TV Guide Magazine
singer to the fore
By Harshani Weerarathne
The grand finale of the ‘Derana Dreamstar’ phase 11 ended on
Saturday April 24 night at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.
It was a night of song, dance and music with three
contestants lining up. Nimesh Chamika, Upeka Nirmani and
Udesh Manoj and one to be chosen winner. It was a night set
for winning. And the winner was Upeka Nirmani out of Negombo
coming from a family of artistes. We spoke with her
regarding her victory. Following is the dialogue that took
Q: What was the feeling in your heart when the victory
shout rang “The winner of the Derana Dreamstar crown is
A: When I heard ‘Amila aiya’ call out my name as the
winner my thoughts were is it really my name that is being
called out! I just could not believe it! In my happiness I
started to yell as well! I simply cannot explain the
happiness this victory brought me! My feelings at that
moment cannot be brought out in words! Next morning it was
as if I got up from a deep sleep seeing a wonderful dream.
Q: Your father is a well known singer known to the
public as ‘Jolly Seeya’, if someone were to say his
popularity was responsible for your being voted in as winner
of Derana Dreamstar?
A: Knowing the possibility of such things I told Derana
early enough that viewers should not be told about who my
father was. I had ruled my father, that though he knew
Athula Adhikari and the other artistes in the musical set
up, he was not to be seen talking to them on the premises
during the period of the contest. But finally they all found
out that I was the daughter of ‘Jolly Seeya’. And that might
have been disadvantageous to me because viewers may have
felt they should give others consideration. I kept going
with singing challenging songs and please the audience
rather than depend on my father’s influence throughout the
contest. The viewers saw I had talent and did justice to me
and I will not be wrong in saying that.
Q: How were your parents backing you to become the
A: My father on hearing I had entered the Dreamstar
contest told me ‘you have to be unassuming getting into such
competitions and win, be cautious of your future as a
female’. He also said ‘be ready to accept defeat as well as
victory’. Both my mother and father encouraged me
throughout. And their blessings were responsible for this
Q: What sort of acceptance was given by the people of
Negombo over your being chosen winner of ‘Dreamstar’?
A: There was a big ‘Tamasha’ planned by the people of
Negombo. There were celebrations with a musical show. After
winning, it was not only people of Negombo but from other
areas of Sri Lanka people called in to wish me some of the
calls I could not oblige with and I take this moment to
thank them all and pledge my sorrow for being unable to
thank them personally.
Q: Entering the final phase of the ‘Dreamstar’ were
you confident of winning that Upeka will wear the crown?
A: No not at all. If I had hopes of winning the contest
I might have not won. When I got chosen for the final three
I had the backing of fans there was always the possibility
for that to change. So there was no hope at all.
Q: What did you get for becoming ‘Derana Dreamstar’?
A: I got Rs.10 lakhs in cash, a car valued at Rs.25
lakhs, another Rs.1 lakh, one year’s facility to get make up
services from Nature’s Secret and a land in the Galle area
valued at Rs.10 lakhs. And other prizes in addition.
Q: These reality shows rarely have female winners,
what do you feel about a female winning this time?
A: I am very happy. Many are of the opinion that females
lack effort in such challenges. With my victory that thought
can be put aside today and I am pleased with that. How the
contestant is in control of the stage, how the contestant
performs singing and fitness are what gets the audience to
appreciate the contestants’ presentation. I had that
strength. Beating 10,000 contestants and winning it makes me
very proud as a female. Proving that female contestants can
also perform and be winners brings me more joy.
Q: With your father being a famous artiste what made
Upeka become part of the entertainment world?
A: I had the chance to get into music with the influence
of my father. I had other ideas of doing my own thing to win
over fans and I thought this would be a great opportunity.
“Dreamstar” gives those who want to make it the break. This
made me think of taking that chance to build up my
popularity and with it a following. I must mention here that
the experience we got and the training we had is priceless.
