Someone once stated that to dance is to be out of yourself: larger,
more beautiful and more powerful. Celebrated young artistes Dushyanth
Weeraman and Nilanthi Dias Karunaratne discovered this aspect in life
when they took part Sirasa TV's popular reality television show 'Sirasa
Dancing Stars' (SDS), which concluded its first season recently with
Weeraman being crowned winner. Sri Lanka's most famous celebrity couple
cum dancers reflected on their experiences and future plans to Daily
News Art & Soul.
Dushyanth Versatility the key to his conquest
He is not an outsider to the music world. Having lived under the
shadows of an older and successful sibling, he was looking for a break
to display his versatile talents. One fine day fortune came knocking at
his door and it was in the shape of something he never quite imagined
Looking back now how would you describe your experience on SDS?
It was a simply wonderful experience. (Smiles) It was an experience
which brought out that was so much within me. In the beginning I worried
over how I was going to be able to cope work with the dance routines.
I allocated time for both in the first three months but as the
competition approached a climax I dedicated myself to dancing towards
the latter period.
Do you feel that you have gained much out of taking part in the
Definitely. My popularity had ascended and it provided a boost to my
belief that I can entertain masses. People have recognised my skills as
Did your brother Santhush help out and advice you on how to overcome
He just told me to go ahead with what I had in mind. At one stage he
was a member of the jury so I was not allowed to confide in him. He was
out of the country touring for most of the time during the competition.
Tell us a bit about your dance partner, Hashini.
She is Hashini Gonagala. I got to know her through my cousin as
Hashini was one of her classmates. I have seen her dancing skills and
she was my first choice when we were informed that we had to find a
dance partner for the contest. However I hesitated to ask her because
she was just out of school.
I started off at the beginning with Gayani during my first round but
she had to leave the country as she got a job opportunity.
What was the most challenging round for you?
Each and every round was a challenge since something new was expected
from us. We each tried to do better than the other without knowing what
to expect from the other. The most difficult round for me was the
ballroom dance number. I have never done that type of dance in my life
and that was the only moment that
I used to leave the dance floor at other events. (Laughs) We
choreographed all the dances in our own particular style but we had to
get some help from Kevin Nugar for the ballroom dance item.
In the end all the hard work paid off as the jury gave me marks
beyond the limit that they were required to give. It was an exalting
The judges were required to choose a theme for us when we came to the
round that included the three semi-finalists. Since I performed the
ballroom dance well I was asked to present a Latin American dance. We
worked painstakingly hard to do justice to that particular dance number.
Which round was your personal favourite?
(Pause)....Oh boy that's a tough one... (Laughing). There are so many
wonderful moments but I'll have to say it is the finals since I was
asked to present two dance acts according to my choice of music and
Some of my fans like to see me do the Michael Jackson kind of dance
while others have informed me that they wish to see me doing different
styles of dance.
So I though I'll oblige both group's requests in the finals. I
presented a dance with a mixture of a variety of dance styles from
Hindi, Latino, Sihnala to an easy going free style.
That was a very colourful number. The other was a bit close to the MJ
Let's imagine that you are one of the members of the audience. Whom
would you have voted for the title of SDS?
(Thinking) Mmmm.... Honestly I think I would have voted for Dushyanth
Weeraman because he performed a variety of dance styles as well as kept
the audience entertained. His every dance had a little story to relate.
You have journey from the role of a singer to one of a dancer and now
we expect to see you take on the role of an actor.
I have always wanted to act in a movie but I did not think the
opportunity would come my way so soon.
I have been offered the lead role in Sirasa's upcoming movie and hope
to work on that. So let's say my transcend to the wide screen is
happening much more quickly than I imagined.
Is anything new coming up in your musical career?
I am working on an album which I hope to release at the end of the
year. We are all unique in our own way so I do not aim at making a
difference but doing the best for the particular song that I am working
I am also hoping to create my own dance troupe and tour with them in
my future live performances.
Nilanthi Dancing is in her blood
What do you have to
say to your fans?
My motto is before judging anybody, try to love the person. I hope my
fans will follow this lead.
Dancing has been one of the passions of her life. It is the driving
force which set her in the limelight when she broke into the world of
showbiz as a member of the troupe to rock the stage with the Gypsies'
popular track Pitikotapan Nonay.
Since then there had been no stopping her for she ventured from
dancing into acting. For Nilanthi Dias SDS provided a stage to bring out
what she was best at.
