Honorary award for outstanding lifetime contribution:
Yesteryear’s voice of showbiz
Vijaya during the 1970s
Someone once said that the best things in life are unexpected because
there are no expectations. The statement could not have been more
suitably applied when considering Vijaya Corea for if not for the
unexpected turn of events he could have ended up as a chartered
According to the old boy of S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, the
chance meeting had come his way when he had paid a visit to his cousin
at the Commercial service of Radio Ceylon.
The production of a children’s programme titled ‘Kiddies Korner’ was
underway and the producer was faced with a dilemma because the American
presenter, Craig Thompson, who had been selected for the show was
Vijaya was requested to present the programme and though reluctant at
first he soon proved himself a natural at the game.
“In those days there was a lot of importance given to precision. You
need to be well versed in pronouncing words correctly otherwise there
will be a huge uproar and you will be inundated with calls from your
listeners inquiring about the word that you have mispronounced.
Today just about anything goes and there appears to be a new style in
the form of rapid speech. Sometimes it is hard to grasp what the
announcer is saying. They lack clarity found in the olden days.
Vijaya with the prestigious Gold Award he won at the National
Media Awards Ceremony.Picture by Palitha Gunasena
You can just about pronounce any word in any way you want,” Corea
opined adding that all the mass media institutions should go back to
allow the degree of competence to be brought back to the commentators.
“You need to excel in your use of language and sentence construction.
You have to be knowledgeable and what you relate needs to be informative
and educative to the listeners,” he explained.
Following the path headed by a league of outstanding broadcasters
like Tim Horshington, Mil Sansoni, Livy Wijemanne, Barry Wittington,
Chris Greet, Vernon Corea, Jimy Barucha, Bob Harvey and others, Corea
lost no time in carving a niche for himself in fields and hearts of the
public both in local and foreign horizons.
His programmes like “The Morning Show”, “Maliban Talent Quest”,
“Elasto’s Moving Designs”, Zellers Go-Go Show” and “Sooriya Show” helped
him maintain the top slot in popularity polls conducted by newspapers to
select the most Popular DJ and Showbiz Personality, he says.
During his reign he was invited to compere shows before distinguished
personalities like the Queen of England, Prince Philip, and many Heads
Corea’s name also goes down history as Sri Lanka’s first television
presenter. The opportunity came his way when he way asked to present a
musical evening and cultural pageant inaugurating the Fifth Non-Aligned
Summit Conference in 1976 which was telecast live over global
television. He also presented 16 sponsored programmes per week for Radio
Ceylon, a record that had remained unbroken up to date.
His more recent achievement is receiving a Gold Award at the first
ever National Media Awards Ceremony conducted by the state. He was
amongst the few truly gifted veterans to receive the honorary award for
their outstanding lifetime contribution to the fields of press, radio
Corea was handed an award by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka
for his contribution to the enhancement of the quality of the
He reached the zenith of his career when he was appointed Director
General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
Even after an hour of Qs and As, my list of queries is still endless
but as the clock starts ticking I realise it is time to call it a day
but not before some pearls of wisdom...
“ I believe my talent is a natural gift. You cannot pick a person out
of the street and hand him a paintbrush and some paints and expect him
to do a painting.
“If he has a flair for art he will pick up his tools and develop on
his talent but if he does not possess talent there is nothing that you
can do to make a painter out of him. Similarly broadcasters are not made
Noir 2008 Theatre Season
The Noir Theatre Season 2008 featuring nine ‘dark but funny plays’ by
celebrated author Shel Silverstein will open at the Punchi Theatre,
Borella from July 18 to 27.
On the first weekend on July 18,19 and 20, play director Marsh
Dodanwela will present five brilliant plays with interesting scripts to
tickle your fancy.
‘Wash & Dry’ is an enigmatic laundry man’s story starring Sajith
Amendra and Thushara Hettihamu and Ashini Fernando that will keep you at
the edge of your theatrical seat. The sign at George’s Laundrette
displays exactly what he says “Nothing more nothing less” but this
laundry does not clean your clothes.
‘Abandon All Hope’ has Marsh Dodanwela and Rajinda Jayasinghe acting
as ‘Al & Benny’ who stand before a giant portal where a sign above reads
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.
The story revolves around the beginning when Benny is more than a
little frightened of entering whilst Al hasn’t got any intention of
abandoning his hope as the two debate the precise meaning of the sign.
‘The Best Daddy’ with Marsh and Rajinda again is a drama about Lisa and
‘The Lifeboat’ which also stars Marsh and Rajinda is about Jen &
Sherwin who sit safely on their bed but Jen forces her husband to
imagine that they are on a sinking boat in the middle of a terrible
storm. ‘No Dogs Allowed’ with Marsh and Rajinda is about Mr. and Mrs. Q.
While they relax on a beach at an exclusive club a sign clearly states
“No dogs allowed”. Mr. Wills, the manager of the club, confronts Mrs. Q,
asserting that Mr. Q is really a dog. Mrs. Q counters with various
fantastical reasons to explain his hairy face, big black nose and habit
On the second weekend encompassing the dates July 25, 26 and 27,
Feroze Kamardeen will enthrall theatre-goers with the first play called
‘Click’ starring Anushka Pereira and Rajeev Ponweera. It is a drama
about Valerie who relaxes by taking a much-needed bath. Leonard is
playing a game of Russian Roulette and all Valerie can hear is the click
every time pulls the trigger.
Is the bullet real? Did Valerie take out the blank and replace it?
Russian Roulette in a bathroom is sure to set your soul on fire. ‘Have a
Nice Day’ a drama presented by Anuruddha Fernando stars the comic
Michael Holsinger, Sirraj Abdul Hameed and Jehan Mendis.
It is about ‘Ben & Al’ who now come as advertising executives faced
with an annoying client and a seemingly impossible task. This is a
must-watch for all Sri Lankan ad people for its close to home.
‘Blind Willie & the Talking Dog’ directed by Sajith Amendra and acted
out by him is about Blind Willie who sings on a street corner playing
his harmonica while Barney his dog questions him on why the world’s only
authentic talking dog should be begging on the street.
‘Buy one get one free’ directed by Anuruddha Fernando stars Natasha
Gooneratne, Wyomi Abeywickrama and Jehan Mendis. Meerilee and Sherilee
are two street hookers who come up with an innovative way to market