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Sihnala Jokes

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Veteran iconic thespian, Wijeya Nandasiri,
who gave life to many a character on the stage, small screen and films, breathed his last on the way to the Kalubowila Teaching hospital from his residence at Kalapura, Templers Road, Mt Lavinia on the morning of the 08th August 2016, at the age of 72 years. He had his final curtain call after providing plenty of smiles, joy and laughter to audiences, dominating the stage and the silver screens for over five decades.

Wijeya Nandasiri, born on 06th May 1944 to a humble family in Maharagama, received his primary and secondary education at the Vidyakara Vidyalaya in Maharagama, when he became interested in acting. He made the theatre debut in 1966 in the stage drama Vidura-Diva produced by Amaradasa Gunawardena for the State Drama Festival. He next played roles in Naribena, Jasaya saha Lenchina made by veteran dramatist Dayananda Gunawardena, who personally invited him to be in the cast.

Wijeya was initially and briefly a catering officer at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, in the late-'60s as his acting career developed. After his debut drama he played in many stage dramas including Bakmaha Akunu by Dayananda Gunawardena, Thahanchi and Baka Thapas by Sathischandra Edirisinghe, Kontharaya, Wahalak Nathi Geyak and Sarade Sina by Prema Ranjith Thilakarathna and Bedde Goranaduwa by Ananda S. Wijesiri.

After Ran Kanda, Nandasiri was much in demand, and starred in the plays Subha Saha Yasa, Nariya Saha Keju Kella, Ekadipathi, Tharawo Egilethi, Kuweni and Hunuwataye Kathawa among others.

Over the next 27 years he played the character of Prince Maname in Professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra's celebrated drama Maname, and appeared in Singha Bahu, Mahasara and Ratnawalee. Wijeya Nandasiri achieved more fame in 1971 in the play Ran Kanda, and participated in over 40 plays staged island-wide since.

Wijeya Nandasiri's early television credits included Gamana and Pramada Wedei. He was later a producer of teledrama Humalaya. He became famous as a comedy actor with the character of "Preem" in the teledrama "Nonawaruni Mahathwaruni" broadcast on Sirasa TV; then later in Yes Madam, Ethuma and Yes Boss.

Wijeya was married to renowned actress Devika Mihirani], who herself holds the record as the main actress in Sri Lanka's first ever Tele-drama, Dimuthu Muthu. Their first close encounter was at Sudarshi Visual Arts Center, where Mihirani learnt dancing. It was Wijeya Nandasiri the one who invited her for the drama Subha Saha Yasa in 1974. They have two children, Navanjana and Rasanjana Suchitra.

In 1976, he met well known film director and producer K. A. W.Perera who gave him his first film role in the movie Nedayo. The character was of a blind person, and the song "Sanasum Susuman Pavila" the song he portrayed is still a popular song. He has had roles in the films Yasa Isuru, Sandakada Pahana, Bangali Walalu, Sasara , Left Right Sir, Bahuboothayo, Rail Para, Mage Amma, Magodigo Dayi, King Hunthar, Sakvithi Dadayama and Suhada Koka during the years 1976 to 2015, and was given the Best Actor award for his role of the match maker in Sikuru Hathe.

He later focused more on stage plays such as Balloth Ekka Behe, Malwadum Anawashai, and Aluth Horek One. Invariably his stage shows were much in demand for his portrayals in them.

Wijeya Nandasiri’s immense talent accompanied by humility, and compassion will no doubt would be etched in the minds of his fans.

May his walk through Sansara be short and may he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana.