TV Times


Ranjith's Reeves saga
Former Sri Lankan and long-time Jim Reeves devotee, Ranjit Vethakan, took Houston, Texas in USA by storm recently with a stellar performance at a special day in honour of the legendary singer Jim Reeves.

Now carrying an Australian passport, the one-time journalist, is a regular face in the extensive club network across the vast continent Down Under, working under his first name.

The visit to Texas, at the invitation of the Reeves Family, no doubt ranks as the highlight of Ranjit's career - even dwarfing dream-time stints as support act for other legendary entertainers of the modern era, such as Engelbert Humperdinck, Barry Manilow, Glen Campbell, Helen Reddy and the man who took his name from a wolf - Lobo - on their tours of Southeast Asia.

"It was an awesome experience singing to such an audience . . . every man and woman sitting out there was near and dear to Jim in one way or another," said Ranjit, shortly after he was accorded a long standing ovation at the Panola College's magnificent QM Martin auditorium at Jim's birth place, Carthage - about three hours by road northeast of Houston.

"I was virtually shivering in my boots when introduced by the MC (Scott Reeves, a great nephew of Jim) but as the drums started beating for my opening number, the distant drums, I settled in and doing the rest of my repertoire was a piece of cake' Ranjith said in a special mail to Sunday Times.

"Mind you, I was virtually an intruder here. This was Jim Reeves country. To come here, more than any other place in the world, and be accorded such a reception is an experience I'll never forget." he admitted.

"Gentleman Jim is still a legend all over the world after all these years, but in this patch he is almost god. Hence, the nervousness before I walked on stage," said Ranjit.

James Travis Reeves, who was born in Galloway, a little village just down the road from Carthage, would have turned 80 on August 20 this year.

He was three weeks short of his 41st birthday, when the single-engined plane he was in control of, crashed during a wild storm not far from his modest home in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 31, 1964.The only other person on board was Jim's pianist, Dean Manuel.

Jim Reeves is still the highest selling Country Artiste for RCA records and the 11th in all genres

The annual Jim Reeves Country music jamboree is held each spring, and has strictly been a Texan affair. Proud of its Country music heritage, only entertainers from within the vast American state had previously been invited to be on the show.

"To be invited to a gig of this magnitude is an experience that can never be surpassed," said Ranjit. "Yeah, I'm so proud to be the first to be imported from outside Texas."

Obviously, the star of the show was John Rex Reeves, the only member of the Reeves Clan to pursue a career under the spotlights. But, by the time Jim's nephew hit the stage, it was pretty obvious Ranjit had stolen his thunder.

"I had goose bumps as I walked off stage. Man, I stood in front of 14,000-plus people at a stadium in Manila on the night I opened for Engelbert some years ago."

"I thought that was some experience of a life time, but this simply outshone it . . . it was awesome!".

What happened on stage weren't the only memorable moments for Ranjit that night.

Ranjit worked for the now defunct Sun and the Weekend Newspapers and also spent 10 years as a senior journalist with the Bangkok Post in Thailand before migrating to Australia with his wife, son, Andrew, and daughter, Rebecca, in 1988.

Seven years later he turned his back on a 30-year career with the fourth estate to give his vocal cords another go in front of audiences.

"The show was produced by then popular radio man and close friend, Vijaya Corea" he said

TV Show

'Miss All American Beauty'
When 18-year-old Sally Buterfield (Diane Lane) enters a Texas state beauty pageant, her goal is to win a scholarship and further her music studies. But winning sets in motion an unexpected chain of events for Sally, the most significant of which is competing in the national pageant, which will require a separation from her boyfriend, Michael Carrington (Brian Kerwin) and her family. When she is chosen Miss All-American Beauty her life is catapulted into a frenzy of press conferences, interviews and extensive travelling. Soon, she fears that she is losing all that is really important to her: her family, her music, Michael, and most of all, herself.

On Swarnavahini on Monday at 10.00 p.m.

Fast Lane on ITN
From McG, the director of the "Charlie's Angels" features, and John McNamara, writer for "The Fugitive" television series, comes this new series following two cops who have the ultimate backstage pass into the glamorous world of high-stakes crime as they go undercover to take down the highest - and lowest - criminals of Los Angeles.

It's like V.I.P. without Pamela Anderson. Wait! Come back! There's still plenty of juicy stuff to gawk at when hip Charlie's Angels director McG helms this cheesy serving of action, hot girls and fast cars.

Starring: Peter Facinelli, Bill Bellamy and Tiffani Thiessen

0n Every Tuesday at 10 00 pm on ITN

'Sarfarosh' on Sirasa TV
'Sarfarosh' is a work of fiction, based on facts. For the first time a film dares to take an honest and courageous look at some of the real reasons behind terrorism and insurgency. It shows how guns and drugs are smuggled in, across the border and how they reach the interiors spreading terror and destruction. The film unfolds in the dense forests bordering Maharashtra and Andra Pradesh and then moves to the awesomely majestic deserts of Rajashtan, to the streets of Delhi and the realistically captured underbelly of Mimabai, to narrate a story of the proxy war that Pakistan is waging against India.

Sarfarosh tells the story of a honest young man Ajay, played by Amir Khan whose life is never the same after an encounter with terrorists leaving in it wake - a dead brother and a paraplegic father. Despite the odds, this young man finds A REASON TO LIVE.

Though the canvas is vast, the narration of the film is fast paced and dramatic. Sonali Bendre is refreshing as she brings in the romance and the comic moments. Naseeruddin Shah's brilliance can be seen as a ghazal singer where his performance is soft and yet remarkable in its intensity. Amir Khan stands apart, assaying a role that is credible, taught with a restrained violence and power that is devastating.

Brace yourself for this gripping story that will keep you engrossed.

Starring Amir Khan and Sonali Bendre

On Sunday, May 4 at 8.00 pm on Sirasa TV

'The Wedding Dress'
The Wedding Dress; It is a radiant wedding gown, painstakingly hand-stitched in loving anticipation of Hannah's fiancés return from the war. But when a torpedo makes a direct hit on the ship transporting Hannah's groom home, the dress is packed away in the attic, along with Hannah dreams for her future as a bride.

The grieving girl's only wish is that someday this lovely dress will be worn by someone with a love as deep as her own. Fifty-five years later, Hannah ships the cherished dress to her nephew Travis for his wedding, who is a talented freelance photographer, has proposed marriage to a striking fashion model named Cass. The problem, though, is that Travis has chosen the wrong bride.

Zoey, Travis's indispensable assistant is the women he truly loves, but he does not realize this until she disappears from his life. On the very same day that Zoey leaves, Travis's car is stolen and his aunt's treasured wedding gown also vanishes.

On Sunday, May 4 at 9.00 p.m. on Dynavision

'Judging Amy'
Amy's life is complicated when Donna subs for Bruce who is trying to help a young black kid who's entangled in a gang, the sentencing of a animal killer is complicated by a Native American tribe, and her wayward cousin, Kyle, returns to the family fold.

'Judging Amy' on ETV on Monday, May 5 at 8.00 p.m.

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