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Chat With Dulani Anuradha

She was the face of ‘Kuveni,’ ‘Ehelepola Kumarihami’ and ‘Patachara’. Historical movies have always been Dulani Anuradha’s forte. Though she had acted in fictional films like ‘Sangili’ and ‘Paravarthana’, she is mostly remembered for great women in history that she has given life to. Her debut performance in Jackson Anthony’s ‘Aba’ brought her fame and fortune. It highlighted her dancing skills as well as her acting prowess. It won her the Sarasaviya Best Actress Award in 2008.

Dulani will don a new avatar as a police officer in an upcoming film. She has also taken on a negative role in the upcoming teledrama ‘Oba Ayemath Avidin’ which is based on a true story.

Q: Do you limit your acting talents mostly to historical characters now?

A: I do get invitations for other types of films. In fact Lalith Pannipitiya’s ‘Sangili’, my second movie carries a fictional tale set in the rural areas in Sri Lanka. Then ‘Kuveni’ and ‘Ehelepola Kumarihami’ happened. I did ‘Parawarthana’ which was based on the theme of retribution. Then ‘Patachara’ followed. So it is true that I mostly get offers to play historical roles. (Laughs) Maybe they are happy with my output and appearance for such roles.

Udayakantha Warnasuriya’s ‘Bandana’ is coming up. That is based on a realistic tale.

Q: What is the most challenging scene you have done?

A: There are quite a few. All my roles have been appealing as well as appalling! (Laughs) The films that I have taken on mostly have such demanding scenes. There was one scene in ‘Patachara’ in which I had to get into the deep waters with a baby in my arms. Another child was by the river bank in that scene and both of their lives were practically in my hands! It was a thought that weighted heavily on me till that episode was shot.

There was another scene in ‘Ehelepola Kumarihami’ in which I had to dive into the waters from a slope what was 12 feet high. That was scary! I really felt like I was diving to my death when I did that scene. Due to the pressure of falling into the water from such a great height my body turned blue in a few seconds after that scene was shot.

Q: Has your acting ever become a hindrance to your career as a dancing teacher?

A: No. I am selective about my roles. Therefore, so far I have not encountered any problems.

Q: Why are you passionate about teaching dance?

A: Ever since I was small I have loved dancing. Song and dance has been omnipresent in my life. I even got an offer to teach dancing as soon as I was out of school. I was 19 years old then. However I took up the subject later and learnt it thoroughly at the University of Kelaniya. I wanted to learn the subject well and become a qualified teacher.

Q: Who are your idols?

A: I admire our Screen Queen Malani Fonseka. She has reached such great heights that she has fans in every corner of the world. She has acted in movies of all genres and given life to many diverse roles. She can truly be called an all rounder. Not all of us can do such things. Whenever I get a role I remember her and then question myself on why I should do that role and how it can contribute to the industry.

I have a high regard for our ‘Golden Star of Sinhala cinema’ Swarna Mallawarachchi too. Her acting is flawless. They are my two heroines in the industry.

Q: What is your first childhood memory?

A: I loved watching the ‘Robin Hood’ series and I was particularly fond of Marian. I used to act out the scenes in them by myself. (Laughs) Once my brother even complained to my mother saying “Amma, nangi talks to herself!” when he caught me during one of my ‘acting frenzies’.

Q: If you could give life to a historic character from the international scene, who would you choose?

A: Cleopatra - Queen of Egypt. She is someone who has captured my interest a lot because of her beauty and her fate. She is such a strong woman. If I would ever get an opportunity to act in a historical foreign movie - let it be Cleopatra please...

Q: What kind of outfits suits you best?

A: I have got great feedback when I am dressed in gowns. The length does not really count because my fans have told me that I carry both the long and short dresses really well. I had a craze for black and white clothes when I was schooling. My cupboard was practically full of black and white outfits then. But I outgrew that phase and now bright colours have made it to my wardrobe. My favourite colours are yellows and pinks.

Q: Wouldn’t you like to produce or direct a movie or teledrama?

A: You need a lot of money to make a quality production. I do not have that privilege right now and I was never the one to do anything just for the sake of doing it.

Directing? Oh, no. (Shaking her head rigorously) I would never be any good at it. I don’t think I would ever turn to directing in my life.

Q: If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

A: (Burst into giggles) That is the most difficult question of the lot! (Laughs) I love my food. So asking me to choose one would be such a difficult task. Even when we go abroad and indulge in something like Chinese food I find myself hankering for some warm rice and pol sambol. My favourite meal is warm rice with pol sambol and sausages.

Q: If you are given an opportunity to present a dance item on an international stage, who would you choose as your dance partner and what kind of dance would you present?

A: My all time favourite was Michael Jackson but since he is no more I would choose Hrithik Roshan. What kind of dance would I present? (Mischievously) That doesn’t really matter with him around, right? I actually don’t know if I would dance if he was on stage with me. I might end up just watching him! (LOL) I would probably go with the flow and do the best I can for the show.

Q: When do you hope to tie the knot and what kind of qualities do you expect in your future partner?

A: I believe that there is a time for everything. If I meet the right person and decide that the time is right, then I would not delay my marriage. I look for a good personality, understanding and someone who can love me a lot. He should be able to be in a position to take care of me financially as well.

Q: What is the best dancing tip you can give to a young dancer?

A: Learn your subject well. You need to give dancing your full focus. If you get everything right success would follow you wherever you go.

Q: What is your opinion about stars singing and dancing in reality shows? Would you ever take part in one either as a contestant or a judge?

A: I have been part of the jury for such reality competitions which have featured children or contestants from the public. Every channel called me when they wanted to launch a reality show featuring stars. I am very grateful for that. However don’t like competitions. It is an unnecessary pressure for me when I want to lead a free lifestyle. However I have seen our colleagues perform wonderfully in such programs with such spirits and good team work. I enjoy and admire their output but being a part of such a competition is simply not for me.

Q: What is the question you get asked most frequently these days.

A: (Smiling sheepishly) “When are you getting married?”