Dayananda Gunawardena

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Dayananda Gunawardena
Dayananda Gunawardena.jpg
Born (1934-10-15)15 October 1934
Sri Lanka
Died 24 June 1993(1993-06-24) (aged 58)
General Hospital, Colombo
Resting place Udugampola, Ehelagahahena
Nationality Sri Lankan
Other names Hettipathirannehelage Dayananda Gunawardena, 'Jubal'[1]
Education Government School - Udugampola,
Government Secondary School - Veyangoda,
Ananda College
Occupation playwright actor, lyricist, Sri Lankan dramatist, radio play producer, and writer
Spouse(s) Irangani Ranatunga
Children Chakrayuda Kirthi Gunawardena, Abhimangala Gunawardena & Wasanthapriya Gunawardena

Dayananda Gunawardena (Sinhala: දයානන්ද ගුනවර්ධන ) (15 October 1934 – 24 June 1993) was a Sri Lankan playwright, actor, lyricist, dramatist, radio play producer, and Sinhala Radio Play writer

Early life[edit]

sandeepa was born in pannipitiya in liyanagoda, where his father Don Simon was an English Teacher. He completed his schooling from the Government school, Ugampola (1943–46) and Government Secondary School, Veyngoda (1946–51). In 1951, he joined the Ananda College, Colombo. While at school, he was active in many societies such as the drama society and was the Junior Cadet Captain and served as the vice-president of the college geographic society. He was awarded the D. B. Jayatilleke Literary Award and the Amarasena Art Award (both in open categories) while studying at Ananda College. In 1957, he joined the University of Peradiniya and completed his General Arts Qualifying Examination (subjects taken: Sinhala, Geography and Economics). He married Irangani Ranatunga of Gampaha on 28 September 1967 and they had three children.[2]


Gundwardena's first notable play was Nari Bena (1961). It was based on a Sinhala folk-tale and was full of songs.Lionel Algama assisted to write Some of the memorable songs in this play - like Ahala malin gas pirila balanna hari lassanai and Kumatada sobaniye kandulu salanne. It became hugely popular and has continued to be staged for forty years.[3][4] His next play Bakmaha Akunu (1962) - based on the French drama The Marriage of Figaro - was made into a film. "Kaamare Pore" (1962) Produced as a single stage drama in Sinhala this is an adaptation of the Play 'Box and Cox' by the English playwright John Maddison Morton and It was first staged without any songs.[3] Gunawardena had produced sixteen plays, Particularly notable amongst them are Gajaman Puwatha (1975) and Madhura Javanika (1983).[1] He formed the Nalu Kirthi Sabha Theatre Group in the 1970s.[5] Gunawardena is credited with introducing docudramas to the Sinhala theatre and with showcasing the talent of Gajaman Nona, the Sinhala poet.[3] His Gajaman Puwatha (1976) was the first Sinhala play to adopt the docudrama style.[6] Another notable play of Gunawardana that is Madhura Javanika (Joyous Scenes).[1] This drama picks up the period of war between kings Rama and Ravana and noteworthy events in the country's history and the influence of the western invaders on Sri Lanka culture with dramatized chronicle of the 'Hingala'(Sinhala) people. It continues even in to modern times, where women seek employment in Dubai as housemaids. [1] In 2007, some of his plays were restaged in an attempt to raise funds for reviving public interest about his works.[5]

Institutions served[edit]

  • Producer – Programmes, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (1961–1989)
  • Director – Audio Research, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (1989–1990)
  • Director – English Service, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (1990–1992)

Training & Scholarship[edit]

  • 1957 - Moscow – International Student and Youth Festival
  • 1962 – Rumania – Sri Lankan Representative at the International Drama Federation and Study of Drama *in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Russia
  • 1966 – Awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship for Study of Radio and Television at BBC by Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation
  • 1978 – East Germany – Directing of "NariBena" under the Cultural Exchange Programme
  • 1979 – Yugoslavia – Sri Lankan Representative at the First Television Festival of the Non Aligned
  • 1991 – South Korea – Conducted a Research on "Buddhism and Korean Theatre" following a scholarship awarded by the South Korean International Cultural Foundation




  • Swarnathilaka– 1958 – Produced by Kegalu Vidyalaya Drama Society
  • Paraassa – 1959 – Staged by National Drama Circle
  • NariBena -1960 – First Production for Thurstan College Drama Society, 1961 – Second Production for Amateur Drama Society
  • Kamare Pore – 1960 – Adaptation from English Drama "Box and Cox"
  • Emathi Pattama– 1960 – Adaptation from the Bulgarian Drama "Golemanov"
  • Pinguththara– 1961 – Produced by the Sinhala Society of the University of Colombo
  • Bakmaha Akunu– 1963 – Adaptation of the French Drama "Marriage of Figaro" (Introduced the Revolving Stage to Sri Lanka for the first time)
  • Denna Depole– 1964 – Produced from Hemasiri Prewardhana’s script
  • Jasaya saha Lenchina– 1965 –
  • Jeevana Vanchawa hewath Ibikatta– 1965
  • Vikaraye Akaraya– 1967 – Produced for the Drama Festival of ‘Lassana’ Newspapers
  • Kabaye Habe– 1971
  • Padmawathi– 1974 – Produced along with Lakshman Jayakody after editing the original publication of Charles Dias
  • Gajaman Puwatha – 1975
  • Banku Natakaya - 1977 - Produced for the 10th Anniversary of the People’s Bank
  • Madhura Javanika– 1983 – Produced in association with Jones Overseas 1984 – Winner of Peace Award (Drama)
  • Ananda Jawanika– 1986 - Awarded Best Direction and Special Award for Script at the 1987 State Drama Festival. In addition, certificates awarded for Best Music, Stage Management and Acting.
  • Mathaka Bhaktha– 1990 – Produced on the invitation of the Police Sub Services Headquarters


Bakmaha Deege– 1969 (Following the Bakmaha Akunu Drama)

Performed films[edit]

Kurulu Bedda
Ran Salu
Wesathuru Siritha


  1. ^ a b c d "'Jubal' remembered with 'Madhura Javanika". Sunday Times. 9 July 2000. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "dayanandagunawardena's web". dayanandagunawardena dot org. 
  3. ^ a b c "Theatre Festival". sundaytimes. Retrieved 4 March 2007. 
  4. ^ "Stage play festival to commemorate Dayananda Gunawardena". Daily News. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Gajaman Puwatha". sundayobserver. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  6. ^ "Dayananda's Gajaman Puwatha to go on boards again". sinhalaya. Retrieved 4 October 2006. 

External links[edit]