'I like Nargis, Nutan and Madhuri'

Veteran STAR

'I like Nargis, Nutan and Madhuri'

This 66-year-old actress can make heads turn even today and she surely stood out at the ‘6th Bangalore International Film Festival’ (BIFFes), which concluded in the City recently. 

Veteran Sri Lankan actress Malani Senehelatha Fonseka, who was in Bangalore for the festival, is much sought-after till date. Malani, whose appearance belies her age, spoke to Metrolife about her journey so far. On being asked about her visit, she exclaims, “I always look forward to coming to India. It’s my favourite country. I’m always excited to come here.

Speaking about the film festival, she says, “I watched a couple of films although I can’t remember the titles of all of them. But the one film that stood out was ‘Hush... Girls Don’t Cry’ (An Iranian film by Pouran Derakhshandeh). It is so well-made and the portrayal of the situation is commendable.” She suggests, “Why not get our film-makers to do something like that?”

Her career, which has spanned over four decades, began with Punchi Baba in 1968. Showing her versatility as an actress, Malani has successfully tried her hand at stage dramas and television, acted in over 140 films and won countless awards for her extraordinary performances. She has also donned the hats of a director and producer. 

She has directed Sasara Chetana, Ahinsa and Sthree while Nidhanaya, Siripala Saha Ranmenika, Eya Dan Loku Lamayek and Bambaru Awith are some of the well-known films she has acted in. The versatile actress, who has experimented with several roles in her career, says, “Indian cinema interests me because Sri Lankan cinema has based its style on it and borrowed a lot from it.” 

Recalling the stars of yesteryears, Malani says, “I really like Nargis and Nutan. And among the newer lot, I like Madhuri Dixit.” The ‘Queen of Sinhalese Cinema’, as she is popularly known, fondly remembers the late 1970s when she acted in ‘Pilot Premnath’ opposite well-known South Indian actor Sivaji Ganeshan. 

“Now I’m doing character roles. Although I keep coming here, I’m not looking for any roles in Indian cinema,” she says. 

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