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It was in late ’60s that the ‘Ceylonians’ Sports Club saw the light
of day. It was founded by six friends. I am the only surviving member.
Within a short period our team became one of the best in softball
cricket in Panadura and a formidable soccer team in the Kalutara
district. Membership swelled and an elderly soccer fan, who held a
reputable position in the government sector joined us and automatically
became our secretary and mentor.
His only child always accompanied him and always carried a book. He
never missed watching a single soccer match that we played at the
Panadura esplanade but did not waste his time but read before any match
and even during the interval.
For some reason, the father became friendly with me and said “Lalith,
I am telling only you, one day my son will be a great man.”. That
prediction became a reality when the ‘kid’ was in his 20s. The father
saw of the milestones achieved by his son.
In the mid 80s he was involved in theatre and produced plays
(translations) by international writers. Once when his industry
colleagues went to his place, his father brought them to the Panadura
Sports Club for ‘appetizers’ before dinner. On their return they became
slightly boisterous and began singing. While they were passing the
police station a ‘smart’ sub inspector who pretended to be of a higher
rank, took all of them to lock them up. After some clarification they
were released. Among them were the late H. A. Perera and Jayalath
Manorathne who became prominent in their fields for their indisputable
The little boy fulfilling his childhood dream and passion of
directing a film, successfully screened his maiden film in 1992. His
first attempt in his march towards his illustrious career, won nine OCIC
(Sri Lanka) awards including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Thereafter, there was no turning back for him and he directed seven
more internationally recognized films. Two were premiered in Canada and
South Korea, while one was premiered in 2011 in Jaffna, the first
Sinhala film to be premiered in 30 years.
However, he had to fight a year-long battle to release one of his
films which later became one of the most commercially successful films
in Sri Lanka. He broke into the international market with the assistance
of a few Japanese who were fascinated by one of his films screened at
the Fukuoka Film Festival.
Prasanna Vithanage, a proud product of Panadura, founded his Academy
in 2013. He is the son of the late Dharmasena Vithanage and Mrs. Indrani
Vithanage. He is married to well-known actress Damayanthi, sister of
Open letter to President Maithripala Sirisena:
Collective action against child abuse, rape and murder needed
The National Shoora Council (NSC), an umbrella body of 18 national
Muslim Civil Society Organizations (CBO) condemns the brutal murder of
Seya Sadevmini, who was strangled to death at Kotadeniyawa in
Divulapitiya. The NSC urges collective action against abuse against
children and appeals to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime
Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe to reinforce law and ensure security for
children and women and take immediate action against those behind the
“Incidents of child abuse and rape have been reported in the past and
were associated with lack of law and order in the country. However, with
the new government, the people of this country had great expectations of
good governance being established, which could end such abuse by
effective implementation of law and order. This needs collective action
from political and civil society leaders, government authorities and the
media and every citizen. It is important to enforce strict rules
regarding such crimes that tampers with moral and human values of our
nation,” the NSC states.
“Child abuse, rape and incest are the tip of the iceberg of a major
problem in the country. Unless the causes of these crimes are addressed,
they cannot be stopped. Unhindered access to pornography, nudism and
promiscuity displayed in the print and digital media inciting subliminal
feelings of people are the driving force behind these crimes,” it
The NSC urges that while action is taken to arrest and punish the
perpetrators, the influence of pornography on the internet and the media
that propels people to criminal acts of rape, child abuse, incest and
murder should be curbed and urges all stakeholders to act responsibly to
bring an end to child abuse, rape and incest.
Deputy President, NSC