“Chase Your Dreams Until You Catch Them”
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage Ceylon Today Features
Radishan Yahathugoda is a youth who understands that passion and dedication can take you further than you can ever imagine, and is a prime example to anyone who says otherwise. Today, he’s a talented stage actor who has made a successful transition to film and digital media; all this achieved at the young age of 24 years. We had the pleasure of having a word with Radishan to learn more about his story and his secret to success. Gaining an education from Mahinda College in Galle, Radishan is currently a student at a leading private university in Sri Lanka, following a bachelor’s degree in IT, specialising in interactive media. He is also an IT executive for a leading media company. “Besides that, my main passion is in acting, directing, cinematography and everything related to that field,” he added.
Starting out young
“This passion began on the stage,” he continued, recounting the first time he climbed on to the stage to perform, at the tender age of five. Not receiving any formal education in the art of acting and drama, the stage was Radishan’s teacher, the audience, his examiner and each performance the exam. Growing up, Radishan was a natural at Shakespeare plays, participating in both inter-school competitions and local productions. Not only that, he was heavily involved in his school’s extra-curricular activities. In addition to his participation as a member of the school drama club, he was ViceCaptain of his school’s rugby team, a debater and he took part in many competitions in which he emerged a victor more often than not. Currently he’s the President of his university’s Art circle, a cultural hub where all forms of art collide under one community and provide creative productions.
As a university student, Radishan had many opportunities to showcase his creativity. In fact, it is in a university-wide drama competition – where original creations by students of the university are presented to a panel of industry-greats to judge – that he turned a few heads. “I entered the competition with one of my own creations,” Radishan narrated. “The concept, set design, directing, and costume designing were all done by me.” This competition had a total of nine awards for various achievements and his drama, Romance of Rome won six of the nine. Four of this six was an individual award to Radishan for best drama, best actor, best set and costume designer. It’s evident that Radishan’s production, Romance of Rome earned high praise from the judges and audiences member alike. In fact, we found out that Radishan’s achievement was a record that still remains unchallenged in the history of the said competition.
A turning point
“It was a turning point of my life, and was a big influence on why I decided to specialise my degree in interactive media.” Joyful for his success on the stage, Radishan’s eyes are now locked on to the camera with an aim of mastering the craft of moviemaking and acting in front of the camera, instead of a live audience. While his decision cost him more time and additional expenses, it unlocked a whole new spectrum of creativity for Radishan. Working under the tutelage of Palitha Silva, one of the greats in the industry, Radishan quickly honed his skills, thoroughly mastering every aspect of the craft.
It was time for Radishan to take the next big step. Auditioning for many productions, he managed to land roles in both; an upcoming feature film Midunu Wishwaya as well as an ongoing tele-drama Raanagala Walawwa, which is being telecast by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. Not just that, he has also begun creating short films of his own, even starting his own production company. He informed us that Babe, his first short movie is now available on YouTube. “We’ve already planned a few more short movies and web-series to be produced in the future, but things have been put on hold with the ongoing COVID-19 situation,” he said. His work was noticed even by other major YouTube channels. “I was given the opportunity to work as assistant director for Wasthi Productions in their latest video Aloka Upali, which will be released soon,” he said.
Although he has achieved much, Radishan shows no sign of slowing down. “Chasing after my dreams has always been something I’ve done in my life,” he explained. “I have a dream of becoming a quality actor on par with the international level, and I want to make that dream a reality.” He agrees that everyone wants to settle down and live a stable, comfortable life. However, he was quick to point out that true joy only comes from doing what you love. “Money is important, but this is my dream and passion, and I want to keep pursuing it. Doing so is a joy for me.” Radishan is also a firm believer that life isn’t served on a silver platter to anyone. “You have to work hard and smart to make your dream a reality,” he said. “I am where I am today because of my hard work. Not only that, but because I worked hard and worked smart. That is true for any goal in life.”
The heroes behind the curtains
Radishan has achieved much through his efforts, by tirelessly developing his capabilities and talent as an individual. However, during our conversation, he didn’t forget to mention the many heroes that supported him along the way, providing him with strength and encouragement. “I am where I am today because of my family and my school, because of the values instilled upon me in my childhood.” he explained. “I’m especially thankful for my parents – my father Y.B Jayantha and mother Nilmini Priyanthi – who believed in me and gave me the freedom to chase my dreams.” He also thanked his brother and friends who’ve always been by his side every step of the way, in good times and in bad. This freedom Radishan says, gave him the inspiration and determination to aim high and show to the world that they made the right decision, that the capacity, ability and potential his family saw in him were true. “It was their belief and trust in me that is key to whatever success I have today.” Recounting the aforementioned awards ceremony, he said “I can still remember seeing the joy in their eyes as I got onstage again and again, each time to collect another award. It was one of the best moments in my life.”
A message to you
“Do what you love and love what you do. Don’t be afraid to chase after your dreams. Have specific goals in your life and make plans to achieve them. Work hard and be smart to make your dreams a reality. Most of all, chase your dreams until you catch them. That is the key to joy, that money can never buy.”