ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, Octomber 15, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 20
TV Times

‘Sujatha’: Big screen hit ready to hit small screen

By Ramesh Uvais

Sujatha’ has been a lucky name that has always brought success. The first film that was made under this title was one of the most talked about films in the early days of the Sinhala cinema.

Himali and Kanchana in a scene from the teledrama

The film starring Prem Jayanth and Florida Jayalath was released on June 26, 1953. It also had stars in the calibre of Dommie Jayawardana, Shanthi Lekha, David Dharmakeerthi, Gemini Kantha and others. This was the film that generated a star concept in the film industry and it was the first film to have run trailers before its release. K. Gunaratnam on behalf of Cinemas Ltd produced the film while T.R. Sundaram directed the movie.

Then came the remake of 'Sujatha' in 1994 when well-known film producer Buddhi Keerthisena produced the movie that was directed by Daya Wimalaweera. Here Sanath Gunathilaka and Sabeetha Perera paired in the lead roles while Kamal Addaraarachchi, Dilani Abeywardana, Leena de Siva and Sathischandra Edirisinghe played the other pivotal roles. The second production was also a super hit, underlining the fact that there was something unique in this story.

Probably this was the reason why producer Buddhi Keerthisena decided to transform the same story into a tele drama. The tele version of 'Sujatha' directed by veteran V. Sivadasan is now being picturised in several locations in and around Kalutara.

Roshan and Kanchana

Roshan Pilapitiya, Kanchana Mendis, Himali Sayurangi, Dhananjaya Siriwardana, Sathischandra Edirisinghe, Wijeratna Warakagoda and Awanthi Aponsu play the key roles in the tele version 'Sujatha'.

As we drive in to the location, Kanchana Mendis and Himali Sayurangi are preparing for their next scene. Kanchana plays Sujatha while Himali plays her younger sister Prema.

Director Sivadasan explains the scene to both Kanchana and Himali who listen to him attentively. According to the story Kanchana had been forced to give up her studies at a younger age since the death of their mother who had always wanted to give Prema a good education. But after Prema set foot into the high society, she fell prey to Wickie - an ace womanizer hailing from a well-to-do family or at least portrays so.

To make a long story short, Wickie dumps Prema after he relaises that she is pregnant by him. The two sisters now lead an isolated life in a rented out room. Kanchana takes great pains to pacify her younger sister who tries to commit suicide, unable to bear all this burden. The scene is taken after a few adjustments to the camera angles and the two girls heave a sigh of relief.

"Indeed I feel there is a competition of acting skills between Kanchana and Himali. In fact, these two have a major part to play in the story and their range is unbelievable. The emotional scenes are coming out extremely well, " says Director Sivadasan.

Roshan, Dhanajaya and Sathis Ayya are also immersed in the script preparing themselves for the scenes lined up later in the day.

Roshan who plays the role of Dr. Nihal says it is a challenge to play the same character that had been earlier played by Prem Jayanth and Sanath Gunathilaka. "This character demonstrates the humane qualities of a doctor who also treats his profession with due respect. We all worked as a team and I'm sure this tele drama is also going to be a huge success," says Roshan while Kanchana chips in to underline Roshan's statement that the whole project is turning out to be a superb creation.

"I must particularly say that my scenes with Himali were done so well, thanks to Himali's commitment and dedication. Acting the title role played by Florida Jayalath and Sabeetha Perera in the film versions, is indeed a challenge," says Kanchana.

Himali who is always slotted in innocent roles makes a real big change playing Prema in this tele drama.

"I am not really playing a vamp, but a girl who is social, outgoing and wants to get the love she wants at any cost. Shanthi Lekha and Dilnai Abeywardana had played these roles earlier and I did my best to do justice to this character. I am really grateful to all who helped me in this effort," smiles Himali.

Dhananjaya Siriwardana, the guy who is slowly but steadily enetering the top bracket in the tele scene, plays Wickie - the role played by Dommie Jayawardana and Kamal Addaraarachchi in the earlier versions.

"I love playing challenging roles even if they have a dash of grayish areas. This role is also a grey character but there is enormous scope for playing and that is what I look forward to as an actor," insists Dhananjaya.

All the key artistes in Sujatha are sure that just as the two film versions tasted immense success at the box office, the Sujatha tele version is also destined for success.

(Pix by Indraratne Balasuriya)

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.