An actor with an unrivalled voice | Sunday Observer

An actor with an unrivalled voice

20 June, 2021

The veteran artiste Thilak Kumara Rathnayake better known as “Kopi Kade Somadasa” unlike other actors and announcers, can be regarded as a brand name without which no musical show will be complete. Being an excelled artiste in many fields, his creative spirit evident in stage dramas, teledramas, films and announcing has been witnessed and praised by many.


Born on December 16, 1960 at Kolonnawa, Thilak Kumara Rathnayake had received his education from Terrence N. De Silva College and Alexandra College in Colombo. His longest odyssey as an actor and announcer, as pointed out by many, can fuel anyone’s enthusiasm in the arts. Undoubtedly the well-known fact is that behind every success is a great pillar.

It was late Nihal Karunarathna who had invited Thilak Kumara to perform in Vesak dramas based on jathaka stories. Young artiste Thilak Kumara could gain a popularity in the village by acting in Vesak dramas. In 1976, B. Sirithunga who had produced many films such as “Kanyawi” and “Porisadaya”, had given the young actor Thilak Kumara an opportunity to work as a prompter in his drama titled “Gini Kandu.” Afterwards, he could distinguish himself as a talented actor in a drama titled “Pathalaye Soldaduwa” directed by Jayasekara Aponsu. Surprisingly his exhilarating performance in the play enabled himself to win the award for the best supporting actor at the State Drama Festival. Thilak Kumara’s maiden performance in a teledrama titled “Sath Hiru Paya” is the most prominent. However, prior to “Sath Hiru Paya” the longest teledrama “Kopi Kade” was telecast.

Thilak Kumara’s vibrant performances can be witnessed in many stage plays, teledramas and films. “Ahasin Watunu Minissu” , “Deyyoth Danne Na” , “Ee Gawa Ge” , “Gini Kandu” , “Kalani Palama” , “ Malwadam Anawashyay” and “ Pathalaye Soldaduwa are some of them.” He acted in teledramas such as “Kopi kade” , “Boradiya Kandura”, “Ektam Ge “, “Gauven Gavva” ,” Rathu Ira” and “Sudu Anguru.” “Hallo Shyama” directed by M.S Anandan is the maiden cinema appearance in his journey as a film actor. We have witnessed Thilak Kumara’ s performances in many films such as, “Vijaya Kuweni”, “Sundarai Adare”, “Punaruthpaththiya”,” Deviyani Sathya Surakinna”, “Sinhayangeth Sinhaya” ,Kele Mal “, “ Karate Joe” , “Vasity Kella”, “Badulu Kochchiya”,” Pem Rajadahana”,” Vana Bambara” , “Obata Pamanai Adare” and “Salambak Handai “.

Thilak kumara has proven to be a director as well by directing two teledramas titled “Gimanaka Pawana “ and “Gauven Gauwa.”

Not only as a directeor and actor but also as a script writer, Thilak Kumara has captured our hearts by composing scripts for over 300 episodes in “Kopi kade” teledrama.

“Shanida Wasana”

Thilak Kumara Rathnayake’s creative spirit has enabled himself to excel as an announcer. Going down his memory lane, the veteran artiste Thilak Kumara told that the production manager of “Kopi Kade”, Ajith Jayawardana informed Thilak Kumara Rathnayake of the fact that Amaradasa Gunawardana is looking for an announcer for a lottery called “Shanida Wasana.” The surprising fact is that it was the very first day when “Shanida Wasana” was introduced to the Sri Lankans. The popularity he gained through the lottery program enabled him to become a popular announcer.

Thilak Kumara is a brand name without which no musical show will be complete.

He has established an unique identity as an announcer by making his contribution to the musical shows held in more than 40 countries such as Germany, America, England, Australia, Dubai, Italy, Cyprus, Arab, Japan and China. Thilak Kumara Rathnayaka had been invited by the musical show organizers in Dubai 38 times.

Thilak Kumara enriched by skills, as pointed out by many, has used his high pitched voice as a device to attract any large audience.

Significantly the most unique quality evident in his announcing style is the value he gives to any singer at musical shows regardless of their seniority. Perhaps that is why the name “Thilak Kumara” has been engraved in our hearts as a renowned announcer.

On October 24, 1994, when Gamini Dissanayake was addressing an election meeting at Thotalanga, a female suicide bomber of the LTTE had blown herself up. Thilak Kumara Rathnayake was announcing at the meeting. However as if by luck he had received no injuries.

“The people who spoke to me and laughed with me few minutes before the blast had fallen dead in front of my eyes.

Even now the dark shadows of the blast still haunt in my mind whenever a firework display starts to light up the night at musical shows,” he said.

Artistes’ fate

Thilak Kumara Rathnayake told the Sunday Observer that artistes have been helpless because of Covid-19. Many artistes who have dedicated their lives to please everyone’s hearts are found living from hand to mouth in the country.

Remembering his wife Anusha Lakmali and children, the veteran artiste Rathnayake said that they live a better life thanks to their children.

His elder son lives in America and younger son follows a degree course in Australia. Their daughter Tharushi Arya has done her G.C.E Advanced Level Examination.