B. A. W. Jayamanne

Bernard Aloysius Wanniarachchi Jayamanne who was better known as B.A.W. Jayamanne (20 May 1908 – 16 February 1965) was a Sri Lankan playwright, director, producer and actor.[1] He played a major role in the making of the first Sinhala film Kadawunu Poronduwa in 1947; Jayamanne achieved a level of popularity as a director with movies starring Rukmani Devi and Eddie Jayamanne in the 1950s.

B.A.W. Jayamanne
Bernard Aloysius Wanniarachchi Jayamanne

(1908-05-02)May 2, 1908
Negombo, Sri Lanka
DiedFebruary 16, 1965(1965-02-16) (aged 56)
NationalitySri Lanka
OccupationPlaywright, Director, Producer, Actor
  • W. Don Thomas (father)
RelativesEddie Jayamanne (Brother) Rukmani Devi (Sister-in-Law)

Personal lifeEdit

Aloy was born on 2 May 1908 in Periyamulla, Negombo to W. Don Thomas, a teacher at Maris Stella College. He along with younger brother Eddie formed the Minerva theater group in the 1930s and achieved some fame running plays that depicted contemporary middle class and village situations in contrast to the Tower Hall plays popular at the time which featured archaic tales of Sri Lankan kings.[1] The Minerva dramas usually featured Rukmani Devi, Eddie and Jemini Kantha in the lead roles.[2]

Aloy died on February 16, 1965 while making the film Magul Poruwa. It was completed by S. Ramanathan.

Cinema careerEdit

Around 1947, Aloy was approached by South Indian producer S. M. Nayagam to turn his popular play Kadawunu Poronduwa into a movie. Nayagam had noted its popularity and concluded that it would be a fairly viable investment. Although having misgivings initially, Aloy relented and the film was produced and released to commercial success in April 1947.[3][1]

Aloy subsequently oversaw the adaption of a couple of his other plays before trying his hand at directing with Hadisi Vinischaya (with Mabel Blythe taking over for Jemini Kantha) in 1949. Due to the infancy of the film industry, BAW managed to dominate box office with minimal competition over the following years. Sangawunu Pilithura was released in 1951 and Umathu Wishwasaya in 1952.[3][1]

Aloy had one of his biggest hits with Kele Handa in 1953; it made Sri Lankan film history as the first direct literary adaption and introduced actress Rita Ratnayake. His subsequent films include Iranganie (1954), Mathabedaya (1955, introducing actress Ruby de Mel), Daiva Vipakaya (1956), Wanaliya (1958), Hadisi Vivahaya (1959), Kawata Andare (1960), Jeewithe Pujawe (1961), Mangalika (1963) and Magul Poruwa (1967).[3][1]


As an actorEdit

Year Film Acting role Other roles
1947 Kadawunu Poronduwa Samson Screenwriter
1948 Kapati Arakshakaya Elder father Screenwriter
1948 Weradunu Kurumanama Screenwriter
1949 Hadisi Vinischaya Siripala Screenwriter
1950 Peralena Iranama Screenwriter
1951 Sengawunu Pilithura Kusumalata's father Screenwriter
1954 Iranganie Ariyadasa Screenwriter
1955 Mathabhedaya Ralahamy
1956 Daiva Vipakaya Wiloris Batugoda

As a directorEdit

Year Film Other roles
1950 Hadisi Vinischaya Producer
1951 Sengawunu Pilithura
1952 Umathu Vishwasaya
1953 Kele Handa Producer
1954 Iranganie Producer
1955 Mathabhedaya Producer
1956 Daiva Vipakaya Producer
1958 Wana Liya
1969 Hadisi Vivahaya
1960 Kawata Andare Producer
1961 Jeewitha Poojawa
1963 Mangalika
1967 Magul Poruwa


  1. ^ a b c d e "Pioneer of Sinhala Cinema". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Jossie Baba, Manappuwa and the Negombo Minerva Players". Lakdiva. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Savarimutthu, Ranee (1977). On the Development of Sinhala Cinema, 1947-1967. Colombo, Sri Lanka: OCIC Sri Lanka.

External linksEdit