Wickrama Bogoda left us all on 15th January 2013. Born in 1940 in Kandy, he was educated at Dharmaraja, Anada and Dharamapala Colleges.
This talented actor is remembered by many for his memorable performance as Sugath in ‘Golu Hadawatha’ – Lester James Peries’ cinematic creation of Karunasena Jayalath’s novel which was very popular with teenagers. The scene in the 1968 production of Bogoda sharing a ‘veralu’ offered by Dammi, played poignantly by Anula Karunatilleka remains a classic shot of the young couple.
“He was a pleasant looking, average schoolboy playing the wounded young man. The very fact of his ‘ordinariness’ added a lot to what I would call ‘fidelity’ to that kind of relationship,” Lester says in ‘Lester by Lester’ referring to his selection of Bogoda to play the role of Sugath.
Five years earlier, Bogoda played Nanda’s brother Tissa in ‘Gamperaliya’. The scene of the young boy’s reaction as he enters the house on hearing of his Muhandiram father’s death is yet another of Bogoda’s classic pieces of acting that a filmgoer remembers. He then acted in ‘Delovak Atara’ (1966) and Lester didn’t forget him for the remaining two stories of Martin Wickremasinghe’s trilogy, ‘Kaliyugaya’ (1982) and ‘Yuganthaya’ (1983).
These roles proved Bogoda’s talent in whatever role he played – whether it be the schoolboy gradually moving to become a teenager in ‘Gamperaliya’ and mature adult in the others.
Bogoda really came into the limelight on stage with ‘Ape Kattiya’ proving what a talented actor he was. He was on par with stalwarts in the theatre in the 1960s like Tony Ranasinghe and G. W. Surendra. He played key characters in Sugathapala de Silva’s much-talked about plays, ‘Boarding Karayo’, ‘Tattu Geval’ and ‘Harima Badu Hayak’ and regularly appeared on stage in a series of popular dramas at the time including ‘Thuranga Sanniya’, ‘Sahan Eliya’,’Ranthodu’, ‘ Onna Babo Atinniya’, ‘Thaththa’, Premaranjit Tillekeratne’s ‘Vahalak Nethi Geyak’ and R.R.F. Samarakoon’s ‘Kelani Palama’. The list is impressive proving his versatility.
Bogoda did a steady job at Bank of Ceylon and preferred not to seek undue publicity for himself. He did his bit whether it be stage or screen and took a back seat.
We will always remember Bogoda for his quiet personality and talent