Api Nodanna Live returns!        

By Promodh Gamage
Api Nodanna Live has today become the most watched television comedy programme in Sri Lanka. The unconventional style and the ability to capture the audience with a farcical experience that has never been enjoyed by the Sri Lankan audience have ensured the popularity that the programme has gained throughout the past few years. The Nation had a small tete-a tete with Apinodnna Live’s Podi Malli Chutti Malli (Gaminda Priyaviraj and Suneth Chtrananda)

Following are excerpts:
Q: What made you think of starting a programme like Api Nodanna Live?
Well, we started the programme five years back, at a time when Sirasa TV has been launching some programmes as the ‘Weekend TV.’ So we were invited by Nilendra Deshapriya to do something like Api Nodanna Live. Although Suneth and I have been working together in dubbing and other programmes, we never had our own show, so we thought of doing something that the audiences have rarely seen. This idea of stating a programme like this came when we were searching to do something unorthodox. We knew that this would be successful.

Q: In each episode, the ideas are different form one another. How do you two come up with fresh ideas for each episode?
All the ideas that are in the show are ours. What Suneth and I have been doing in the past, as well as in the present, is that we have used the farcical element which is created due to the shifting of the reality to another projected dimension by the television channels in our country, in our show. We have used that to the maximum. When we go through the daily papers and television, the incidents that we come across have been used in the show to create comedy.

Q: When we see the international media, there are TV programmes just like this. Have you taken ideas from those shows?
What I have said before is not suitable for every television viewer. I am not trying to condemn the audiences in any way but some people are there just to laugh. They do not understand the depth of it. So, for those people we have added regular jokes. We have adapted story plots from other channels but we have not copied them. We did that because we wanted the show to go to the mass audience.

Q: Why did Api Nodanna Live suddenly stop?
There is a reason for that. Some believe that this was due to some internal force that came from the Sirasa TV, but that is not the case. We decide to stop the programme at a time when people were really interested in it. This is why we have been able to start a new version of the show today.

Q: Why did you two think of starting the programme again?
We have been involved in different other work, so that is the reason that we were not able to do the programme. Anyway, we never had the intention of continuing the programme further. But we thought of starting it again due to the Sirasa TV’s and the audiences’ requests. From the reaction that we got for the first episode, we believe that we can do a better job this time as well.

Q: Why is it presented as seasons? Is it going to continue as seasons?
We did that just because of the new trend that is there. Just before the shooting started we decided to name the first episode as season 2. This is only for the first episode.

Q: How did you two come into the field?
We both came through Jathika Tharuna Sewa Sabawa (National Youth Council). We were doing a diploma in television media and that is when we two met for the first time. After that we did many dubbing like Sura Pappa and many others together. We have been friends even before we started doing Api Nodanna Live programme.

Q: Are you both in the programme?
We are certainly in the show, but the thing is that we are not the ones who are presenting the show. We only appear in only some clips and acts.

Q: What is the most memorable thing that happened to both of you?
There are a lot of unforgettable incidents on the set, as well as outside the set. People some time come and re-enact certain jokes in the programme. A man once came to me and said you look familiar, you come from Anuradhapura don’t you? I said no but he was claiming that he has seen me in Anuradhapura. I did not go to say I am the one who plays Chutti Malli in Api Nodanna Live. Such incidents have happened a lot.
- Pix by Nissanka Wijerathne