B. A. W. Jayamanne
Bernard Aloysius Wanniarachchi Jayamanne|
May 2, 1908
|Died||February 16, 1965(aged 56)|
|Occupation||Playwright, Director, Producer, Actor|
|Relatives||Eddie Jayamanne (Brother) Rukmani Devi (Sister-in-Law)|
Bernard Aloysius Wanniarachchi Jayamanne who was better known as B.A.W. Jayamanne (20 May 1908 – 16 February 1965) was a Sri Lankan playwright, director, producer and actor. He played a major role in the making of the first Sinhala film Kadawunu Poronduwa in 1947; Jayamanne achieved a level of popularity as a director with movies starring Rukmani Devi and Eddie Jayamanne in the 1950s.
Aloy and his brother Eddie were born in Negombo to W. Don Thomas, a teacher at Maris Stella College. They formed the Minerva theater group in the 1930s and achieved some fame running plays that depicted contemporary middle class and village situations in contrast to the Tower Hall plays popular at the time which featured archaic tales of Sri Lankan kings. The Minerva dramas usually featured Rukmani Devi, Eddie and Jemini Kantha in the lead roles.
Around 1947, Aloy was approached by South Indian producer S. M. Nayagam to turn his popular play Kadawunu Poronduwa into a movie. Nayagam had noted its popularity and concluded that it would be a fairly viable investment. Although having misgivings initially, Aloy relented and the film was produced and released to commercial success in April 1947.
Aloy subsequently oversaw the adaption of a couple of his other plays before trying his hand at directing with Hadisi Vinischaya (with Mabel Blythe taking over for Jemini Kantha) in 1949. Due to the infancy of the film industry, BAW managed to dominate box office with minimal competition over the following years. Sangawunu Pilithura was released in 1951 and Umathu Wishwasaya in 1952.
Aloy had one of his biggest hits with Kele Handa in 1953; it made Sri Lankan film history as the first direct literary adaption and introduced actress Rita Ratnayake. His subsequent films include Iranganie (1954), Mathabedaya (1955, introducing actress Ruby de Mel), Daiva Vipakaya (1956), Wanaliya (1958), Hadisi Vivahaya (1959), Kawata Andare (1960), Jeewithe Pujawe (1961), Mangalika (1963) and Magul Poruwa (1967).
Aloy died on February 16, 1965 while making the film Magul Poruwa. It was completed by S. Ramanathan.
- "Jossie Baba, Manappuwa and the Negombo Minerva Players". Lakdiva. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
- Savarimutthu, Ranee (1977). On the Development of Sinhala Cinema, 1947-1967. Colombo, Sri Lanka: OCIC Sri Lanka.