How is the response after SDS?
It's amazing. People stop me wherever I go and congratulate me. Their
response is very touching and I feel lucky to be in the centre of so
much love and affection.
You have commented that you were unable to perform at your best
during the finals. What happened?
The floor was much more slippery than we anticipated since it was a
different stage than the normal one we performed on in our previous
rounds. I was wearing high heels on one of my dance items so I had to
watch my steps.
What is your most unforgettable moment during SDS?
It was my comeback into the competition. When I was eliminated a lot
of people shared my distress. I did not imagine that I had such a large
I was informed that I had a chance of a comeback on Thursday at
around 7 p.m. Shooting was scheduled on Friday morning.
I called Nalin and we practiced all night. It was a race against time
for we had only a few hours to get the two dance acts together.
How did you come across your dancing partner, Nalin?
I have known him for around five years. He had taken part in some
outdoor performances with me. He is a friend and he supported me well in
the dance items.
Unlike most of the others who took part in the competition, you were
not new to dancing.
Every chapter in life provides a new experience. People got a glimpse
of what kind of person I am.
I was given a chance to showcase my dancing skills like never before.
Only those who were closely linked with the field knew my talent but
through SDS we were able to showcase out talent to millions of people.
What can we expect from you after SDS?
I did not sign for any new productions during the past few months
because I was very busy with the competition.
I have been invited to take part in the new film that will be
produced by Sirasa so that will be coming up in the future. I will also
continue to take part in outdoor performances as a dancer.
What is your message to the fans? I wish to express my gratitude to
all those who helped me and wished me success.
Many members representing the three forces helped me along with those
in the Sahane Doratuwa Church in Mattakuliya.
Moves to capture the heart
Dancers of Pathavi during rehearsals
The newly wedded couple's paradise becomes short-lived as Pathavi's
husband Kethu is royally summoned to be one among many to mend the Great
Wall. Pretty Pathavi spends the fresh days of marriage alone, and one
day she gets wind of disturbing news: Kethu is nowhere to be found.
When Chinese Emperors of yore were involved in the Great Wall
project, human labour is reported to have been regarded as least
Men had to work beyond their capacity. Some died on the spot and the
Wall was being erected upon them. Thousands and thousands sacrificed
their life to build the creation which is now considered as one of the
seven wonders of the world.
Pathavi comes to the workplace looking for her husband. She is in
hysterics since not even a single trace of her husband is left, save a
Pathavi has to face not only sorrow, but the anger of the brutal
Emperor who is sans humanity.
In the mean time, the Emperor gets to know of Pathavi's stunning
beauty, and desires to take her into his charge. Pathavi is too tactical
to handle the emperor.
She lays down her conditions: to have a golden coffin for her husband
and a royal funeral with the coffin escorted only by the royal members
as if they are attending a relative's funeral.
What would Pathavi do thereafter you will see at BMICH on August 15
at 6.30. Ranara Academy rejuvenates this legend in their Ballet Opera 'Pathavi'.
Thanuja Priyanthi Bandua, the adviser of the Ranara Academy, says
this will be a fresh experience for the local audience.
"This is a Chinese legend. Ballet, more or less, belongs to the West.
So we have made a mixed ballet opera employing Chinese, Western and
local dancing and music modes."
Ranara Academy is not a traditional dance school. Thanuja says they
have no firm financial hopes. However they want to invent; Pathavi and
it is their maiden effort. "The local audience is not familiar with
ballets and operas, unless you have a serious academic taste. We have
tried to make this as simple as possible."
The character is a challenge for Lasni Subasinghe, who stars as
Pathavi. "Pathavi is not just a pretty face. She has distinctive
qualities like chastity. She is a complicated character," Subasinghe
The cast includes 25 performers along with Gaya Ramya Alwis'
scripting debut. Alwis, well known for his directorial attempts, will
test his lyrical capacity with Pathavi.
Project coordinator Niranga Wijesuriya said that the academy does not
need a revolution. "We always think of an enlightened society rather
than a revolution. Our audience contains both intellectuals and
non-intellectuals. If you do a creative work, it should deliver the
message to both these groups.
If it reaches only one group, it's nothing but a flop. We think our
efforts will be fruitful on August 15."
Whether Pathavi will be an enlightening experience or not is best
left for the audience to judge.
