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Innovators in the making

Director Senesh speaks about Sri Lanka’s first reality show initiated by a school:

Picture by Mahinda Vithanachchi

Modified cot sheet presented by Gampaha Shashi

You need not be a genius to come out with innovative and creative ideas. Throughout history man had been seeking knowledge and pursuing means of trying to find creations. The human mind is in the habit of wandering into uncharted territories and returning with a fragment of an idea that can be sown and grown to take form into a unique creation.

However the avenues available for these divergent thinkers to express their ideas are very limited and the costs associated in letting these ideas take shape are high so that many fear to risk putting them into practise.

Taking these issues into consideration the Nalanda Junior Old Boys Association brings forth ‘Innovator’ 08’ the reality television programme which is in search of individuals with new scientific concepts. Trend-setting young director, Senesh Dissanayake Bandara, who made his mark as the best director at this year’s Raigam and Sumathi Tele Awards, produces the programme.

“‘Innovator’ 08’ is part of the annual educational and career exhibition, ‘Future Minds’ initiated by the college. The project is carried out under Ravi Ahangama,” Senesh explained.

The concept of the programme was developed in March and towards the end of April the pre-planning and pre-production took shape.

 New plastering mixture for walls by Kosgoda Gunadasa

Shooting began at the school’s Malalasekara Auditorium on Sundays.

“It was one of the largest and well-equipped auditoriums owned by a school in Colombo.

It caught fire in 2006 and was partly destroyed. We feel that it is our duty to help refurbish it. We need around Rs. 700 lakhs for this. We are hoping to raise that amount through the exhibition,” he said.

According to Dissanayake it was partly his alma mater that brought him to the position he occupies today.

“Our school had a Drama society and I was an active member.

I have rehearsed and acted on that stage. I consider it an honour to be able to pay a certain kind of tribute to such a place,” he expressed adding that all the Nalandians take part in ‘Innovator ‘08’ voluntarily.

“It had not been an easy task especially because we had less at hand and there have been instances when we faced difficulties and had misunderstandings but we were motivated to a better job as each episode passes by,” he said.

Though there are many genres of reality shows around the world and some of them are aimed at bringing forth new creations ‘Innovator’ 08’ is constructed to suit the Sri Lankan context. The products focus on issues related to our lifestyle or environment.

Innovative way to seal tea bags by Hiniduma Antony

“Since the programme is based on knowledge and new inventions it is not an easy task.

We had only around 840 applications. We chose 100 applications and cut it down further to 50. The nine contestants who were presented at the show were elected with care after studying their products and speculating if what they have in mind is possible,” Senesh said.

A jury comprises Dr. Chandana Jayaratne, lecturer at the University of Colombo, Dr. Lanka Udawatte and Dr. Rohan Munasinghe, both lecturers of the University of Moratuwa.

Dr. Prabath Karunanayake is in charge of examining the products and seeing how they function.

Each week a contestant will be eliminated and this will take place by counting the SMS votes of the viewers. The person who receives the least SMS votes will have to step down from the stage.

“What we do is bring hidden talents to light.

The society should accept the person and his or her invention. Some may even possess the ability to put this product to good use.

They can provide these inventors with scholarships and train them on the subject. They can purchase the product at a reasonable price and bring it to international notice,” he said pointing out that though the people lack resources and knowledge, they are capable of thinking and putting things to practise.

‘Innovator’ 08’ is telecast every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Rupavahini and the grand final will be held tomorrow.

The winner will be receiving a trophy and cash prize. A theme song sung by veteran vocalists and vocalists of the younger generation will be revealed at the final.

“This is the first time that an individual body got together to produce a reality show.

All the other reality programmes are done by television stations,” Senesh said adding that the Nalandians are hoping to hold the programme each year. ‘Innovator’ 08’ is sponsored by Ceylon Biscuits Ltd.

From thoughts to canvas

Majestic - emerging from the wild

Ancient Dagaba

 Tea plantation

There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the Sun - Anon

Children have an endless well of creative energy. It shows up in the whimsical lyrics they sing, their imaginative play and in their innate ability to make something out of anything. Kumari de Alwis had skilfully brought out these talents of her students from thoughts to canvas.

‘A Brush with Art V’ an exhibition of paintings by Kumari’s students will take place at the Lionel Wendt Gallery on June 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A product of St. Bridget’s Convent, de Alwis had shown her flair for art during her school days. Her passion for music persuaded her find a job as a music teacher but she did not lose touch with art. She studied painting under Mudliyar A.C.G.S. Amarasekera and started off her career as an art teacher and an assistant teacher at the Amarasekera School of Art before migrating to Pakistan.

De Alwis’ career as an artist and teacher came about during her stay in Karachchi, where she taught art and music at St. Patrick’s Primary School. In Germany she involved herself in the reproductive work of paintings at the Art Gallery in Frankfurt.

She was also able to find a market for her own work and she sold several paintings to buyers in UK while continuing her teaching career at New Castle Christian School, Germany.

Over the past 20 years Kumari had been inspiring the young and old to pick up a paint brush, sketch pad or palette knife. She had nurtured the minds of children and adults into going wild with their imagination to produce collections of beautiful paintings. ‘A Brush with Art V’ held by Kumari’s students will comprise paintings in water colours, pastels, charcoal and oils.