That was the reason for me to choose to get on stage with ‘Dreamstar’.
Q: Super Stars born out of these contests fade away
from the music scene soon. Will it happen to you too?
A: No way. The people voted me in as their choice to win
the contest and I will not let that happen. I will always
give them loving, tender and enjoyable creations they will
appreciate from their hearts to remain with them as long as
they want me to. I wish to tell my fans that I will
safeguard the prized possession they have given me. I will
always do my best to remain a shining star in this field
rather than being a fading star.
Q: Your father is considered a one theme singer, will
it happen to you?
A: Although my father is a versatile singer, his fans
appreciate his singular theme therefore he remains with it.
I am an adaptable singer and will use my resourcefulness and
not remain a one theme songstress.
Q: Let us hear about your days?
A: I had my primary education from Thimbirigaskatuwa
Maha Vidyalaya Negombo. Later I entered Newstead Balika Maha
Vidyalaya and will do my A’ levels in the Arts medium.
Q: Let us talk about those who were behind your
victory, there would have been many?
A: I would like to especially mention about the Chairman
of Derana and the staff. Then I would like to thank my fans
who voted me in by way of SMS since the final 48 were chosen
and the panel of judges. Mention also must be made of my
family members who were my strength and not only my
relatives but the whole of my village must be thanked.
Q: The viewers might be happy to know about your
A: My mother Umanga Jayasiri is a housewife. My father
Chandra de Silva is a singer. My eldest sister Uthsala
Madushankani is married. I must make mention of her husband
Dinesh Milanka. He helped me immensely with the competition.
Chamathka Chaturangani my other elder sister is nineteen
years old and she has studied for A ‘levels in Science and
continues her higher education. We reside in Katiyala
Demanhandiya village in Negombo.
Pix by Rukshan Abeywansha
Tale of two families
By Pradeep Nishantha
The ancient house which gives a prestigious
antique look is the Gradwin Udurawana’s ancestral house of
birth. He lived as a planter and was a landlord of ample
property. The house was named as the Soldaragedara which is
located at a semi urban environment which is full of good
luck and is honoured by numbers.
Kingsley Udurawana, the present breadwinner of the family is
Gradwin Udurawana’s eldest son. He is a retired government
servant. He is sympathising with himself for loosing out on
his properties and valuables due to the life he led in the
past. But yet on the outside he shows himself off as a
property owner and makes himself to believe to be a state
administrative officer. Now he has become a joke to his
wife, three children and to the outsiders.
His eldest daughter Samara is a lecturer of positive
thinking though she does not have any kind of practical
knowledge about the subject. His son Neranjan Sandesh dreams
of becoming rich soon and is involved in nefarious
activities in achieving his wishes. Though his elder brother
is a crook, Pavithra Sandaras, the youngest son of Udurawana
knows the present position of his family and the society
He tries to live according to the society and his family’s
present situation and is not taken seriously by the family
who tend to look down on him. But yet he is able to win his
mother’s trust and love.
The biggest enemy, friend and competitor of the Udurawana
family who is living under a lot of difficulties presently,
is their neighbour, the Malwannas. Living true to Sri Lankan
Buddhist culture they live a charming life with only a few
needs for their existence.
Sirinatha Malwanna accepts his wife Muthumali Malwanna
over and above his head. He believes that a family advances
when they have a matriarchal front.
The father of three daughters, Malwanna addresses his ageing
wife as ‘Ale’, still continuing to be a loving couple
although they have passed their middle age.
The Malwanna’s are looking to get their daughters married.
The Udurawana family is bent on looking for jobs for their
Although the two families share their rice, fish and even
vegetables cooked they still are together and at times
trying to keep up with the Jones with all their faults and
goodness that are in plenty.
Although they travel on two lanes their lives and
expectations are the same. Under vivid conditions off
fondness, darkness, sadness and comedy that take place the
youngest son in the Udurawana family Sandaras falls in love
with the youngest daughter of the Malwanna family.
