‘My expectations as an actress are quite high’ - Dilhani
The girl-next-door radiance shines through the
screen with her chiseled features and glowing complexion. These coupled
with her acting prowess and diverse roles shot her to fame and kept her
apart from the rest as a versatile actress.
She donned romantic roles in Kula Geya, Mavila Penevi Roope, Chaya
Maya, Sudu Piruvata and Ekada Vehi, took on less glamorous roles in Kalu
Sudu Mal, Sudu Kalu Saha Alu and Sevundi while trying her hand at comedy
flicks like Jack and Jill, Pissu Double and Cheerio Holman. All this
moulded her into the all rounder she is today because for Dilhani
Asokamala Ekanayake, no character is too much of a challenge.
Dilhani Ekanayake. Picture by Tennyson Edirisinghe
Happy being a wife and mother now, Dilhani is now seen giving life to
dark-natured Anuladevi, wife of King Devanampiyatissa in Sanath
Abeysekara’s Mahindagamanaya, the movie which marked the 2600th
Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi celebrations in Sri Lanka and is still rolling in
the wide screen. The following are excerpts of an interview with the
With more than two decades of experience behind her Dilhani had not
found it difficult to fit into Anuladevi’s role. She is pitted against
seasoned actor Jeevan Kumaratunge in the film.
“The role was demanding. I had lots to do by the manner that she was
“That is the main reason why I accepted the role. Anuladevi had
become a topic of discussion,” she said.
This actress had given local cinema some of the best creations in the
industry from her starting point in Yasapalitha Nanayakkara’s Dedunnen
Samanaliyak to recent productions like Somaratne Dissanayake’s Bindu. An
actress who does not shy away from taking on different kinds of role, be
it the damsel in distress, the heroine that any man wishes to romance or
the revengeful vixen plotting to breeze her way into the hero’s heart,
Dilhani had tried it all with effect.
“Every role that I have done has been the best at that particular
point of time in my career. I do not believe in the fact that directors
did not make full use of my talents. Each role contributed to take me to
the place I have achieved today,” she quips adding that she has now
become far too picky as an actor.
With Jeevan Kumaratunge in Mahindagamanaya
“The problem is that my expectations as an actress are quite high and
I am not getting the kind of roles that I want to do. I am not
interested in doing the kind of roles that I am offered”, she says.
Marriage may have slowed her down and given prominence to household
matters but Dilhani states that she will always consider taking on
projects if they are up to her tastes. One thing she does not believe
in, however, is selecting winners through SMS via reality television
“I believe that truly talented person do not emerge through such
events. It is more of a popularity game than a hunt for aptitude. I have
seen gifted players being eliminated while those who are wealthy or have
means of gathering supporters and favours make it to the top. This has
disappointed me,” she explained on why a gifted dancer cum actress of
her calibre is not among the jury in the reality dance competitions
which are mushrooming on the mini screen.
She is one of the few in the industry who turned the tables on the
concept that marriage and motherhood casts a shadow over an actresses’
blooming career. Some of her key performances in films like Sudu Kalu
Saha Alu, Me Mage Sandai and Davala Doovili had been post marriage.
Reflecting on some of the films she had done she said that she
believed that she had contributed her best into each role that she had
essayed. She does not feel the need to turn back time and rethink on or
redo any of her actions.
“I have done teledramas like Meeduma and Sath Sanda Kirana. I do not
take part in lengthy teledramas as a policy. They are monotonous and it
is a bore to see the same people on screen everyday. They lack the depth
that I look for in creations,” she added while flashing an enchanting
Speaking about the new faces which join the screen each day she noted
that though the youngsters hold promise, they lack dedication.
“Acting is a time consuming profession. Most actors in the new
generation dabble many other jobs like TV presenting, singing or other
professions with acting. That is why they are unable to excel in the
field. Their interests wither. They are too distracted to stay focused,”
She will be seen in General Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara’s Gamani
and Tennyson Cooray’s Thank You Berty soon. Anuruddha Jayasinghe’s film
Dawala Doowili which won acclaim at the prestigious 38th International
Indian Film Festival in Goa, too is expected to be released in the
Seven lives battle with HIV
* Director: Sanjaya Nirmal
* Assistant director: Nishantha
* Director photography: Prabath Roshan
* Script: Sanjaya Nirmal and Yolanda Weerasinghe
* Music: Ranga Dassanayake
* Choreographer: Channa
* Production Manager: Harold
* Art director: Manjula
* Make up: Narada Dhananjaya and team
* Hair: Thushara
* Fashion Show choreographer: Lou-Ching Wong
We license people to drive a car. Similarly, do we license people to
live? That is a crucial question and one that Yolanda Weerasinghe had
addressed in her upcoming feature film about HIV/AIDS.
The movie aspires to stop discrimination, stigma and to prevent HIV
from spreading in Sri Lanka and around the globe.
