Senali Fonseka may have been termed the quintessential star kid, the scion of Sinhala cinema’s first family, but she has proven that there is more to her than just being born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
After an eye opening debut in Somaratne Dissanayake’s 2013 ‘Siri Parakum’, she had grown from strength to strength proving that she is here to stay based not on her famously enviable surname but for her talent.
“Due to my university studies I had to stay away from acting but this is my final year and by midyear I can once again start doing what I love. I consider myself lucky because I have several good storylines waiting to start filming as soon as I return to Sri Lanka. So my well-wishers will be able to see me back on the screen soon,” promised the lass with the lovely locks and infectious smile.
Senali is currently studying BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science in Cambridge, UK.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learnt since you began acting?
A: Being under the guidance of such a talented director like Dr Somaratne Dissanayaka was a vast learning experience for me. The ‘Siri Parakum’ movie set was my school for acting as well as gathering life experiences. It was the first time I associated with so many people and since then, every day till now, I am learning something new about the life. (Smiles) Even if it is positive or negative I am a very optimistic person. I use such lessons to better myself.
Q: Are you choosy about the films/teledramas you take part in? What do they need to possess for you to give them the green light?
A: I personally don’t think any actor or actress has the luxury to be choosy if he or she loves acting. I want to learn something new and enjoy portraying the character as well as enjoy the time on the set. I like to be around happy faces who love what they do and never forget to laugh and be respectable. Therefore if the director has the enthusiasm and the story/script has the zeal, then that would be the green light from me to make a decision.
During the last few months I had many great offers but unfortunately, due to my studies, I had to give up those fabulous roles. (Sigh!)
Q: What is the best and worst thing about being Senali Fonseka?
A: Senali Fonseka is a sensitive girl who expresses her feelings openly when associating with people. Whoever enters her life, she thinks of them positively, accepting them with open arms and trusting them wholeheartedly. She thinks they are honest just like her.
However this is the worst thing about her as well. She gets into trouble because of this. She is blamed for things she has never done sometimes. (Breaks into a big smile) I think that is a part of life. I never believe in giving up one’s best qualities because of others’ flaws.
Q: Have you ever been compared to other celebrities?
A: I always get compared to my ‘Loku Nendi’, Malani Fonseka who is a legend in Sinhala cinema and is loved by the whole nation. It is a huge blessing for me to be able to grow up in such a family environment where there is so much of love for acting and art.
Nobody - not even I - can match up to my ‘Loku Nendi’s contribution to the film industry, her talent, beauty and compromises. I want her to feel proud of me always!
Q: If you can do a role in a remake of any Hollywood film, what would it be and whose character would you like to portray? Why?
A: There are many Hollywood movies which we can get inspired from but a remake will lose its originality as our cinema has its own individuality. If I had to choose it would be ‘Sound of Music’ and to play Maria’s role.
I am not a very big fan of Hollywood but after I watched this movie, I fell in love with it. This film has the perfect blend of the beauty and the warmth of the countryside, children and their emotions as well as love and romance. Maria’s character spreads love and affection to bring happiness to an ill-fated family. So I think that is a wonderful motive and a great character which I can use to make a difference in the movie scene.
Q: Who was your first crush?
A: My first love forever goes to my father because of the way he takes care of my mother. He is a perfect blend of intelligence and romance. My first crush is Uncle Vijay Kumaratunge. I was not lucky enough to meet him in real life. The first time I saw him was in the movie ‘Thushara’ and since then the respect and the love for his personality and humanness has grown day by day. (Blushes slightly) Even today I feel the sensation of butterflies whenever I see him on screen.
Q: Which Bollywood actor would you choose to be your co-star for a movie? Why?
A: My eternal wish is to act with Shahrukh Khan! He is renowned for his humane qualities and down to earth attitude. I feel that there will be a lot to learn from his personality as an individual as well as an actor. The romantic films he does make you fall in love with romance. As an immensely romantic person, it will be a cloud nine experience for me! (LOL)
Q: Can two contemporary actresses be friends?
A: As long as the actresses have the capability of appreciating each other and do not feel insecure, they can be friends. It will be a plus point for their success as well. Due to silly anxieties and jealousy friendships are ruined between equally talented actresses. Such situations spark the false impression that they cannot be friends. I have many contemporary actresses who are very dear friends of mine. I love them to bits!
Q: React in one word to the following
c) On screen kissing
d) Akila Dhanuddara
Q: Three tips on how to manage great tresses.
A: Except for the usual things like drinking lots of water, taking necessary vitamins and hair oil treatments, it is important to be confident about your beautiful hair. These days I have seen some young girls cutting off their beautiful, long, hair because they feel mortified of what others are saying. It is important to love yourself and try out whatever style you wish. Do not act according to other’s demand!
Q: Whose wardrobe would you like to possess?
A: I have my own kind of style which is a blend of glamorous, fun and stylish. I like to be inspired by many individuals and come up with my own style. I have met some talented dress designers who create beautiful dresses for me. Those go with my personality. If I can, I would love to possess ALL the ready-made dresses from our talented dress designers. (Bursts into a fit of giggles)
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: My smile and my capability of making others smile! (Flashes a huge smile) I have been told by many people that my smile makes them smile, even if they are going through a hard phase in life. I believe in spreading joy and love as those are the two important things you need to enjoy life. Life has many ups and downs but if you stay stuck at downs then you will never move forward. It may sound cliché but it is the truth. If you decide to greet everyone you meet with a sad face, you won’t do anything good for yourself or for the others.
Q: If you were a book, what genre of book would you be and what will the title be?
A: (Enthusiastically) ‘LIVE, LOVE AND LAUGH’ in romance genre. I value all these three words since they are the most important things you need for yourself and to create an impact to the world and humanity. LIVE as a good human being spreading kindness. LOVE others and yourself to spread peace. LAUGH not at others but with others to spread joy. Since one of my weaknesses is love, the genre of the book has to be a romance.
Q: Relationship status?
A: Love holds a very special place for me when it comes to any relationship. I believe if true and pure love exists between two individuals (without any hidden agendas) the rest of the qualities will fall into place. None of us are perfect human beings. We all have our weaknesses and differences and when two people come together in a relationship they should be honest and truthful to each other. Tackling any problems you face together is what creates a strong bond. I need a person in my life who will be with me to share my ups and downs. I don’t like the idea of flings or just having a relationship for fun. Therefore a serious relationship is my goal. I need someone who looks for the same in a relationship. If I am in a relationship, I hope it ends up in marriage. Therefore my soul mate should be the kind of guy who I will love greatly. I can give up anything for his happiness.
Q: What is your New Year resolution for 2016?
A: Nothing extreme. Just to be a better, stronger and hardworking person than I was yesterday. I have received so much love and support due to my acting so I hope in 2016 I will be able to return that love.
This is my final year at university and I will return to Sri Lanka soon. I have planned a lot of voluntary work from last year. Hopefully everything will work out well and I will finally get the chance to get involved in something special that I have always wanted to do.
Pictures by Suhardha Prabhash and XtreamYouth