ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday June 01, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 53

Do you know Danu?

By Dinidu de Alwis

For viewers of MTV's Good Morning Sri Lanka and Planet Pulse, Danushthan needs no introduction. Well known model, announcer, and TV host Danu ("four letters, easy to remember" were his exact words) spoke to us about what it meant to get here, and the path so far. This is the story of Danu, the story that only a handful of people know...

His education was at St. Peter's College, and in his own words he was "not good with numbers." He goes on to explain, "like in Science, I would like the Biology stuff, but not chemistry. In Social Studies, I would like History, but not Current Affairs." But the creative side including arts, dancing and singing was where he shone.

He was the leader of the college choir in 2001/2002. And his love affair with theatre began when he was asked to play the lead role in a Shakespeare play. "I can't remember what the role was. But I do remember crying my eyes out because we didn't get into the finals," he says with a laugh.

Then came the media phase of his life, which was a marriage. But he continues to have an affair on the side with drama, acting with veterans such as Indu Dharmasena and Feroze Kamardeen, playing varied roles from Green Goat (Animal Farm) to Wedding Planner (Oh, Colombo 2: Weddings).

Meanwhile he wanted to study Mass Media, but his family's financial situation meant he had to work, and learn at the same time. "I started working right after my O/ Levels. I was just over sixteen," he says.

“My childhood was not easy. I lost my dad when I was six, and my mum brought my sister and me up. We couldn't afford whatever we wanted to, and dressing up was very much of a dream for me," he says, adding, with a twinkle in his eye "I love dressing up, I'm a self-termed fashionista!"

After an eight-month stint at ABC Radio Networks working for Sun FM and Gold FM he went on to join E FM at EAP Media Networks. "I didn't simply want to be in radio and enjoy it. I wanted to enjoy it while I was learning it," he said, adding that he learnt a lot during his four-year period at E FM, finally leaving, at a position of an Executive Presenter. He talks passionately of Ryan Honter, "More than a boss, he was like a pal to me. He guided me through a lot."

"I was seen as the young one at E, because I joined young. I wanted to break that barrier, plus I wanted to learn about all kinds of media," he said, as he spoke about his transition from radio to television. So he applied to MTV, and was called for an interview with Chevaan Daniel. "I just went on talking. I didn't let him talk at all," he recalls with a hearty laugh.

He was offered the post of a Producer in November 2006. "On the first day, Chevaan took me in and talked to me for twenty minutes, giving me a rundown of everything to do with television," adding, "Chevaan never saw me as an employee. He sees me as a person, he has guided me through, and he has never stopped me in anything I've wanted to do." Two weeks after joining he was on Good Morning Sri Lanka for the first time with Vraie Baltazaar, who is his favourite co-host to date.

He describes himself as a patient, faithful friend, proud of what he does, but aggressive when he's blamed for things he doesn't do. Talking of his transition from a silent introverted child to who he is today, he says, "I've practically made something out of nothing in my hands, all by myself. It was very, very hard, but it was nice."

The Danu that people don't see is the responsible guy who financially supports his mother who brought him up. "It's my responsibility towards her. She brought us up when we were small, and trust me it was not an easy task for her."

And what does the future hold? "I've always wanted to do fashion design, and I think I will do it eventually, along with Interior Designing," he says, giving us a glimpse of his childhood dreams, which we are convinced he'll probably achieve as well.

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