Veena, Sachini and Chula
“I have been doing research on HIV/AIDS. It is not a disease.
HIV/AIDS is a serum blood count going low. You have to try not to let it
go down. You could get AIDS if you get TB, Cancer or Pneumonia. People
do not die of HIV/AIDS. They die from other diseases. I want to make a
note of that in this film,” said Weerasinghe.
Titled Seven Notes, the film is about fear and confusion, hope and
anger, joy, and the remarkable resilience that HIV+ people share. The
story is a testimony to people of great courage by elaborating on HIV.
There are seven characters in the film. It comprises a strong cast is
led by producer and actress Nita Fernando who plays Narmada Siriwardena,
a famous musician in Sri Lanka.
Narmada suddenly discovers she has HIV when she notices some patches
on her body. She confronts a doctor and they do a blood test. In her
battle between life and death she meets six characters all who have
Sachini and Nita
Pictures by Nissanka Wijeratne
They are Vihara played by Anusha Rajapakse, Nimanthi played by
Sachini Ayendra, Joe played by Danu Insinthamby, Padma played by Damitha
Abeyratne, Justin Weerakoon played by W Jayasiri and Anjali. All the
characters interact with each other. These are testimonies made into a
film. Many other characters played by Jeevan Kumaratunga, Veena Jayakody,
Sriyantha Mendis and Cletus Mendis play significant roles in Seven
“Standard Chartered Bank, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Asian Film
Location and Chandran Rutnam are behind the project. We got stuck half
way because HIV is a veiled topic in the country. Nobody likes to
address it in the open. Most of the actors are acting for free in the
film as an act of goodwill,” Weerasinghe explained.
Speaking about her character in the movie actress and producer Nita
Fernando said, “I have done a lot of research for my character. This is
an international issue in most countries. We need to create awareness in
the society so that many will be able to escape from it. People lack
knowledge as how to come out with it and deal with it. Narmada is a very
challenging character.” Shooting had already commenced. The director is
Sanjaya Nirmal of Rosa Kele fame. The film is set to be screened in Sri
Lanka as well as abroad.
Harry Potter 7 records
* Biggest opening weekend ever ($168.55m)
* Biggest single day ever ($92.1m)
* Biggest midnight gross ever ($43.5m)
* Biggest international weekend ever ($307m)
* Imax records - $15.5m domestically and $23.5m globally!\
It is nearly impossible to overstate the enormity of the momentous
box office achievement that took place last weekend. Warner Bros.
unleashed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 on the world.
A decade in the making, the movie event of the summer marks the end
of an era; as such it sparked a massive ticket buying frenzy at movie
theaters around the world. The final installment of the biggest movie
franchise of all-time broke numerous records.
Sanjay, Arshad back with Double Dhamaal
After having the audience in splits with 2007 hit film Dhamaal, the
comical five some of Riteish Deshmukh, Jaaved Jaffery, Arshad Warsi,
Ashish Chaudhary and Sanjay Dutt are returning with a double dose of
entertainment in the sequel Double Dhamaal.
Directed by Indra Kumar, the movie co-produced by Reliance
Entertainment and Maruti International, has new additions to the cast -
Kangana Ranaut and Mallika Sherawat. The story of Double Dhamaal starts
where it ended in Dhamaal, when they donate all the money that they had
acquired. The four good for nothing jokers - Roy (Riteish ), Manav (Jaaved),
Adi (Arshad) and Boman (Aashish Chowdhary) - still dream of a good life
where they would get everything without doing anything. Double Dhamaal
is screening at New Olympia theatre.
Nirmal’s next film: Aguana
Young director Nirmal Rajapaksa of Pitasakvala Abhirahasa fame will
begin work in his latest movie Aguana. The youngster who gave local
movie buffs a new 3D experience will base his new film on a youth who
had been dragged into another world swarming with terrifying creatures.
Aguana will comprise some of the latest 3D technology features. Many
senior actors will take part in the project. Nirmal and team are on the
hunt for new faces to play significant roles in the movie. They are on
the look out for new crew members too and are hoping to employ them full
time. Those who are interested in making a career in films are requested
to call 0772453178 or contact Cine Ru Youth Club, 374/5, Makola South,
Makola, for more details.
Dasgupta in Sri Lanka
The Asian Film Centre has organised a master class on film direction
in Colombo from September 11 to 17. World renowned Bengal based Indian
filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta will be the resource person of the training
Dasgupta has directed more than 30 feature films. He had bagged many
international awards at the Berlin International Film Festival and
Venice Film Festival.
A Dasgupta film festival will also take place from September 11 to 16
(omitting September 14) with his introduction to each film.
Priority will be given to people who are already engaged in the film
and television sectors while enrolling for the master class. Details can
be obtained by sending a self addressed envelope to Asian Film Centre,
118, Dehiwala Road, Boralesgamuwa 10290 or by e mailing