Mano was an actor of three mediums: stage, teledrama and Cinema. In these three mediums, he achieved the pinnacle of acting. The latest he won was the Best Actor award for the performance in Sarath Dharmasiri’s latest feature film at an International Film Festival in 2019. Unfortunately, that film didn’t have an opportunity to be exhibited before his untimely death! Sarath Dharmasiri three times allowed playing the lead role in his feature films if I remember right. Sarath is one of the film directors who knew the talent and capacity of Mano’s acting.
Mano was a born actor. In any of the three mediums, his performance was unique! On stage, it was Puthra Samagama his own production. Kapila Kumara Kalinga’s Rhinovirus, Ediriweera Sarachchandra’s Vessantara, Neil Allas’ Sihina Sappuwa and Sunanda Mahendra’s Socrates bear ample testimony for Mano’s performance as an actor.
Later Mano became a dramatist who wrote a series of scripts on varied subjects and styles. Beginning with Mahagiridamba his maiden original Guru Tharuwa and Andarela I feel his most important creation was Lokaya Thani Yayaki. It was in the tradition of Gajaman Nona of eminent dramatist Dayananda Gunawardana. It was an operatic docudrama which was experimented by this eminent duo!
Mano was developing into a visionary in his drama script Guru Tharuwa where he attempts an analytical analysis of the values in an age of transition especially the educational reforms, and the ill omens of becoming rootless (as emphasized by Frants Fannon). Out of these conflicts how a kind human being can be created as a Lotus is blossomed even it is rooted in the mud.
It’s not ‘I’ but has to think in terms of ‘us’ for the growth of society. And the most important factor in creating a sensitive human being through Arts and Culture’ A Disciplined citizen! Even in Andarela, it’s a satire on the prevailing socio-cultural life of the elite as well as in the lower depths! Mano was a brilliant performer of humour with his talent and at times it was a born talent! Such an example is Indika Fernando’s Ho Gana Pokuna as the Bus driver.
Apart from all this, Mano was a poet, novelist and short-story writer. Mano won State Drama Awards, State Literary Awards for his Film & Tele Drama performances too. Nevertheless, the Sri Lankan Cultural Authorities never had a plan to preserve his creations for future generations! Mano, we salute you and pray for a peaceful journey in Samsara.