Daily News Online

Wednesday, 19 January 2011



Comedian reminisced

Nihal Silva

Niahl Silva at a glance

* Born on January 10, 1954 in Kirilapone

* Rose to fame playing Sergeant Nallathamby in the play of the same name.

* Sergeant Nallathamby was one of the first Sri Lankan plays to be a financial success.

* Ralla, Commando Diyasena, and Vadamaarachi appeared in Sri Lankan theaters inspired by Sergeant Nallathamby's success

* Died on December 3, 1989 in Dehiwela

Even if they beguile a whole world with their uncanny sense of humour, the comedians rarely get the praise that they richly deserve. The Sri Lankan comedian, Nihal Silva or else Sajant Nallathambi, as he was known, may not have won many grand awards, but he sure did win millions of hearts through his riveting stage play.

A felicitation ceremony was held recently at Institute of Sinhala Culture to pay tribute to the great comedian that he once was. Many distinguished figures including Jayalath Manorathne, Palitha Silva, Jayalal Rohana and Daya Vayaman attended the event to pay their tribute to the idol. Deepal Silva brought back the nostalgic memories of glorious days, as he performed a short segment from the Sergeant Nallathambi Drama.

Daya Wayaman was probably the first to identify the talent and the potential Silva had towards the stage drama. It is through Daya Wayaman's drama Nainage Suuduwa that he really began to make name for himself in the industry. He played the role of a police inspector.

Perhaps it was his role in Neinage Suuduwa that later inspired him to make the Sajant Nallathambi drama. But he was not merely a comedian. He showed his versatility as a stage actor with a mind-blowing performance in the drama 'Punthila'. Through 'Punthila' Silva proved that he had the potential, the ability and the capacity to portray much complex characters as well.

His performance showed that he had the making of a classic stage actor.

He also gave his contribution to many films. He played the lead role in 1993's hit Sargant Nallathambi. Some of his other movies include Jodu Wallalu (1980), Thuththiri Mal (1983), Kiri Madu Wel(1985), Kavuluva (1987), Satana (1988), Okkoma Rajavaru (1989), Pem Rajadahana ( 1990), Juriya Mamai (1993).

Speaking at the event, Jayalal Rohana expressed his extreme respect towards the great comedian as he remarked: "It is a real honor to be speaking at this event. As I speak I feel his spirits hovering around under this roof. We speak of Ediriweera Sarachchandra era, John de Silva era, but we never mention Nihal Silva's name amid these greats. I feel he deserves a place among the very best. It is a whole golden era in Sri Lankan Theatre."



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