The skies turned gloomy when I heard of the passing of my friend Tony Ranasinghe, the consummate actor, the playwright and the translator of the classical literature of the masters.
More than all of the above, he was my friend. He acted in my first films Adara Kathawa and Janelaya. It was a wonderful experience working with him. He kept the set alive with his anecdotes.
Not known to many is that he worked in the AD’s department on the Steven Spielberg/George Lucas film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Tony in his youth was the most intrinsic, vulnerable, sensitive presence in the local cinema screens. He was often compared to the great American actor Montgomery Clift. Our greatest film legend Mister Gamini Fonseka considered Tony the best actor in Sri Lanka and remained his closest friend in the acting fraternity. That should be considered a great achievement since Mister Fonseka suffered no fools.
My last conversation with him was regarding an original screenplay he wrote for me, a comedy about the Japanese bombing a paddy field during the last world war. It was a comedy that I had planned to direct with Tony and Joe Abeywickrema in the leading roles. He wanted to cast new talent and direct it himself. I agreed. Alas, it was not meant to be.
I was enriched by many facets of life, cinema, art, classical literature, humor and numerous other things…by simply knowing him.A man of honor, truth and sincerity. Goodbye Tony, my friend.