TV Guide Magazine  


Female 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 place.

Q: What was the feeling in your heart when the victory shout rang “The winner of the Derana Dreamstar crown is UPEKA NIRMANI”?
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?
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 winner?
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 victory.

Q: What sort of acceptance was given by the people of Negombo over your being chosen winner of ‘Dreamstar’?
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?
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’?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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 family too?
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


Nil Nethu

Tale of two families

By Pradeep Nishantha Herath
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 quite well.
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 children.

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 Malwanna families.
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 story.
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 7.30 p.m.


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 do that.”

Will Be Showing at Liberty Cinema

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 Underland.