Visharada Pradeepa Dharmadasa award winning actress and vocalist a role model to all artistes never profited from husband politician’s high-ranking positions to date
Visharada Pradeepa Dharmadasa a renowned award winning stage drama actress vocalist , in theatre and television, musician and acclaimed vocalist was born on 26th January 1964 in Rawatawatta Moratuwa as Pothupitiya Kankanamge Pradeepa Nirmali Hemamali Dharmadasa,as the second elder sibling in a family of four siblings.Her father Pothupitiya Kankanamge Dharmadasa was attached to Agriculture and Govi Jana Seva Department while mother Meda Gamage Hema was a housewife.They had dwelled in the De Soysa flats. The parents have had roots in down south though lived in Moratuwa. Both had hailed as villages from Baddegama and Yatiyana respectively.Pradeepa had quipped that as the intentions of her parents were to educate the siblings had many sacrifices, made her a hosteller to find the money she had gone to UK to work as domestic aid with the assistance rendered by a friend of hers. Pradeepa had reminisced that owing to her been brought up in hostels she is able to attend to her own affairs sans any hassle when she grew up. Pradeepa had learned the manner to live in society owing to her been brought up in school hostels under strict scrutiny.
Initial primary education Pradeepa had obtained from Princess of Wales’ College Moratuwa, thereafter had been at Sujatha Vidyalaya Nugegoda which she considers her Alma Mater too having completed her Advanced Level successfully. Subsequently Pradeepa had followed dancing at the Vijira-Chitrasena dance academy. Her career in acting had begun at a very young age under her mentor Somalatha Subasinghe underwent a drama course at Her “Sri Lanka Youth Theatre Foundation. Simultaneously she had followed an intense music course at the “Kala Bhoomi” purely as she has had innate talent for art.
Pradeepa has completed a Masters’ Degree in Sociology at the University of Kelaniya.She also holds an Excellence in Music Scholarship from the Bhathkande Music Institute Deemed University, Lucknow , India.Pradeepa was a talented student in many zones, after returning from India she followed a diploma course in Writing and Mass Communication from the University of Sri Jayewardenapura.Pradeepa has also a diploma in English from the Kirkwood Institute of Education, USA.
Pradeepa married the present Cabinet Minister Dullas Alahapperuma in year 1994, a parliamentarian then.The duo are blessed with two sons Mahima Induwara born in 1995 and Kaushika Nalanda in 1996 were old boys of Royal and Ananda Colleges and lately students at Lyceum International.
In year1981, Pradeepa had switched school to Sujatha Vidyalaya Nugegoda with the intention of sitting for the Advanced level in commerce subjects having thoughts of becoming a lawyer . The uniform she had to wear a long white sleeves shirt and a blue skirt which she had not stitched had taken permission from the then Principal a USA national Clara Motwani to wear a white uniform for a week until her uiforms were stiched. All students in the advanced level had been made compulsory to attend a stage play rehearsals of “Sanda Kinduri” trained by Somalatha Subasinghe.She recollected that the opposite to it “Sanda Kindura” portrayed by students of Ananda College.At the rehearsals the students also had to sing songs to test the vocal abilities under Athula Somasiri and Lalani Somasiri.For her singing ability Pradeepa had been elected as the “Sanda Kinduriya” though she was that attractive perhaps owing to her singing aptitude, which she attributed for her experience in singing at Princess of Wales in Moratuwa.Pradeepa had commenced her acting career in year 1982 portraying the character of ‘Sanda Kinduri’ of Gunasena Galapaththi’s later edition held at the John de Silva memorial hall.having portrayed in titular role “Sanda Kinduri” produced by Somalatha Subasinghe opposite the “Sanda Kindura’ portrayed by Chandana Aluthge an Anandian the present husband of Somalatha Subasinghe’s daughter Kaushalya. In year 1983, Somalatha Subasinghe started a drama school called the ‘Lama Ha Yowun Ranga Peetaya’ to which Pradeepa too joined to. In year 1984 Somalatha Subasinghe made a new production of the play ‘Mudu Puththu ‘ also of Gunasena Galappathy’s where Pradeepa portrayed the role as “Hinnihami” in it along with stalwarts like Somalatha Subasinghe, Cyril Wickramage,Nihal Fernando, Sunethra Rajapaksa. During this period, she acted in many stage plays such as Suba Sarangatha by Athula Peiris and Sakvithi Nikmana by Salaman Fonseka. At a television interview Pradeepa had quipped that while acting she had focussed her full attention to the role, she portrayed giving her one hundred percent a quality she had learned room her father having worked under the Englishmen, considering it as a ‘deva karanayak’.Pradeepa has been in the habit of giving one hundred percent to her roles or singing never accepts additional work until completion of the existing tasks.
