Sri Lankan Sinhala Film Mahindagamanaya by Sanath Abeysekara at http://www.sandeshaya.org
Sinhala Film Mahindagamanaya Cast
Main Actor : Jeevan Kumarathunga
Main Actress : Dilhani Ashokamala Ekanayake
Actor : Roshan Ranawana
Actor : Joe Abeywickrama
Actress : Udari Warnakulasuriya
Actress : Oshini Dias
Actor : Roshan Pilapitiya
Actor : Bimal Jayakodi
Actor : Menaka Rajapaksha
Actor : Cleatus Mendis
Actor : Kumara Thirimadura
Actor : Luxman Mendis
Actor : Asela Jayakodi
Actor : Sarath Dikkumbura
Sinhala Film Mahindagamanaya Crew
Director : Sanath Abeysekara
Producer : Daminda Upali Fernando
Music Director : Rohana Weerasinghe
Cinematographer : Channa Deshapriya
Costume : Nilhan Senewirathna
Sinhala Film Mahindagamanaya Story
Spiritual wake up through cinema – Ruwini Jayawardana
More than 2,350 years ago, in the heart of the wilderness, surrounded by nature’s splendors, a dramatic encounter which will go down in the annals of history unfolded. Two characters received precedence at this meet. One was Ven. Arahant Mahinda Thera, son of Emperor Asoka, and the other was the reigning king of Sri Lanka, King Devanampiyatissa.
Ven. Arahant Mahinda Thera was on a sacred mission to spread the teachings of the Buddha. However such precepts cannot be handed over in one go. The monarch’s intellectual stature was graded after a quiz. He withstood the test. The island prospered by embracing Buddhism.
Bringing this significant moment of spiritual awakening to mind thousands of Buddhists visit Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, each year on Poson Poya day. This milestone in the history will be rekindled when director Sanath Abeysekara begins shoot on his much talked about movie Mahindagamanaya. The Muhurath ceremony of the event took place at Gangaramaya temple last week. Ven. Pallagama Hemarathana Thera, Ven. Galabada Thera, Ven. Agalakada Sirisumana Thera and Ven. Magalle Nabitha Thera took part in the event which evoked blessings for the project.
The film is part of the project aimed at celebrating the 2600th Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi in 2011. It aims to send the message of the compassionate nature of Buddhism across to the world.
Speaking at the event, director Abeysekara said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Buddhist Affairs Ministry have been very keen on the film. He added that he had worked on the script for nearly a year and had done a lot of background research to include accurate details to the story.
“The opening chapters of the movie include a few scenes of Emperor Asoka. We will be flying to India in January to shoot these episodes. We are constructing the monuments of places and other buildings and working on the costumes. These have to be done with care so that modern elements do not emerge in the pictures.
Even the characters acted and talked in a specific manner. We hope to give the full experience of travelling back in time for the audience,” Abeysekara noted. He also said that he had to undergo several threats and criticism when he took up the challenge of making the movie.
“Some questioned why a young and less experienced filmmaker should take on such a colossal project but I withstood my ground. Shooting is scheduled for November and December in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee and Vavuniya,” he said. He also added that one focal point of the tale is the moment when Queen Anula and Prince Aritta renunciate from lay life and enter the Order of Sangha. This will be done in a realistic manner; Abeysekara stressed while pointing out that it was only after Buddhism took over the isle that the locals were gifted with rich literary work.
Producer of Mahindagamanaya, Daminda Upali Fernando of Best Life Cinema said that one of the main reasons which motivated him to produce the movie is the fact that the director’s self confidence and dedication.
He added that the movie will be made as an act of social hospitality service rather than a tool for profit making.
Mohammed NAALIR in Tanthirimale
Mahindagamanaya, the arrival of Arahat Mahinda in Sri Lanka with the noblest gift of Buddhism changed the country’s history and laid the foundation for a civilization based on Buddhism.