This creates a lot of frictions between the Udurawana and
From here onwards, the story carries along with a lot of
twists and turns while it is a family drama so that the
whole family could sit and watch it together and enjoy the
The cast includes Kavinga Perera, Asha Edirisinghe Chamalsha
Devmini, Wilson Gunarathne, Dulika Marapana, Lucky Dias, Lal
Kularathne, Kumara Thirimadura, Geetha Kanthi Jayakody,
Manohari Vimalathunga, Pubudu Gamage, Anjula Rajapakse,
Jagath Benaragama, Udeni Nadika, Nirosha Udayani,Dilini
Lakmali,Vathika Ravinath, Asela Sapuarachchi, Denuwana
Senadee, Chandana Edirisinghe and Sadani Sulakkana.
‘Nil Nethu’ is directed by Eranga Senarathne and Produced
by Ranjith Premalal for Ransilu Production
The script, dialogue and story are by Mahesh Sathsara
Maddumaarachchi, camera direction and lighting by Aruna
Pieris, editing done by Kumara Galgamuwa, make up by
Vishwanath Wijesuriya, art direction by Gamini S. Bandara,
music direction by Priyantha Pawalage.
‘Nil Nethu’ is now on Swarnavahini from Monday to Friday at
Abhi not in Tamil Ravana
Abhishek Bachchan is starring in Mani Ratnam’s movie
Ravana with wife Aishwarya, but he is not starring in the
movie’s much-awaited Tamil version.
The movie is being shot in two different languages, Hindi
and Tamil. While Abhishek was all set to play the role of
protagonist Dev in the Tamil version, things did not work
out as planned.
Says Abhishek: “When Mani decided to make Raavan, it was
only in Hindi. The idea of a Tamil version came in later. He
told me to swap roles from Beera in Hindi to Dev in Tamil.
Even though I agreed initially, I realised that I would not
be able to do justice to the role, since I am not
comfortable with the language.”
Abhishek added, “I told Mani that I did not want to do a
film in a language which I did not understand. It is
important for an actor to know the language... Aishwarya is
in both versions, because she knows both languages.”
Abhishek’s character is called Beera, who is nicknamed
Raavan. “When you see the way he behaves, you will know it
is the correct pet name,” comments Abhishek.
Southern star Vikram will essay the role of Dev, which would
be like Ram. Abhishek sports a completely different look for
the movie. When questioned about this new avatar, Abhishek
said, “Actors do not really dictate the way they want to
look, because they have to dress and appear as the character
demands. So, this is my look for this movie, and if in my
next film, my producers ask me to shave off my hair, I will
|Will Be Showing at
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
From May 21
Director Tim Burton and screenwriter Linda Woolverton
(Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) team up to deliver
this visually dazzling take on the classic Lewis Carroll
tale. Nineteen-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is attending
a party at a lavish country estate when she sees a white
rabbit with a pocket watch dart into the bushes. Curious,
she follows the rabbit to an enormous tree, and tumbles down
a hole that takes her to Underland, a strange world
inhabited by anthropomorphic creatures in search of someone
to save them from the dreaded Red Queen (Helena Bonham
Carter), who has assumed control of the kingdom by
decapitating anyone who dares disagree with her. According
to a scroll detailing a historical timeline of Underland --
including events that have not yet taken place -- it is
Alice who will set the kingdom free by defeating the
Jabberwocky, a powerful dragon-like creature under the
control of the Red Queen. But is this Alice the same Alice
who appears in the scroll? While some of the creatures of
Underland have their doubts, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp)
and his friends are certain she is the same girl who
previously visited them years ago. When the Red Queen
kidnaps the Mad Hatter, Alice attempts to free her friend
and locate the one weapon with the power to slay the
Jabberwocky, thereby restoring the White Queen (Anne
Hathaway) to the throne, and bringing peace back to