Lakshantha Abeynayake may be an unfamiliar name to us Sri Lankans; however, the Sri Lankan-born French actor is a veteran performer and household name amongst French television viewers.
Having starred as the fan favourite “Rudy” in the popular French television serial Les mystères de l’amour aka Love in Paris created by Jean-Luc Azoulay, and appearing in 275 episodes, Abeynayake has a considerable French fan base courtesy of his endearing performance in the role.
Reminiscing about his life here in Sri Lanka prior to his migration to France, Abeynayake shared that he was born to an ordinary family in Matara. However, despite having a great love of the arts, Sri Lanka simply had not presented the right circumstances or opportunities for him to pursue it in the way that he had hoped.
He said that due to a number of reasons, he was forced to migrate to France and, while he does indeed have the utmost respect and love for his home country, he really hasn’t looked back since he started his new life in France.
He said: “It was in France that I saw life, saw true love. Of course, France is an art gallery. As an artist in Sri Lanka, I never thought that my life, which was ruined due to unfortunate circumstances, would originate in France.”
Having carved out a life for himself in a foreign country, Abeynayake is now back in Sri Lanka in preparation of the release of his very first Sri Lankan film – Dusra – to be released in April 2022. He said that the film was written and directed by Channa Deshapriya and will co-star Sajitha Anthony. He said that he believes the film will be a “new experience” for Sri Lankan cinemagoers.
He said that while his career in France spans over 30 movies and more than 50 teledramas, he is still being introduced to the Sri Lankan audiences. Abeynayake shared that this film, Dusra, will be his official introduction into the Sri Lankan cinema scene. However, in the past, he has been involved in productions where he has collaborated with Sri Lankan artists.
He was part of the production titled Miles of a Dream released in 2013, written by Chinthana Dharmadasa and directed by Udaya Dharmawardhana, which also starred Indrachapa Liyanage.
He was also able to contribute to Paalitha Perera’s 2019 film Thaala which starred some Lankan heavyweights – Hemal Ranasinghe and Kalani Dodantenna – in lead roles along with Jayalath Manoratne and Kaushalya Fernando.
Abeynayake shared that he has not acquired French citizenship despite being a professional actor in France as his heart remains in Sri Lanka. “No matter how popular I get in France and how successful I am, I am still trying to make a name in Sri Lanka for myself and shine as an artist here in my motherland,” he said, adding that the reason why he has chosen to not acquire French citizenship is because he will always remain Sri Lankan and that when his time comes, he hopes to die as a Sri Lankan.