look like a person in the old age even as  a septuagenarian ,that is of over ages of seventies,  

The dynamic veteran artiste Wasantha Vittachchi was very fortunate to meet Shesha Palihakkara via a friend called Ranjith Wickramasinghe. As stressed, Shesha Palihakkara was more like a university for him in his career as a makeup artiste. Shesha Palihakkara has paved the way for Wasantha Vittachchi to flourish to higher heights in this field. Speaking of his contributions, in the films such as Yuganthaya, Maya, Adara Kathawa, Viragaya and Kristhu Charithaya he has established as an icon in the craft as an unrivalled makeup artiste. Speaking further about the achievements, Wasantha Vittachchi has won many awards as the best makeup artiste in many Award ceremonies.Wasantha had confessed that as a make-up artiste had fetched most awards than anyone else having received around forty-seven award.s  For instance, 11th Presidential Award 1997 (Sihina Deshayen), 8th Swarna Sanka Cinema Awards Ceremony 1997 (Sihina Deshayen) , 25th Sarasaviya Awards – 1998 (Sihina Deshayen), 32nd Sarasaviya Awards – 2007 (Udu Gan Yamaya) the list goes on and on. 

The biggest challenge faced by Wasantha Vittachchi  had confronted had been the shortage of makeup materials. In days of bygone, none of the makeup artistes’  had registered at the Film Corporation of Sri Lanka who were allowed to obtain the required makeup materials under restrictions and strains. Due to the restrictions makeup artistes in the country had to go for the alternative dealers for materials without obtaining the standard professional materials. Going down his memory lane Wasantha Vittachchi told that he used to buy the required makeup materials at a salon called “Godwin” in Pettah. 

Nihal Silva even though known to many as a bald-headed actor and singer, had  long hair. No doubt that the unknown tale is the fact that the renowned veteran artiste Wasantha Vittachchi had shaved Nihal Silva’s head. One of the Finland drama producers by  name of Helena Lekthimathy had produced a drama titled “Punthila.” In this drama Nihal Silva had portrayed the role as a well-to-do businessman. The contribution of Wasantha Vittachchi as a makeup artiste was distinctly distinguished. He had designed the character of the businessman by his make as a bald-headed mature person with a moustache. However, Nihal Silva who had performed in 264 dramas expressed his utter unwillingness to get his head shaved for a character. Eventually Wasantha Vittachchi could persuade Nihal to play the role by asking him to think that this is not his 265th drama but the first drama in his life. 

Art is artistic. If not so, there must be another word to call it. True that there prevails a decline in  the progress of art culture. However, we all hope that there will dawn a new vibrant era on the Sri Lankan a fine arts culture. As mentioned by him, the rotten dramas based on stale themes, lyrics throwing up crude ideas and mushrooming reality stars bear testimony to the deterioration of the good art culture of Sri Lanka. At present many artistes’ exploit the trust of the audiences by producing good tele dramas, films and songs. The responsibility of artistes is none other than bringing the audience back towards wisdom. According to Wasantha , there are standards which should be achieved by the modern artistes. Sri Lanka is described as a country where there had existed an excellent drama culture, good literature culture, song culture, good tele drama culture and good film industry. However unfortunately at present it has become impossible even to trace the signs of that golden era. Therefore, the steps should be taken to metamorphose this rotten art culture into a thriving art culture in the country. 

Wasantha Vittachchi as a veteran dramatist conceives that drama is a vast field that one should study in depth, as without a proper knowledge one cannot survive in the field. As mentioned by him , at present many artistes who do not have even a grain of sense of art had engaged themselves in the field of drama to make a mint of money. However, the impact of their ignorance on the Sri Lankan drama is negative. Therefore, anyone who has a burning desire to enter the field of drama should study the salient areas of drama in order to hone their skills and talents. The budding artistes who have a narrow view and a very limited knowledge are not capable of producing inspiring products. Therefore, they should study the field before entering the field. 

 Everyone cannot perform in front of a camera. It requires skills, talents and experience. Just because one has an attractive face does not mean that he or she has the ability to perform in a drama. For instance, In India there can be seen drama schools and film schools for the beginners to practice. In other words, Indian artistes have university degrees in arts. Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka there can be found some actors and actresses who lack even common sense without having a state drama school  

No one can expect good products from them. Therefore, it needs to be added that they should study about the country first, secondly the field and then the whole world because it is impossible even to talk with someone without a grain of common sense. Some people say that Gamini Fonseka and Joe Abeywickrame had entered the field of films without a proper knowledge but it is wrong to spread such baseless opinions because they have gained a vast range of knowledge from the society and experience. All in all, If one wants to be a famous figure in the country, he should study the needed areas well. . 

It is clear that there could  be seen an irrepressible vacuum in good art. Sadly none in any Government in our living memory has even attempted to uphold our good art culture. As a remedy to this, those at the helm should take measures to rekindle the good art culture of Sri Lanka under the guidance of the veteran artistes like Wasantha Vittachchi. Then the rays of the light he has scattered in the field of drama will shine in the sacred and permanent place in the drama world forever. 

