We don’t always find artists who would join the industry at very tender age and then continue to engage in the profession until they are very old. Only few will do that.
Sri Lanka’s most renowned actress, Iranganie Serasinghe is one such artist.
She is popular amongst all walks of life in Sri Lanka.
This is her story:
How do you spend your time these days?
I would like to stay at home now. I cannot do things that I did earlier. Now I get tired so soon.
Can you go down your memory lane and talk about your entry to acting?
I came from the school stage. I was just 6 years old when I performed first on the school stage. I still remember my costume that I wore on that day. Thereafter, I featured in all those annual events at school.
Can you tell us about your alma mater?
I first went to Bridget Convent in Colombo. Thereafter, I attended Bishop College. My last school was High School in Kandy. From there, I got selected to enter university. At the beginning, my father (appachchi) did not approve it. However, I obtained his approval. At the university, I got the opportunity to exhibit my abilities in stage dramas. I still remember, during my 3 years at the campus, I acted in all those English dramas staged there.
How was the response from home? They did not oppose.
Then how did you become a cinema actress?
I first acted in a documentary. It was directed by Dr. Lester James Peiris. It was “Be safe or be sorry”. I acted as a female driver in the film. Thereafter, I was invited for his “Rekawa” film. I will never forget those days. I still feel it. I was really privileged to be a part of that epic film.
How did you get to know Dr. Peiris?
I first met him in the UK. After completing the university education, I went to the UK to further study on stage dramas.
Then I acted in the “Sandeshaya”. Dr. Peiris wanted me to join the “Gamperaliya” to act the role of Matara Hamine. I remember he came to see me. Then I was pregnant. I can recall Dr. Peiris looked at me and said: “Out of shape”. Thereafter, Shanthi Lekha was chosen.
Do you regret it?
Not really. After I got married I wanted to have children. But even after I got married and had children, I did not move away from the cinema. And nobody asked me not to pursue in acting.
Iranganie Serasinghe has been prominent in most films in her role as a mother. However, in films such as “Sagarayak Meda”, “Dhadayama”, “Sudu Kalu saha Alu” and “Machang” she acted in diverse roles.
She has also contributed to foreign films such as “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, and “Water”.
She says she continues to engage in various social activities and even would take minor roles, as she feels that she would get ill if she stays at home doing nothing.