Maiden teleplay production for Dhammika
Dammika with Sriyani and Jeevan
Picture by Palitha Gunasena
A distressed minister makes up his mind to leave for Japan and he
does not regret his decision, as he meets and gets involved in a
relationship with a girl settled in the country.
Things do not run smoothly however, when he becomes a victim of an
Completed with a record budget of Rs. 1,10,000, the teleplay is still
awaiting a title. Jeevan Kumaratunga and Oshadi Hewamadduma are all set
to star major roles in Dhammika Aluthgedara's latest tele creation.
The producer-actor, said his maiden work will be a fresh experience
for the local audience.
"I take on the role of a youth in Japan. Unfortunately the girl he is
interested in has fallen in love with the minister. He discovers it
later but due to his good nature he decides to help in her troubled
The play is shot in many beautiful locations in Japan and Sri Lanka."
Dhammika is employed at a job agency in Japan while his landscape and
spare parts businesses are handled in Sri Lanka.
"I met Sriyani Amarasena on one of her visits to Japan. We became
friends, and she invited me to produce her upcoming teleplay.
It was easy to work with her," he explained adding that he is still a
novice to art. He wishes to remain in the field for many years because
for his love for the subject.
"I wish to engage in at least producing one creation in the future
but there is much that I need to learn about the field.
I hope to return to my motherland and engage in this process," he
said with determination.
Ithin Eeta Passey
Sampath and Umayangana as Kalum and Dedunu
Sarathmadu’s popular picture story Ithin Eeta Passe which was loved
by many in the 1970s now takes form in the small screen as a tele drama
directed by Chandika Vijasena.
The story focuses on the romance between Kalum and Dedunu and the
obstacles they have to face in bringing their lives together. The
production stars Umayangana Wickramasinghe, Sampath Kumaratunge, Cletus
Mendis, Sanath Wimalasiri, Gihan Fernando, Sarath Kothalawala, Avanthi
Aponsu, Anula Bulathsinhala, Janith Wickramage, Susila Kottage, Alfred
Perera, Chandika Nanayakkara, Richard Manamudali, Sarath Dikkumbura,
Renuka Mapalagama, Jeewani Nirupa, Pumi Purasinghe, Shan Bandu
Weerasinghe, Udayangani Saman Kumari, Rehana Kaushali and Bianca Fonseka.
The production executives are Lalith Wasantha, Channa Jayanath and
Neel Rukman. The production coordination is by Sandun Rajakaruna while
the cameraman is Chandana Dharmapriya. The musical scores are by Rohana
Weerasinghe, background music by Shantha Jayalath Tisera and the lyrics
are by Channa Jayanath. Uresha Ravihari and Chamika Sirimanna will
contribute in vocals. Chamikara Bokaragoda is the art director while
Nishantha Priyadarshana is the editor.
Make up is by Narada Dhananji Thotagamuwa. Manjula Karunaratne is the
assistant director while the management factor is handled by Priyan
Pathirana and Maduranga Jagoda. Ithin Eeta Passe is produced by Upul
Jayasinghe on behalf of Nilwala Video Team and ITN.
The Ithin Eeta Passe team. Pictures by Palitha
Two books to be launched
S. Chandrasiri Dassanayake’s Surya Kanyava
will be launched at Dayawansa Jayakody Book Exhibition Hall, Colombo 10
on August 12 at 10 a.m. Surya Kanyava is the authentic Sinhala
translation of H. Rider Haggard’s historical novel “The Virgin of the
Sun”. The other literary works of the author include Zendave Siakaruva,
Jamaika Thanayama, Scarlet Pimpernell, Pragnave Diyaniya Ayesha, Amen
Deviyage Diyaniya, Sheeba Rejinage Muduva, Arunodaye Rejina and
Cleopatra. Surya Kanyava is published by Dayawansa Jayakody
Well known lyricist cum novelist Preethi Randeniya will launch her
second novel Chittanupassana at the National Library and Documentation
Service Center on August 16 at 4 p.m.
The newly edited second publication of her book written for children
Punchi Aachchi will also be launched at the event along with Alutha
Dathak Diyo, her latest chidren’s book.
Veteran film critic Gamini Weragama and emeritus professor Kusuma
Karunaratne will address the gathering. Randeniya’s first novel was
Mahagedara. Her second novel deals with a tragic tale.
The story reflects back on the past and is based on a real life
incident. She is the author of a number of popular children’s books and
had penned lyrics for more than 50 songs. Her aim is to continue her
career in writing in both streams.