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Monday, 25 July 2011






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‘My expectations as an actress are quite high’ - Dilhani Ekanayake

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 actress.

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 portrayed.

“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 shows.

“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.

As Anuladevi

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 smile. .

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 noted.

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 future.

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 AIDS.

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 Notes.

“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

Nirmal Rajapaksa

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 programme.

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 [email protected]


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