Sri Lankan Celebrity: Beauty Queen Turned Tele-Actress
Sri Lanka’s first Rupavahini Channel; Independent Television Network together with its sister radio channel; Lakhanda Radio had organized a Bak Maha Avurudu Kumari (New Year Beauty Queen) contest almost 10 years ago. Charming Piyumie Shanika was schooling at that time, anyway she had sent an application for the contest.
It was an islandwide event and finally Piyumie Shanika was crowned as the New Year Beauty Queen of year 2000
Piyumie Shanika Botheju who is a well known tele-drama actress says that was the defining movement in her life which moved her to another direction. She had a dream of becoming an air hostess, but, as the gift for winning the Bak Maha Avurudu Kumari contest she was given an employment opportunity at the Lakhanda Radio as a trainee announcer.
At the same period, she was trained as an assistant director at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC). She does her television program for the SLRC. It was a week-end entertainment program named as “Tea Break”, she is identified as a TV presenter through that program.
Parakrama Ekanayake’s Walakulu Bemma is her first tele-drama. “I have never thought of being an actress, when I said “yes” to my first tele-drama. Anyway, I found that I have that ability and I wanted to test mysef”, Piyumie says.
“It was in that same period, well known stage and tele-drama actor and director Hemantha Prasad asked me to join his “Malsara Bisaw” stage drama. That is the place, I learnt a lot on acting on stage. The drama was staged all over the island and I had a good experience working with veteran artistes in the field”, Piyumie goes back on her memory lane.
My first main role for a tele-drama was done the “Hit Wicket” by Chandana Hewapathirana. There she played a character of a young girl who loves Sharook Khan. “The drama wa a top class entertainer and I was known by all as “Madhuri” after that drama. I love that character much”, she says.
“After doing a key role in the “Hit Wicket’, I was receiving numerous offers for tete-dramas. I think during that period I have joined over 30 tele-dramas”, she happily reminiscences.
“Kinnara Damanaya” by Thusitha De Silva, ‘Sakura Mal” by Sriyani Amarasena, “Sihinayak Oba” by Christy Shelton Fernando, “Gal Pilimaya Saha Bol Pilimaya” by Christy Shelton Fernando, “Weeduru Mal” by Raveendra Wijerathne, “Kethumathie Neyo” by Lilantha Kumara, “Sanda Roo Arana” by Suresh Abeysekara, “Nuwangana” by Tikiri Rathnayake, “Pabaa” by Shantha Soysa, “Diya Matha Roo” by Premakumara Jayawardene, “Eth Kanda Lihini” by Tikiri Rathnayake, “Sihinayak Wage Oba” by Chandana Hewapathirana, Adaraneeya Neranji” by Tikiri Rathnayake, “Sithaka Mahima” by Thishoola Thambawita, “Sudu Hansayo’ by Chandana Hewapathirana and “Rasthiyadukaraya by Lakmini Amaradewa, are only few of them.
“Denuwara Dennek” by Susil Gunarathne is her second stage drama and she also joins in Thanuja Wanninayake’s “Man Diya Wela” in 2007. She was awarded a merit award at the State Drama Festival for the role which she played in “Man Diya Wela”. Later, she also joins in Lucien Bulathsinhala’s “Tharawo Igilethi” stage play.
Piyumie who received her primary education at Dharmapala Vidayala, Pannipitiya and Gothamie Balika College, Colombo , says she does not harbor big hopes except to be a best performer on the stage and before the TV camera. She has also followed a mass communication diploma course at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura.
“So far I have no idea of joining in film industry. These days I am in a problem of how I schedule my time for the tele-dramas which I have already accepted”, she added.
“These days I am busy with rehearsals of “Malsara Bisaw” stage drama’s second production by Hemantha Prasad. It is a comedy story with a humane touch which speaks to your heart and mind’, she concluded.
- Asian Tribune -