Ranasinghe speaks to Nimmi Harasgama who won a ‘Best Actress’
award at the Fifth International Film Festival of Las Palmas 2004,
in Spain. Acting is her passion and is a part of a life in more
ways than ever imaginable. “But that does not mean I am this
acting freak,” stressed Nimmi Harasgama with a twinkle in
is everything but that. Her sense of style and her charisma blended
in with the confidence in what she does makes an impact on anyone
who meets her.
is my life,” Nimmi reiterates as she talks of how she first
got into it at the age of six, as a “painfully shy”
girl. So how did she manage to overcome this setback and get up
on stage and act in films? “Even though I grew up in England
I used to come down here for my summer holidays,” said Nimmi
adding that during that time her mother enrolled her in a drama
class taught by Nalini de Alwis. Finding the whole experience amazing
she said she really got interested in acting because, “It
was nice to be someone else.” She went on to doing a degree
in theatre and become a part of the National Youth Theatre in England.
It was there that she realised how competitive acting could be.
Nimmi has also performed in plays, staged here in Sri Lanka, by
the Joint Effort Theatre Company.
her horizons she moved from theatre to film, “I got a taste
of film when I acted in a tele-film by Steve de Zilwa.” As
her interest in film grew, she went to New York on a scholarship
to study acting in film.
her return she took on the role of Chamari in Prasanna Vithanage’s
film Ira Mediyam (August Sun). Of her role Nimmi said she plays
the role of a woman whose husband is missing in action. “Throughout
the whole film I am looking for my husband,” she said adding
that this was the first time she played a lead in a film. “It
was hard but I must say this was one of the best experiences I have
debut as a lead actress won her the ‘Best Actress’ award
at the Fifth International Film Festival of Las Palmas 2004, in
Spain. “When I won the award I didn’t really feel anything
because I was a bit too shocked,” said Nimmi with a laugh
explaining that she was not aware that she was in the running. After
her award-winning performance, next in line for her is the film
Mother Theresa for which the filming was done here in Sri Lanka
and Italy. “I play the role of the nun who is now in charge
of the Mother Theresa Home.”
that acting has a lot to do with luck Nimmi considers herself really
lucky that everything fell into place for her. A firm believer in,
“whatever you study moulds you as a person,” she feels
the maxim is applicable to her own life.
death of her father, she said, had a great impact on her life because
as she puts it, “I think this made me grow up.” Having
had a lot of encouragement from him in everything she did, she said
that when he passed away everything came to a standstill. However
her passion for acting diminished only to grow again. She wanted
to use what she knew to help others. “Theatre can be utilised
for other things,” said Nimmi explaining that she once conducted
a workshop in conflict management using theatre as a tool.
just love acting and I would love it if theatre was my life,”
said Nimmi and it may seem as if she lives each day for theatre,
but unfortunately that cannot be the case because, “after
all you have to pay the rent!”
away from her acting, she spoke of her stint as a presenter cum
producer at YA TV, where learnt a lot about the technical side of
TV. At present Nimmi is an editor of the magazine Adoh! Starting
the magazine with her business partner Minoli Rathnayaka at a time
when magazines were fledging here in Sri Lanka, Nimmi said they
really wanted it to work.
her day is undoubtedly pretty hectic, “whenever I get some
free time I read.” Naming a few books she read recently she
added that if she was to choose one book as her all time favourite
it would have to be ‘100 years solitude’ by Gabriel
to the future with a lot of hope she is afraid of one thing. “My
scariest thought is that I would not be able to learn anymore,”
she said laughing, maintaining firmly that, “In life you never
stop learning.” There is so much more she wants to do…
and by the looks of it she has the determination to get there.