In the 1980s, Pradeepa started career as a professional actress with the stage play ‘Sathyanganavi’ first ‘opera’ type stage drama a translation produced by Vijitha Gunaratne to the music composition of Premasiri Khemadasa who changed most of the dialogues to songs with a vast cast.The rehearsals had gone for a period of one year. Pradeepa reminisced that rehearsals began at around 5 am as many girls had travelled from far away places she had given shelter to them at her dwelling giving meals to them.
This quality had impressed Premasiri Khemadasa hence he had loved Pradeepa. In the play, she not only showcased her acting skills but also the singing skills she possessed by playing the role of “Shente” in Bertolt Brecht’s, ‘The Good Woman’ in Setsuan. In this portrayal Pradeepa had portrayed a role of a Chinese woman had to be on stage for the entirety of the three hours of the stage play had even to walk the manner a Chinese woman walks. After her portrayals its music director Premasiri Khemadasa invited Pradeepa to join his choir. This was her beginning of her illustrious music career. Later, she made her first song ‘Duwillen Seduna Liye’ for the television serial ‘Weda Hamine’ in year 1987.The director Jayantha Chandrasiri had wanted a new voice to be dubbed to the new actress Rebeca Nirmalee. In year 1988, Kapila Kumara Kalinga created the stage play ‘Nelum Pokuna’ which included lots of songs. So, when he is looking for an actress who can sing songs, he invited Pradeepa. She acted and sang the songs in this play. Later she sang the theme song ‘Rathurosa Malak Pipewi’ along with Amarasiri Peiris for the single episode teledrama directed by Kalinga.
In the beginning of year1992, she was invited by cassette producer Ranjith Liyanage to make a cassette. She made the cassette “Duwillen Seduna Liye” containing 12 songs, where in six of them music was composed by Khemadasa while the other six by Rohana Weerasinghe. During state media censorship, Pradeepa was able to successfully present the cassette with the support of the “Alternative Media Circle”. However, six of those songs of the cassette was banned by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation due to contemporary social issues of various events that were articulated about in the country at that time the songs were sung. The song ‘Kolomthotin Naw Nagga’ spoke about the child trafficking that was prevalent in Sri Lanka at that time. Then the song ‘Balana Avaraga Pipunu Iramala’ written against the American voice for Iranavila village. The song ‘Madura Oya Pamula’ elaborates on about the incidents where farmers drank poison and could not pay their debts. The song ‘Sebe Ugaththu’ was written about the loss of jobs for university students. But with that ban, the cassette was sold well as in addition the songs became hits.Pradeepa’s music mentors she reminisced as Premasiri Khemadasa, Rohana Weerasinghe,Lakshman Wijesekera and Mangala Seneviratne and Ananda Wijesiri.As a principle Pradeepa never sings songs of others, in open air stages.Her songs contains lyrics, meanings of which could educate our masses. Pradeepa is popular among Sri Lankans domiciled abroad who await her arrival.She had sung in concerts in about thirty western countries to packed audiences.it is learnt that even small children await her arrival having heard her songs played by elders.
However, she continued to act in the stage plays such as lead role in ‘Naga Gurula’ produced by K. B. Herath. In year 1993, she won the award for the Best Actress of the Year for her performance as “Malee” in the play ‘Ukdandu Ginna’ produced by Nimal Ekanayake at the State Drama Festival.Before she won the award Pradeepa had thought seriously to give up acting as she intended to live a peaceful life after her marriage particularly as she had seen how young actress mothers with small kids used to suffer taking them in the Natya bus. Even her husband Dullas had consented for her to continue as he knew she liked acting. But she continued to concentrate on singing with her aptitude.She also played in the plays Muhunu Dekak, Sakvithi Nikmana a “Sinha Seevali” in critically acclaimed Ediriweera Sarathchandra’ Sinhabahu and as “Chamari” in RR Samarakoon’s ‘Duwili.’
