Robin Fernando- much acclaimed action hero

robin.jpg (12056 bytes)by Sanjeevi Jayasuriya
The Sri Lankan film industry is in the doldrums and it is difficult to revive it. Soon it will become a faded memory, says Robin Fernando one time much acclaimed action actor in an interview with the ‘Sunday Island’.

A veteran actor with 40 years experience in the silver screen whose performances are well remembered and etched in the memory of the audiences said, "My chequered career in the film industry started because I thought I had a lot to offer to the Sri Lankan film industry which is now in the doldrums. It is difficult to revive it," said Robin Fernando reminiscing.

Recalling his past he said "At the early stage the industry had no place for action films and the industry passed through many trial and tribulations. Soon the world cinema was changing and Sri Lanka had to follow the rest of the world if we were to survive. This was the turning point towards our destruction".

"Film makers did not offer what the masses wanted. Instead they produced films which were failures badly affecting the film artistes and the industry.

"Soon the industry opted for sex films. But our viewers did not ask for them but this was done basically for the love of money. Our ethos and culture do not approve films that is against our culture.

I have taken a firm stand throughout my acting career not to act in films under the ‘adults only’ tag. I have lost count of the number of films I have performed. ‘Chandiya’, ‘Siripala Saha Ranmenika’, ‘Hara Lakshaya’, ‘Hadawath Nethi Minissu’, ‘Hasti Wiyaruwa’ are few of them that I remember".

There are a few films to Robin’s credit that are remarkable ‘Sura Duthiyo’, ‘Ninja Sri Lanka’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels’ are some of the films that displayed his versatility. Then films were mainly based on drug trafficking, smuggling and on social trends prevailing in the country.

"Our film industry cannot compete with foreign films, price and their quality. Recent trends indicate there is a powerful force attempting to destroy our film industry.

Now it is a struggle for artistes to survive. The loan facility provided by the National Film Corporation has been misused. From the industry’s point of view, it has not produced the expected results. Though, the present Chairman is trying hard to make a difference, his genuine efforts are not sincerely supported by others to carry forward. If we had a chairman of his calibre 20 years ago, we would have been well ahead in the world’s film industry.

Our viewers need artistic films but we have a dearth of then. I think I was born at the wrong time and place. After being in the film industry for nearly four decades now I am about to retire. But when you feel that the masses want you, retirement won’t be easy.

At the moment I am involved in producing detective series in the small screen. Apart from films, I have also acted in over eight teledramas such as ‘Wassane Hiru Ewidin’, ‘Hangi Muttan’, ‘Paradisaya’, ‘Himarathriya’ and ‘Bogala Saundiris’.

As one of our veteran actors, Robin feels for the film industry. He firmly believes that its future is bleak unless action is taken for its recovery.