Film Actor Roshan Ranawana Urges Sri Lankan Youth to Cultivate Good Habits

Parent Category: September 2012 online edition

visiting the Dalada Maaligaawavisiting the Dalada Maaligaawa“Youth in Sri Lanka must build up their willpower to resist bad practices like addiction to drugs and alcohol abuse and cultivate socially desirable practices such as honesty in private and public life and community service” said the popular film star Roshan Ranawana when I met him recently in Kandy for an informal chat. He was spending a quiet holiday in Kandy away from it all  away from his fans, away from film set and away from the hustle and bustle of Colombo where he lives.

Ranawana burst into Sri Lanka's film scene in 2006 when he appeared as a schoolboy,  Predeep, in a romantic role in Udayakanth Warnasuriya's Hiripoda Vassa. Since then he has acted in twelve films, and in 2006 won the presidential award for the Best Upcoming Actor. Roshan told me that he was currently involved in making about twelve new films including Siddhaartha that Saman Weereman was directing. He plays the role of Prince Narada in the film that is due to be released shortly.

 Roshan  (third for right) paid a courtesy call on the Kandy Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte (fourth from right)  at the latter's residence. Roshan (third for right) paid a courtesy call on the Kandy Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte (fourth from right) at the latter's residence. Tucking into his breakfast of kiributh with lunumiris, white potato curry and spicy soya curry at his friend Malinka's home in Kandy Roshan talked of his passion for animals and the fact that he was a vegetarian. He plays an active role in a voluntary organization called Sri Lanka Innocence High Society Association that promotes humane treatment of animals and encourages vegetarian food habits.

This morning Roshan was wearing casual clothes with a three quarter and a skinny. He was not at all different from what I have seen him in the movies. He said he loves to come to Kandy to relax. One reason for his partiality to Kandy is his mother who is from the Ranawana village just outside Kandy. “I feel more at home in Kandy. The people here are more friendly and more in tune with our culture” he said. “It is true that Kandy does not have the cosmopolitanism of Colombo. But I like Kandy exactly because it is not Colombo. I wish Kandy will not get drowned in the commercialism that has swamped Colombo” he added.         

Roshan relaxing in KandyRoshan relaxing in KandyI asked Roshan whom he most admired in life. The answer came instantly. “My most admired person in life and my role model is my grandfather R M P Ranawana, retired   S P in the Police Department” he proudly said. When I asked why he was so special to him he said 'because he had a set of principles in life. He was a vegetarian and teetotaler, somewhat unusual for a policeman. He was also a dedicated  social worker that helped people around him. On top of that he was also a good sportsman. He was responsible for constructing the basketball court at the Police Park, Colombo. Perhaps, what has impressed me most was his fierce sense of independence that made him stand up for what was right. His colleagues in the police have told me how he took a principled stand against political interference in police work in 1971 that led to a strike of sorts in the police.”           

Turning to the Sinhala cinema he identified Kamal Addararachchi as his favourite actor. “I liked his youthful mischievous nature as a young actor”  Roshan said.  He admires Udayakanth Warnasuriya as a great film director. He is a gentleman in every sense of the word, he said. Among western actors he particularly likes Harrison Ford whose role as an archeologist in the film Indiana Jones has left a lasting impression on Roshan.

Roshan, who is a bachelor, lives in Wattala. An old boy of St Joseph's College, he had played basketball and rugby in school. On leaving school he took to a career in modeling. In 2002 he became Mr. Sri Lanka.

He credits his mother Kanthi for encouraging him to embark on a career in acting. “My mother filled an application form when there was an advertisement calling for film actors. I was selected to do the main role in Udayakanth Warnasuriya's film Hiripoda Vass that launched my career” he said.  

During his holiday in Kandy Roshan had walked up on the  Hantan Road to enjoy the scenic beauty. He had visited the Daladaa Maaligaawa, done a little shopping in the Kandy City Centre mall, and visited the Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte at the latter's residence. Roshan said that he was keen to meet the young mayor who is also a vegetarian and animal lover. It so happens that Roshan is one of Mayor Ratwatte's favourite actors.

I asked Roshan if he has a fiancée. “It is for me to know and for others to find out” he replied avoiding a direct answer.

                                                                                                       By Shirley Jayawardene

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