However, Pradeepa selected her pathway from singing where she sang several popular songs including: “Kolom Thotin Naw Nagga, Supem Hangum, Sandagiri Pawwa, Vine Katina Un, Hansa Geethaya, Nadan Punchi Hiramane, Neka Uyan Wathu and Ha Ha Balagenai.”One of her latest songs that has been a hit is “Soya Diyaw Mata Saranak” to the music composition of Rohana Weerasinghe. Many of the songs sung by Pradeeda express the wisdom of life and social consciousness, as well as the concepts of love, romance, elegance as well as elegance and wonderfully expressed house concepts. Pradeepa’s musical genres are pop,soul, rhythm and blues and Indian classical music.The music labels are Musings, MEntertainment,Torana and Indhuwara creations.
Her maiden television acting came through ‘Samugenime Nawathena’ with the role “Veena”. She also sung the theme song of the serial with Amarasiri Peiris. Then she played the role of a dumb girl “Kisa” in the teledrama ‘Dhawala Rathriya’ directed by Suda Mahadivulwewa. Pradeepa had sung all the background songs. Later she acted in Somaratne Dissanayake’s ‘Avasanda’ as “Soma” and titular role “Yashodara” in Thistha Jayawardena’s serial Yashodara. She last starred in the teledrama Pinmada Puthuni directed by Malini Fonseka. Meanwhile, in year 1997, he released a new collection of songs called ‘Kandulu Thotupola’. Her third CD ‘Sathyangana’ was released in year 2004 at the John de Silva Memorial Theatre hall, Colombo. She selected to sing the songs of a new lyricist for her new CD ‘Hendewata Kalin Enna’ in year 2012 where it was the first time that a new lyricist has put together as many as six songs at a time. It has been revealed that Pradeepa was not in any haste to create CD’s as she takes time sometimes five to seven years to launch them.
Pradeepa commenced playback singing for films with Christy Shelton’s 1994 film Aragalaya. Since then, she rendered her voice for many films including Mario Jayatunga’s Nidi Yahana Kalabei, Handana Kinkini, Miriwadi Sagalak, Saman Neelawathura’s Savithrige Rathriya, Christy Shelton’s Thahanam Gaha and Bennet Ratnayake’s Ira Handa Yata . In year 1997, she won both the Sarasaviya and Presidential Awards for Best film playback singer for the serial ‘Savithriyage Rathriya’.
Pradeepa was honoured by the Colombo Tamil Association for her creative contribution to social harmony by singing the song ‘Yal Devi ‘ at an awards ceremony organized to recognize outstanding women on World Women’s Day in year 2012. On 22 November 2017 her devoted fan Kasuni Nadeeka an university student then, launched the book ‘Gee Pradeepartha’ on Pradeepa’s singing life and critical reviews of her songs. ‘Gee Pradipartha’ (Pradeepa Dharmadasa Gee Ratnawali Rasavinisa) Book covers explanations on 20 significant songs. In year 2018, she playback songs for the film ‘Amawaka’ directed by Vijitha Gunaratne. Pradeepa has not sung many songs only about three hundred songs only but most songs have become instant and everlasting ‘hits’ to date. Pradeepa Dharmadasa ‘s solo musical show was organized to a packet audience at the Nelum Pokuna performing arts theatre a decade ago where it was mainly to media personnel and her fans.
Pradeepa has been married to then member of parliament now a renowned cabinet Minister Dullas Alahapperuma for the last twenty nine years since year 1994 sans a period when he was aways from politics in the decade of 2000.She had quipped at a television dialog that she, her husband’s and her family members had never misused benefits though entitled to a cabinet minister to date which she very proudly confesses. She or the sons had never travelled abroad with Dullas spending state funds although there were allocations. The two sons had been brought up to possess immaculate qualities. Once a politicians son was found guilty of an offence which was highlighted in the media.Pradeepa had confessed that Dullas is one politician who will get the sons to surrender if they commit an offence sans trying to defend them. There have been times when people had observed her travelling in three wheelers for her music events. Hence Pradeepa is a dedicated role model to many to emulate who insists on co-existence. She had confessed that we are all Sri Lankans should care for all colleagues specially on these crisis days should think whether the next door neighbours have had meals. In her television dialog she emphasised on these humanitarian demands.
Sunil Thenabadu e mail firstname.lastname@example.org whatsapp 0061444533242