Peradeniya University’s Open Air Theatre mostly known as “Wala” is the place where her life got changed. Her father, who was an employee of the university, used to bring his all three children every year to witness the university’s annual drama festival which attracted students as well as hundreds of outsiders.
She was not just sitting and watching the drama, but it was like almost sitting for the entrance examination at the university and getting through to graduation. She was fully absorbed in all programmes, naturally her mind and soul flowed into the art. No doubt, the theatre bug had bitten her. And Madani Malwattage choose to be a stage actress.
Madani Malwattage won the Best Actress award in the “State Drama Festival 2009, for her excellent performance in K.B.Herath’s “Jagan Ma”. The praising words at the award distribution function about her acting talents were echoing in Madani’s ears even after almost two months of the event.
In “Jagan Ma”, she has a dual role as a girl as well as a boy. The play portrays how difficult it is for someone to go against the nature. The theme as well as the roles she was cast in brought the best in her and she won the award of the Best Actress. This is not the first time she is receiving the state drama festival award. She has bagged a number of awards. In 2007, Madani had also received the same award, for the role she played in Susil Gunarathne’s “Denuwara Dennek”
Madani tells most of the leisure time of their family members is spent listening to music. All are music lovers. As her father was a real lover drama and songs, all the family members had a tendency towards the stage and singing. Madani’s father noted the upcoming talent in her and had sent her daughter to a private dancing and singing academy in Kandy.
Madani received her primary education at the Sarasavi Uyana Maha Vidyalaya at Peradeniya and did her advanced Level at the Highest Girls’ College in Kandy. It was a news paper advertisement which brought her to Colombo to follow a Drama and Acting Course organized by the National Youth Services Council in Maharagama.
She told the Asian Tribune that that was the place she got in to know the giants in the field and opportunity to study the subject deeply. “Dougles Siriwardene, H.A.Perera, K.B.Herath, Jayalath Manorathne, Mangala Senanayake, Nissanka Diddeniya and several others were my teachers”, Madani says. Madani who migrated to Colombo in 99’s, set foot to the open stage in the year 2000, receiving an opportunity by Jayalath Manorathne in his play “Kaneru Mal”.
Her childhood favorite plays were the Ediriwera Sarachchandra’s “Maname” and “Sinhabahu”. In 2001 she was fortunate to receive chances to play both the main characters of two plays as directed by Lalitha Sarachchandra. From those turning point onwards, she was getting stage dramas one by one.
Saiman Nawagaththegama’s “Subha Saha Yasa”, Dougles Siriwadene’s “Sihala Wanshala”, R.R.Samarakoon’s “Kelani Palama”, Punyasena Gunasingha’s “Dikthala and Kala Gola” Dhananjaya Karunarathne’s “Sihina Rangahala”, K.B.Herath’s “Jagan Ma” and Rohana Beddage’s “Alakalanchiya” are a few stage dramas which Madani contributed.
In 2001, she played a role in Janapriya Jayasinghe’s “Weradi Welawe Hamuwu Hari Miniha” and she was nominated for the Best Assistant Actress at the State Drama Festival. Again, she was nominated for the same category at the State Drama Festival for her role in Sunil Chandrasiri’s “Don Juwan”. In 2003, she was nominated for the award of Best Actress at the State Drama Festival for her contribution for Hemantha Prasad’s “Malsara Bisaw”.
Madani says Senesh Bandara Dissanayake’s “Fantasy Avenue” is the first tele-drama. Later, she had acted in over 30 tele dramas including one mega production and several single episode productions. Christy Shelton Fernando’s “Gal Pilimaya saha Bol Pilimaya” and “Sihinayaki Oba”, Nalan Mendis’s “Hiru Kumari”, Wimalarathna Adhikari’s “Thuru Kandawura’ and “Athi Ithi” are a few of them.
Madani had also joined in country’s most favorite single episode tele series like Ranga Bandaranayake’s ‘Sitha Nivana Katha’, Ananda Abeykoon’s “Sansare Piya Satahan”, Chamara Pieris’s “Vidarshana”, Thusitha de Silva’s “Paramitha” and Santhusa Liyanage’s “Jeewanandara”.
Playing the “Tharushi’s role” in “Sakwiththo”; one of the most favorite tele dramas she comes to your house these days. ”Rangira” is a new production and will be telecast soon, Madani says.
Madani who has also contributed for number commercials says her latest contribution is for another stage drama and it is “Manoramya Gee” by Jayalath Manorathne. She also added that she is also joining in a newest introductory art work by Udaya siri Wickremerathne. She said that the Wickremerathne’s production is a newest experience for the Sri Lankan audience and she was happy to receiving a chance to play a role there.
Madani believes that acting is a art and science and it should be studied thoroughly. “Continuous practice and direct engagement in the field will not make you fed up. One should take a plunge into it”, she says. “I am happy in the field as I select the characters because this is my profession now. I have got several invitations for films too. But, most of scripts are not for me as I am a mother too”, she concluded.