Actors/Actresses

Iranganie Serasinghe

Kala Keerthi  Iranganie Roxanna Serasinghe (née Meedeniya) (born 1927) is a Sri Lankan actress. Since her debut in Rekava, Serasinghe has become recognized for playing motherly figures in various films and television serials.  She is the aunt of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Biography

Early life and education

Iranganie Meedeniya grew up in Moodugomuwa, near Ruwanwella in a tranquil village setting. Her early touches with nature would later lead her to become an environmental activist. While attending Bishop’s College she played in several end-of-term plays; at Girls’ High School, Kandy whilst pursuing a HSC; Meedeniya took a leading role in Bernard Show’s Pygmalion.

Against her father a Rate Mahatthaya’s wishes, Meedeniya entered the University of Ceylon in 1947 with the support of her cousins. He died in her first year away at a time when Marxist ideas were the norm. She immersed herself in the Ceylon theater scene while there under the guidance of Professor E. F. C. Ludowyk; she also became a proficient dancer with lessons from Chitrasena.

She eventually graduated with an Arts degree and travelled to London with letters of recommendation from Ludowyk following a marriage to Professor Dissanayake (they divorced some time later). There with the help of actresses Flora Robson and Sybil Thorndyke, Meedeniya attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for a year and the London School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art for two years.

Theater and film

Returning to Sri Lanka, Meedeniya met up with Ludowyk and Austrian Jew director Neuman Jubal and got back into theater.The Lionel Wendt Art Centre theater portion of the center opened on 12 December 1953 with the production of Maxim Gorky’s “The Lower Depths”, starring Iranganie Serasinghe and produced by Neuman Jubal. Doing mainly English roles at first, she started playing in Sinhala theater in Henry Jayasena’s Apata Puthe Magak Nethe and followed with roles in Damma Jagoda’s Sinhala version of A Streetcar Named Desire, Ves Muhunu, and Porisadaya. The following years saw Meedeniya in constantly changing settings–teaching briefly at Musaeus College, working for The Times of Ceylon after returning from London, doing a stint at the SLBC and handling a post in the tourist trade working as a junior executive and guide of Walkers Tours and Travels (Pvt)Ltd.

Meedeniya started her career in cinema in Lester James Peries “Be Safe or Be Sorry” for the Government Film Unit . Peries subsequently cast her in his debut feature film Rekava as a mother . It has since achieved an iconic status in Sri Lanka.

In 1960 Meedeniya married Winston Serasinghe who had appeared in Rekava and some other productions with her. With the new surname, Iranganie Serasinghe achieved fame as an actress appearing in many of Peries’ early works.

Television

Year Show Role
1980s Yashorawaya Suduhamine
1990–1995 Doo Daruwo Dulsey/Sudu aachchi
1992 Village by the Sea-Gamperaliya
1996–1997 Nadayo
1997 Ammai Thaththai
1999–2001 Sathpuravesiyo
2008–2009 Muthu Kirilli
2010–2011 Amanda granny

 

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