ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, Octomber 15, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 20

He realised his dream of taking pictures

Ralex Ranasinghe

By Lenard Mahaarachchi

I was shocked to hear about Ralex’s somewhat sudden demise. We were thick chums, apart from being cousins. Along with his talented film star brother Tony we were also schoolmates both at Mutwal and Kotahena. Being neighbours, we were playmates too.

Ralex and I were altar servers at St. John’s, and he liked to have a neat cassock and a clean surplice and made sure that his hair was well groomed, even at the altar. Ralex was Ranasingha Hettiaratchige Mathew Alexander Silva, but like his brother, he changed his name.

Ralex died a few days after his birthday on September 21, the day of the feast of evangelist St. Mathew, his patron saint.

During schooldays Ralex showed glimpses of his artistic talents. He used to cut short stories from the “Janatha” paper, and paste them on to old exercise books. He was a Hindi film fan and adored Dilip Kumar the heart throb of millions in the sixties. He would buy film magazines like the “Filmfare” and “Screen”. He used to imitate Dilip and at times slapped his brother Tony the way Dilip did on the silver screen.Tony, however, was not interested in films those days and wasn’t amused and it eventually ended up in a quarrel between the two brothers.

Earlier Ralex was in the seminary and two people who influenced him later in life were Rev. Fr. Ernest Poruthota and Hector Welgampola.

At school, Ralex dreamt of being a film director and said he would name his film company “Ralex Productions”. The female Hindi star he liked most was Meena Kumari and he never missed a film of hers. In fact he was interested in a girl who resembled Meena Kumari. Ralex made it a point to travel on the same schoolbus as she did.

Once Ralex and I cut school to stand in the queue opposite the Regal, for more than five hours, to catch a glimpse of Nargis who was to come to that theatre that day.

On finishing school Ralex turned to photography. He started it as a hobby but photography became his career and he was employed as a photo journalist at the Independent Newspapers where he made a name with his unique photographs for the Weekend.

The last time I spoke to him he said he was doing a few commercials and recalled the old days. He wanted me to come over for a drink and chat, but I never had the occasion to accept the invitation.

Ralex is no more but he has left enough memories for posterity and no one will forget his contribution to art and photography.

May he rest in peace.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.