Wasantha was invited to the popular weekly Swarnavahini program on Tuesday nights “Mathra” presented by Chandana Welikala. On the 26th April 2022.It was conveyed about a felicitation ceremony organized for Wasantha “ to thank and wish him for his services rendered titled “Wasanthata Dawasak”. A souvenir was published to which many artistes had sent wishes and commented on his amazing deeds contributed to the field of arts. Actress Swarna Mallawarachchi had made an appropriate comment. In the film Ayoma how the cosmetologist Wasantha changed a thirteen-year-old girl gradually to her old age which needs to be commended.Though the Jury members did not observe the talent hope at least in future they will observe his master craft. Wasantha replied to Chandana that like that there are so many creations had gone unnoticed in successive years. Wasantha recollected that in year 1980 Wasantha himself, Douglas Siriwardena, HA Perera, Parakrama Niriella had conducted free classes in cosmetology in a workshop for two weeks a year for a number of years.. Many who participated are now acclaimed makeup artistes for which Wasantha is proud of. It was said by the presenter that four and a half pages had comprised details of his awards he had won about forty seven in number.Wasatha confessed that until he arrived for the felicitation, he had not known anything about the book published but behind it there had been many artistes. He mentioned his first ‘guru’ had been Ranjith Wickremasinghe who introduced to the legend Shesha Palihakkara. Initially he had been understudy to Ranjith Wickremasinghe when he was an assistant makeup artiste to Shesha Palihahakkara to whom he had recommended when he was searching for a make-up artiste. Wasantha disclosed that he had requested directors to change dialogues to enable him to change the original stances of actors and actresses..As a novice he had made such a request to legendary Lester James Pieirs who had given a  patient hearing got the director AJ Gunawardena to accede to Wasantha’s proposal which was a prudent one.Wasantha added that all youngsters should read books to enhance knowledge, if they opt for a teacher should be careful as many commence not ‘wedamulu’ but just ‘mulu’ where they will be deceived.They should follow the correct path from many paths available. 

During the program Wasantha said that a question many ask  how do you shift from one stage play to another the following day, do you not get puzzled .Wasantha said human mind is typically like a computer as stage actors they need to remember lyrics well.What he said in a lighter vein should change the ‘chip’.When he was asked to relate a narrative from a play .he selected a script from Simon Nawagaththegama’s ‘Sudu saha Kalu” reproduced and directed by  Sriyantha Mendis which he narrated superbly without any prior preparation. Where he had portrayed the role of a Guerilla leader.Wasantha is definitely a sturdy ,robust ideal figure for any role on stage also with a deep bass voice. 

Waasantha had selected mostly songs from past films like Pareasathumal, ( paravunu mal) Ranmuthuduwa (Paramamitha  ) and Getawarayo ( sihina hathak).The song he selected in Getawarayo was as a tribute to his ‘guru’ Shesha Palihakkara the producer, also Wasantha conveyed that many who produced the films are dead apart from producer Tissa Liyanasuriya. In conversation Chandana the presenter pointing to the souvenir had asked to comment on the efforts of a cosmetologist on the small muscles on the face.he said ‘wes’ and ‘anga’ are two different areas that need to be concerned. The costume designer prepares the attires while the one who designs tools and any instruments are the duties of ‘wes’ designers.While ‘Anga” is his part goes with ‘iriuawe’ which is ‘angarachcnaya’ which Wasantha does appropriately to go with ‘wes’.. 

Earlier this transformation had been made from ‘guru’ to learning student while at present there are teachers who teach this craft. The area is the responsibility of the production manager which is really a skilled job cannot be done by a novice but some endeavor to do. Wasantha very humbly added that he still learns from his assistants as they have diverse views and ideas. These assistants are Upul Mahanama,Kumara Galahitiyawa,Somasiri Kandegedera and Bandula Priyantha. 

Wasantha is married to Anula Hapugoda whom he had met at a workshop at the Russian Sri Lanka Friendship Centre.She is a teacher in charge of art ,drama and dancing at the St Mary’s Kandana Hapugoda  who had acted in many teledramas like Yasorawaya, Sannali while in a number of stage plays like Ekathipathi ,Makarashya, Trojen Kanthawo, Yaksha Gamanaya, Ath ,Mora ,Bandula Vithanage’s Senehe bara Dottie etc.Daughter is sixteen u=years old is to sit for ordinary level examination taken part in school plays ad dramas is talented through hereditary affiliations from the parental duo has won awards in school competitions. He finally selected the song ‘Deviyani Oba Mavu lova pudumai” Wasantha had selected this song remembering hs father who had died on January eight 1966 transmission in hospital. On the previous day he had heard this song and another song via the then “rediffusion”  “Kawda Me Loke Maruwa Paradduwe”.His father’s last words had been conveyed  to his mother the titles of these two songs when she visited him in hospital. 

Wasantha Vittachchi for having portrayed roles in around ninety teledramas, sixty films and over one hundred and fifty stage plays could be termed an ICON in the field of acting as well as a cosmetologist. While congratulating for successfully portraying varied character roles  and winning the most number of awards for a single artiste totaling to a massive record forty seven awards which would be very hard to beat in this century. All fans would wish him good health and longevity wish him success for all future ventures. 

Sunil Thenabadu

e mail sthenabadu @ hotmail.com..

Whatsapp 0061444533242 





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