Although the story is well-known and commemorated every year on Poson Poya Day, there have not been many attempts to portray it artistically, through film or television. Who in Sri Lanka, regardless of his or her religion, does not know about the meeting between Arahat Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa, who was hunting deer when the Great Arahat called him from atop the Mihintale rock?
This artistic lacuna is about to be filled, as several leading film personalities are making a film which depicts the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Although the film is based on Mahindagamanaya, it is also an attempt to explore the norms and values of Buddhism. It will be a film for all Sri Lankans, not only Buddhists.
Shooting on “Mahindagamanaya” commenced in the precincts of historic Tanthirimale Raja Maha Vihara precincts in Anuradhapura District last week. According to the Director 75 per cent of the shooting of “Mahindagamanaya” has been completed so far.
This is the maiden directorial effort of Sanath Abeysekara, who has 32 teledramas to his credit. The idea of making a film on this great event in the country’s history came to him when he was reading the Mahavamsa. He has remained faithful to the Mahavamsa account when making this movie. According to the Director the film “Mahindagamanaya” will highlight the advent of Arahat Mahinda Thera to Sri Lanka and the social, cultural, religious and economic developments that occurred in our country afterwards. The film will depict the period 2250-2010 BC.
After King Devanampiyatissa ascended to the throne King Asoka of India, himself a warrior King who embraced Buddhism and became non-violent, sent Arahat Mahinda Thera to Sri Lanka to preach Buddhism. Although various beliefs existed in Sri Lanka even at that time, the concept of a religion was unheard of.
After the advent of Ven. Arahat Mahinda Thera to Sri Lanka, people who venerated trees and devils started to embrace Buddhism to correct their path and lead a peaceful life. Buddhism laid the foundation for a vibrant society that valued the Buddha Dhamma.
It paved the way for the creation of an Order of the Maha Sangha, who guided the people on moral uplift. The film Mahindagamanaya will depict this transformation.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken a keen interest in the film and instructed the relevant authorities to make funds available for the film. Veteran film star Jeevan Kumaratunga plays the role of King Devanampiyatissa and veteran actress Dilhani Ekanayake is playing the main female role Anuladevi.
Kumaratunga, who is Posts Minister, told the Sunday Observer that although he has played many roles in his cinematic career, this is the first time he is playing such a pivotal historical role. This will be especially significant as next year marks the 2600th Sambuddha Jayanthi. The film too will be released next year.
Roshan Pilapitiya who plays the role of Maha Aritta Kumara in “Mahindagamanaya” is also very happy to play such a character in a historical film. Maha Aritta Kumara was the first Sri Lankan who was ordained as a Bhikku in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Dilhani Ekanayake who is playing the role Queen Anuladevi said that this is a new experience for her. She is keen to try out ancient dresses and to visit ancient historic places. She described her character as a tough one. Roshan Pilapitiya, Roshan Ranawana, Oshaoli Hewamadduma, Chinthaka Kulathunga, Dulika Marapana, G. R. Perera, Sarath Dikkumbura, Hemasiri Liyanage, Jayani Senanayake, Kumara Thirimadura, Palitha Nanayakkara, Gnananga Gunawardane and several other actors will be featured in “Mahindagamanaya”.
The film is being produced by Best Life Films. Music is by Rohana Weerasinghe. The Art Director is Sunil Wijeratne. The Costumes are designed by Heenatigala Premadasa, while cinematography is handled by Chamara Dammika Ratnayake and Channa Deshapriya.
The Assistant Director is Jayantha Bopitiya. Kulasiri Budawatta is the choreographer. Dialogues have been written by Puravidya Chakravarthi Ven. Ellawala Medanandha Thera. The playback songs are performed by Uresha Ravihari, Karunaratne Divulgane, Sunil Edirisinghe, Nanda Malani and Amarasiri Pieris.
The lyrics are by Ven. Pallegama Hemaratana Thera, Ven. Ellawala Medananda Thera, Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne and Sanath Abeysekara.
The film will also be released internationally, especially in countries with large Buddhist populations.