Opening the door to the Silver screen | Sunday Observer

Opening the door to the Silver screen

For Soorya Dayaruwan it was a mighty and gut wrenching step to leave his home among the green rice paddies , brooding jungles and rippling tank waters of the Wewu Bendi Rajjaya (Kingdom of Tanks) and come to the concrete jungles of Kolompura (City of Colombo). This move was to change the life of this fresh faced, good looking young man in the most dramatic way – Soorya soon became a rising star, set to dazzle movie and music lovers just like the fiery, dazzling planet whose name he bears.

He did so to enter the University of Visual and Performing Arts to read for his B.A. in Music with focus on opera. After his verdant home town the metropolis made him claustrophobic. In fact, so bad was his claustrophobia that for about six months he found it difficult to breathe. However, the determined and strong willed Soorya adjusted to his new life and then, it was business as usual for the young lad.

It was in his second year at the University that Soorya’s big break came. His lecturer, Dharshana Kumara Dissanayake invited him to audition for Samanala Sandhawaniya, (Butterfly Symphony) scripted and directed by veteran director Jayantha Chandrasiri. The music was handled by Dissanayake himself.

Soorya was selected to play the young Vadisha Wickramanayake. The older Vadisha is played by Pubudu Chathuranga. In this role, Soorya discovers hitherto untapped talents for acting in himself and the support he receives from veteran actors and actresses, Yashodha Wmaladharma, Buddhadasa Witharanachchi, Wilson Gunaratne, Damitha Abeyratne , Roshan Pilapitiya and the younger Pubudu Chathuranga and Chathurika Peiris helped him tremendously to do justice to his maiden role and hone his talents further. Sooriya remembers all of them with much gratitude. Samanala Sandhawaniya was released on October 4, 2013.

It is indeed a testimony to Soorya’s talents as an actor that his very first cinema role won him three awards. He won the Signis Award for the Outstanding Auxiliary Contribution, a Jury Special Award at the Hiru Film Awards and the best upcoming Actor at the Lanka Live Awards.

While giving a stellar performance in his very first cinematic experience Soorya also took the world of music and song by storm. To date, this talented young singer has around 30 songs to his credit. His Magene recorded in 2017 and released in 2018 drew over two million listeners. The lyrics were by Kasun Mahendra Heenatigala and the music by Manjula Bandara. Another popular hit is Susumata Kandulata with lyrics by Manju Shri Indika and music by Kaveen Indika. He also has performed as a playback singer for radio, movies and tele dramas.

At the State Music Festival in 2018 Soorya Dayaruwan was adjudged the ‘best English Solo Singer for his rendition of My Blossom. This song in the Western Operatic tradition was especially composed for Soorya . Attorney– at- Law Nadeera Shri Nissanka wrote the lyrics and his lecturer Dharshana Kumara Dissanayake composed the melody.

His role in Samanala Sandhawaniya opened the doors of the Sinhala Silver Screen and tele dramas to Soorya. He is currently appearing in Weli Pawuru now showing in cinemas and which is directed by Sunil Premaratne. Another of Soorya’s movies is Thanapathilage Gedera.

Needless to say Soorya’s acting in the movies which have been released have won him many accolades.

Currently, Soorya plays the role Sanukha Mahaththaya in the teledrama Thodu. It is being telecast on ITN and his portrayal of this character has brought Soorya many rave reviews.

His entry into the entertainment world has made Soorya discover another hidden talent - his ability to dance. Soorya is delighted to discover that he has great rhythm in him and has taken part in several reality shows and even reached the finals.

Western Opera is what interests Soorya. He has no firm favourite among operas but loves The Magic Flute by Mozart. Tenor Luciano Pavortti is his all time favourite singer. Andrea Bocelli is another firm favourite. Soorya plays the violin and piano. And his talent in playing the violin helped him win Vadisha’s character in the Samanala Sandhawaniya. He has also formally studied the violin and passed the Trinity College of London exams.

He studied vocal music under Natalia Gunaratne at the University and is currently preparing for his Associate Diploma of the Trinity College of Music, London (ATCL) under Menaka Sahabandu. He is aiming for the Diploma in Vocal music.

Success has not gone to this 28 –year- old’s head. He remains humble and very conscious of his roots in the village of Ihala Kulu Wewa. He still keeps in touch with the three Polonnaruwa schools where he studied. Polonnaruwa Ihala Kulu Wewa Kanishta Vidyalaya, Polonnaruwa Atthanakada Maha Vidyalaya and Polonnaruwa Thopa Wewa Maha Vidyalaya. He joined Atthanakada MV at grade seven to pursue his studies in music and the Thopa Wewa MV to do his A/l’s in Political Science, Music and Sinhala. He says that it has made his teachers very happy to see his success.

Soorya is now living in a suburb of Colombo. A family man he visits his family in Polonnaruwa when he can and they too visit him often. His father R. D. Abeyratne is very musical and the children have inherited this talent from him. His mother is K. G. Jayawathie and his only brother is Sandalo Gi Siri while his sisters’ are Sakuntala Kusala, Shrimathi Nayan, Sooryadevi Sandaseeli and Shripalee Luckshmi. His entire family supports him whole heartedly.

Soorya associates many people but has only four or five close friends only.

He had a nasty experience last year when the vehicle he was travelling in met with an accident. He fractured his facial bones, leg and arm but was lucky that the injuries were internal and they did not mar his appearance. Though healed now, he still feels pain when makeup is put on his face. Before, the only form of exercise he gets his walking which also relaxes him.

His other pastimes are travelling (loves cold places), reading and watching movies.

As for the future, Soorya is ever the student and plans to keep on studying music and acting and improve his skills in these areas. He hopes to begin reading for his Masters in Music soon.

On being asked what advice he would give to would be actors, singers and musicians he said it is always good to come with a hard knowledge and background of the subject and to be prepared to work hard.

Soorya Dayaruwan with talents and balanced outlook on life is an ideal role model for Sri Lankan youth and is to be much admired for being who he is.

We, at the Youth Observer wish Soorya all the best!

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