Ranjana Chathuranga:

Dancer with a patriotic pulse

Picture by Palitha Gunasena

Many Holy Scriptures explain it as the dancing of celestial performers. Bharatha Natyam is said to be the mystic creation of metaphysical elements in the human body. To learn and get the feel of it, you should devote your whole life. Shashipriya Ranjana Chathuranga has dedicated his life to Bharata Natyam.

The best way to describe him would be a dancer with a patriotic pulse. Chathuranga has tried his best to support the defence cause in the country; he once donated Rs. 80,000 to the State defence fund from a dancing show.

This patriotic dancer hailing from Kegalle, became passionate with dancing at 14, when he had to select an aesthetic subject at school.

“I learnt the art of Bharatha Natyam under Chudamani Wasantha Kumari Suriyakumaran at school and later under Basil Mihiripenne.”

Chathuranga in a striking dance pose.

At 18 he received a scholarship to India to study Bharatha Natyam further. He joined Kalaksehthralaya in Chennai. Having studied the art of dance for about four years, he is now back to his motherland to share his skills with the younger generation. His classes are being held throughout the country.

He is the Director of Bharatha Nruthya Rangana Kala Nikethan in his hometown, Kegalle.

Among Chathuranga’s upcoming programmes is ‘Tharuwak Samaga Tharu reyak’ tentatively scheduled to be held in December with no date set yet. The programme is aimed at raising funds for the Forces.

“These days, I am looking for the young crowd skilled in other dancing forms to teach them Bharatha Natyam.

It is easier when you know at least one dancing style.”

Chathuranga’s belief is that there is no shortcut to perfect the subject. Every subject has to be learnt through hardships of constant practice.

“There is no other way for you to achieve perfection. Most of the present day generation take only a little time to study, and get into dancing by hook or by crook. This is not a good trend. This is not good for dancing as an art.”

In addition to Bharatha Natyam, Chathuranga is also well-versed in free style and ballet.

He believes other styles of dancing should also be learnt.

“You should know how to control and gain influence from each style to form an independent dancing method,” he stressed.

High glamour at:

Sumathi Tele Awards

Out of all the awards ceremonies focusing on the small screen there is no doubt that the ‘Sumathi Tele Awards’ is one of the most looked forward to events of the year.

Many speculated on who will walk away with which award and many more voted for their favourites to be crowned as the most popular artistes of the year. Here we bring to you some of the highlights of the glittery event which marked its 13th successful year on June 14.

Roger Senaviratne, Chandani Senavirathe (Best actor and actress) Manjula Kumari and Roshan Ranawana (Most popular actor and actress) Pictures by Tennyson Edirisinghe

Senesh Dissanayake Bandara receives the award for best director

Saliya Sathyajith, Roshan Ranawana and Dushyantha Weearman entertain the crowd


Apahu Harenna Behe at Negombo and at Elphinstone

Award winning contemporary playwright and director Rajitha Dissanayake’s most recent theatre endeavour Apahu Harenna Behe (No Return) will be staged on June 28 at the Negombo, Rukmanidevi Theatre and at the Ehphistone Theatre on July 2 at 3.30 pm. and 6.45 p.m.

As one man vows to do everything in his power to achieve supremacy another fights to preserve his higher purpose in life. The fate of the men and women you meet in this piece of theatre will at times be optimistic and at times be frightfully daunting.

A production by the Freedom Theatre Group, the cast of “No Return” comprises Saumya Liyanage, W. Jayasiri, Jayani Senanayake, Prasad Sooriyarachchi, Darmapriya Dias, Bimal Jayakodi, Shyam Fernando and Anasuya Subasinghe.

Two books to be launched

Senior journalist Wimalasena Ihalagama will latest historical work “Veera Puranappu will be launched at the Dharmayathanaya (opposite the BMICH), Colombo 7 on July 4 at 4 p.m. Ven. Elle Gunawansa, Viharadhipathi of Dharmayathanaya will preside over the launching ceremony. Kalasuri Edwin Ariyadasa will deliver the keynote address.

Nopenena Lowa Athbootha Katha, the latest novel written by senior journalist, Wimalasiri Agalakada will be launched at Mahagamasekara College audatorium, Randavana, on June 28 at 2.30 p.m.

The book is a compilation of a series of exciting, strange events. Veteran novelist K. Jayatileke will address the gathering while Dr. Chandradasa Sooriyarachchi, lecturer of the University of Kelaniya, Ven. Tharane Dammaratana thera and Minister of Cultural Affairs, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena will make speeches.

British Gurkha Band here

The Gurkha Band entertaining guests at Galle Face Hotel.

To mark the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, which fell on Monday, the Gurkha Band from Nepalese Army, which is now a part of the British Army, arrived in Sri Lanka to entertain guests at Galle Face Hotel.

VIPs distinguished invitees and guests at the Galle Face Hotel were treated to an evening of scintillating music when the Guruka Band went around the hotel performing, to the delight of guests. To portray the spirit and character of the Gurkha soldier, which is now a part of the British Army, the Gurkha Band was formed many years ago.

This is the first time that the Gurkha Band has performed in Sri Lanka.



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