Monday, December 30, 2013

SL Actresses Have Fond Memories of Sivaji Ganesan

The Tamil and Sinhalese film industries have drifted apart due to the clash of perceptions about the Tamil question in the island nation. But Malani Fonseka and Geetha Kumarasinghe, both leading ladies in the bygone era of Indo-Lankan collaboration in film making, have fond memories of working with the Tamil icon Sivaji Ganesan. Both yearn for the return of the bonhomie of those days. “Sivaji was a great actor and a great human being,” said Malani, the thespian’s leading lady in the 1978 Tamil blockbuster Pilot Premnath directed by A C Trilokachander. “It was Sivaji who urged me to become a producer. He kept telling me to make a number 1 Sri Lankan creation,” Malani told Express. “A warm and friendly man, I was very happy to work with Sivaji. In fact, it was an honour to work with him,” Malani said. Asked if she would like to work in a Chennai film again, Malani said: “Definitely I would. Art should bring people together and not separate them. I will be the happiest to see Sri Lanka and India coming together in the field of art and cinema.” Geetha Kumarasinghe, the Lankan sex bomb of yore, who was paired with the Tamil thespian in Mohana Punnagai (1981) directed by C V Sridhar, said Sivaji was a thorough gentleman. “We got along very well even though he was in his fifties and I was only 26. He was very knowledgeable, not just on film making, but about many other subjects, though he had not gone to any university,” Geetha recalled. Geetha said she got offers from Madras film makers after Mohana Punnagai but could not take them because she got married. “I like to act in Tamil films because I love Tamil culture. The Tamils too like me,” she said.

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