‘Mahathala Hatana’: ITN's
latest tale of Sri Lankan heroes
In the attempt to recreate the lives of the heroes of Sri Lankan history, following ‘Chakrauda’ and ‘Sura Saradiel’, the latest miniplay that comes in the series is 'Mahathala Hatana'.
The play is based on the 1848 uprising by Sri Lankans against the colonial rulers.
Kudapola Thera killed by the British, Weera Puran Appu and Gongalegoda Banda are the historical characters highlighted in this teledrama.
Based on Sarath Dharmasiri's screenplay which was mainly based on true historical stories, 'Mahathala Hatana' is directed by Anura Madhawa Jayasekera.
An intriguing historical narrative woven around the times of 1848 when the British ruled Ceylon, Mahathala Hatana was an uprising by ordinary village folk who were weary of being subject to the oppressive British governance. It was the first public uprising in the history or Sri Lanka.
A catalyst for the uprising was the Venerable Kandapola Thera who was taken to the courts of war and was sentenced to death by the ruthless Governor Torrington for encouraging an uprising against colonial rule. The monk died in the historic city of Kandy facing a firing squad.
The news of the execution spread like wildfire; aristocracy, generals and the public were enraged by the senseless murder of a Buddhist monk under the pretence of justified execution. The news travels to England as well and becomes a hot topic amongst parliamentarians who propose that the governor be ousted for his grave misdemeanour.
The state of ruin and lawlessness of the country is discussed in the Dambulla temple. The heavy and unreasonable taxes levied, the sole ownership of the sacred tooth relic being in the hands of the British and the general distaste towards British rule and their lack of respect for the national religion and weak representation of Buddhism in governance sparks an uprising amongst the civil community.
Dingi Rala a prominent character in the epic becomes a powerful force for the British to reckon with as he finds companionship in Gongalegoda Banda and Weera Puran Appu, two free spirited rebels who are engaged in mobilising the masses to declare war against the colonialists.
In the stellar cast Palitha as Weera Puran Appu, Milinda Perera as Gongalegoda Banda, G. R. Perera as Palama Kumbura Basnayake, Senaka Wijesinghe as Ranna and Anton Cooray as Dingi Rala lead the main roles in 'Mahathala Hatana'. The other main roles are played by Buddhadasa Vithanachchi, Nilanthi Wijesinghe, Anula Karunathilaka, Kanchana Mendis, Nalin Pradeep Udawela, Prasannajith Abeysuriya, Athula Liyanage, Malinda Perera, Lalith Rajapaksa, Sarath Dikkumbura, Udayanthi Kulathunga, Gamini Jayalath, Dayasiri Hettiarachchi, T.B. Ekanayake, Jayalal Rohana, Lakshman Fernando, Chris Harris, Gnananga Gunawardana, Tissa Bandaranayake.
Producer: Ravindra Guruge (TVT).Camera by Janaka Chaminda, art director -Patrick David, make up by Narada Dhananji Thotagamuwa and the production manager is Nishantha Padmakumara.
The teledrama's main sponsor is Swadeshi Industrial Works Ltd., the pioneer and market leader in herbal soap manufacture in the country.
Besides 'Saradiel' Swadeshi has previously sponsored 'Bopath Sakkiya' by Sathischandra Edirisinghe, 'Ambu Daruwo' by Sudath Rohana, the popular 'Diyaketa Pahana' by Asoka Handagama and 'Utuwan Kande Saradiel' by Sudath Rohana.