Source : dailymirror
The passing away of artiste Jackson Anthony (65) not only leaves a void for such a character in the film industry, it also makes us delve into his life and times to study areas about this giant of a man we might not have fully understood.
Thursday (October 12) morning’s show on Sirasa television titled ‘Jeevithayata Idadenna’ was dedicated to him and even the special invitees to the panel discussion -Jayantha Chandrasiri, Kamal Addararachchi, Sriantha Mendis and Anoja Weerasinghe -underscored the fact that the late film icon was larger than life and very few would have really absorbed his character, his contributions to the cinema and his involvement in the entertainment industry. Chandrasiri underscored the fact that Jackson belonged in another league in comparison to other actors in his generation and added that he could be termed as one of the best actors in South Asian cinema. Many who spoke at this morning show compared him with maestros like Martin Wickremesinghe and Khemadasa; generating the thought that there is huge scope to do more research on this personality.
The beauty in cinema is that even after the demise of an artiste his work in films will live on. On Thursday, his remains were laid to rest in Ragama. His memories will remain etched in the hearts of cinema lovers till we hear of a male actor- good enough- who’ll surface and carry his legacy forward. His two sons -Sajitha and Akila- are already established actors, but there is a saying in Sinhalese that there is no chance for small trees to grow under big trees. Jackson was that big tree. With all respect to his two sons’ achievements in cinema, Jackson was a towering figure and replacing him is ‘unthinkable’.
Even his death is associated with the cinema because on that sad day- July 2, 2022- he was returning after film shooting when he met with an accident. He breathed his last on October 9.
Despite all his achievements in cinema he kept going with the same burning desire for productions. This desire to continue his association with cinema was probably because of his love for people. It was revealed at Thursday’s morning show that Jackson had cultivated qualities like love, compassion, affection and most importantly the quality that makes one feel happy when others do well; which Buddhists call Muditha. As much as he had a history in arts, he also had a history running deep when it came to social connections with people. There had been quite a few occasions when he had told his colleagues in the cinema during awards presentations that someone else short-listed for the same award should have won. He could not hide his love for people and had a genuine interest in their well-being.
He was an actor, director, painter, teacher announcer and handyman; especially when the industry or the crew in a film encountered a problem. He probably saw the solution before others when tackling a problem related to cinema because he had a relaxed attitude to life and remained a simple man. When individuals started attacking him on social or mainstream media late in his life, he would tell his close associates, “My skin is hard because I have come through the mill and nothing can put me down. Let them attack me”.
Much of his talked about films Aba, Paradeesiya, Address Nehe, and Juliet’s Role and tele series like Kadulla, Akala Sandya and Pitagamkarayo dotted his Acting career. He was bestowed with the Best Actor’s award on six occasions.
Jackson was well-educated and obtained degrees in Sinhala and mass media from local universities. Unlike his colleagues, he was never known to have done an official study of acting or cinema. But his colleagues in the industry point out that Jackson had ‘something’ that they didn’t pick up under the label of professional studies in acting. As Anoja Weerasinghe pointed out “He was too heavy for Sri Lankans who were following him”.
Finally, the curtains have fallen softly on him. Go well Jackson; the cinema will have to learn to go without you, even if it’s hard as losing a parent.