Bridging the best of both worlds
They make an exceptional combination. Their outstanding singing
and dancing go hand in hand and enthralls the audience. P. V.
Manomanjari is the singer and Rupashika Ranatunga the dancer. These two
charming and soft spoken ladies took time off to share their pursuits
and their remarkable lives with ‘Artscope’.
“I am a violinist. My father is the late Sangeeth Nipun P V Nandasiri.
I started my career playing violin at the age of eight. I learnt from my
Later I went to India to learn North Indian Classical music. I was at
Bhakhande Music College in 1988. There I obtained my Sangeetha
Visharadha, Vadya Visharadha and Vadya Nipun degrees. Then I went to
Binara Sindu University, where I did my Master of Music under Dr
Shrimati N Rajam. It was my dream to learn under her,” P V Manomanjari
opened the conversation.
Manomajari. Pictures by Dushmantha Mayadunne
Manomanjari currently teaches Indian Classical Dance. Her brother did
Vadya Nipun Tabla. Manomanjari and Rupashika will organise a classical
music and dance concert. This is a combination of two institutions. It
will be organised by Rupashika’s Amaradhaya Foundation.
“Our aim is to give a message to people. It enhances the value of
classical music in Sri Lanka, Indian classical music and dance.
We don’t have much opportunity in Sri Lanka to do something about
classical music and dance because we don’t have facilities. There is a
lot of commercialization. It is difficult to organise something in
classical and to have sponsors for this type of program I wish to thank
all of our sponsors,” added Manomanjari.
This concert is a combination of different styles. There will be a
combination of South Indian Music - Karnatic vocal and North Indian
music – Hindustani, then a violin recital, Kabla Solo and Lucknow style
Rupashika is Manomanjari’s partner in the concert.
“When I was eight, I started learning Bharata Natyam under the
guidance of Kamala Jayatilleke, and afterwards from Padmini. After my
A/Ls I went to India, Binara Sindu University. There I started learning
Kathak, North Indian Dance style under the guidance of Professor
Shrimati Ranjana Shrivasta. And there I learnt North Indian Classical
singing from Professors Shrimati Ranamala and Premachandra,” Rupashika
For three years Ranatunga had been carrying on with her education.
She returned to Sri Lanka and started teaching at the institution
incepted by her parents called ‘Amaradhaya Music Foundation’. She also
teaches music at Musaeus College.
“We decided to do this concert because we are colleagues and also
have known each other since childhood. We went to dancing classes
together. She continued in dancing and I continued in music,” said
Manomanjari also stated that for people to see the value of this art
they have to present something to showcase the value of classical music
“You need a lot of dedication and practice to do classical music and
dance. It is like meditation. You need to sit in one place and
concentrate on your practice. They must have the discipline of
practice,” she said.
At the moment Manomanjari has about 75 students. But for examinations
you need not be her student. Any student can go for the examinations
through her centre.
“The first thing I look for is if the student has talent or not.
Everyone cannot do music or dance. It is a god-given gift. If the
student doesn’t have the rhythm of pitch, we train for one month but
after that I talk to his or her parents,” Manomajari added.
“If the Cultural Ministry can give a hand to classical music and
classical music programs in Sri Lanka it would go a long way. There are
lots of students and there is no one to give a hand or sponsor them.
They are unable to organise a concert and show their abilities in
It is not an easy thing to study in India. You sacrifice a lot to
learn under gurus.
It is a pity to spend seven or eight years in India, and come back to
Sri Lanka, and find nothing to do here,” summed Manomanjari.