A pro in everything she does | Daily News

A pro in everything she does

She was Sri Lankan cinema’s doe eyed beauty and he was the down to earth business tycoon who managed to sweep her off her feet. They may have met by chance but the encounter led to a lifelong partnership in matrimony. Now, nearly two decades later, Sabeetha Perera and Upali Jayasinghe are still very much in the spotlight. Not only do they grace some of the top events related to showbiz but they have also built up their own business together.

The wife

Calmness has always been Sabeetha’s hallmark. She embodies patience and understanding. She gives her 100 percent to anything she takes up. She takes her duties as a wife and mother seriously and fulfills them to the maximum. Whenever she takes on a project she always informs me about it. She is a pro in her profession so I have no objections to whatever she relates to me. Likewise we also talk business together because she and I are the sole directors of our business, D P Jayasinghe Group of Companies.

The mother

Sabeetha is an excellent mother. Since most of my time is taken up by our business she is the one who plans and manages all our son’s work. Our son, Chandupa, is now 17 years old. She is very close to him. She manages his tuition classes and gives him words of advice. She supports him in everything he takes up. We are a tight knit family. Though most of my time is taken up by work we have a swell time together during our vacations.

The celebrity

Upali Jayasinghe 
Pictures by Sulochana Gamage

Though she did not get back into acting for a span, Sabeetha has always looked after her health and appearence. She has always made time to keep herself well groomed. There were a lot of offers for her to return back to cinema but she knew how to pick the right moment to make her comeback.

She has always been highly professional about her work. She knows what kind of characters suits her and how to handle a project. There is no need to educate her on matters related to the industry.

The encounter

Of course, Sabeetha was a star when we met. She has been in the industry ever since she was 13 years old. I was involved in the co production of a Pakistan film called Saath Sahiliya (Seven Girlfriends). Gamini Fonseka too took part in it. However I failed to get a copy of the movie to screen it in Sri Lanka. I was at my wits end wondering what to do when Gamini suggested that I contact Sabeetha and seek her help because she has been involved in Pakistan films at that time. I called her for the first time in 1990. However our first meeting was in 1996 when she advertised her Pajero. This meeting led to several other meet ups and soon we were in our courting stages. Three years later on August 4, 1999, we tied the knot. Though she tried her best to track down and obtain a copy of the movie it didn’t work out. It was a loss of one million but I won over something invaluable in return!


Sabeetha is very concerned about upholding discipline. You will often hear her say “Whatever you do, do it properly” to me or Chandupa. She is concerned about time management too. Whatever she herself takes up, she manages to finish off matters beautifully. So no complaints!

His favourite ‘Sabeetha film’

I love her in H D Premaratne’s Dewani Gamana. I believe that she really proved her acting prowess in it. Her character, Sujatha, is quite unlike herself. Personally, I think that was the turning point in her career.

The attraction

During recent family holidays

What singled Sabeetha out from most people I knew was the fact that she is a ‘quality person’. We never discuss gossip. She has always said that tittle-tattle does not concern her. She says that we have enough things to discuss which concern our future rather than worry about what a few gossipmongers say.


The best giftshe has given him

The ‘best gift’ she has given me is obliviously our son, Chandupa. She has brought him up well and he takes after his mother a lot. The second thing I value in her is the fact that she is a balanced person. She does not worry over trivial matters. She has a strong personality and I admire that a lot.

Togetherness time

Free time is rare but when we do have time off work we love to watch movies. If we can spare a lengthy period we would fly to some place like Singapore for a few days. We have holidayed in Singapore, Australia, Canada and USA. It is cheaper to holiday in a country like Singapore than stay in a hotel with your family in Sri Lanka. We go to Australia often because I have relatives who are residing there.Sabeetha and I are both concerned about our fitness so we normally follow our exercise routines wherever we go. I visit the gym five days a week. We also like to listen to music though our tastes in music are different. I am more of the Jothipala, Victor Ratnayake and Mohideen Baig type and she is more into a mixture of the western and local music. She loves Nanda Malini’s songs.

One thing he wishes he can change about her

Sometimes when we discuss a certain matter Sabeetha goes all silent. That is because she does not like to get into an argument. That has been her habit in matters when our opinions conflict. I wish she would voice her opinions without hesitation so that she would be able to prove her point too. Arguments are rare between us but when one does happen we take some time off from each other to cool down. In the end one party gives in and things get back to normal.

Three lesser known facts

Many people assume that Sabeetha is snobbish just because she got married to a businessman. That is not true. She is a very down to earth person. She is very caring and likes to help out anyone who seeks her help. She is an ardent Buddhist and is very bound to her religion.


Steamed food is usually a part of our meals. We have maids to attend to the cooking but Sabeetha does prepare something for a meal once in a while. My favourite is the watalappan she makes because she makes it using only a little amount of sugar. Yet it is still as good as the original.

We go out once a week to different places. We are fans of Japanese food. Dining out too we go for less oily stuff. However Chandupa likes Indian food as well so we visit Indian restaurants once in a while.

Fanatic fans

Sabeetha is still as popular as she was before she took a break from the industry. It is as if she has never been away. Even in our holidays abroad she encounters fans in every nook and corner across the world. Her fans are always courteous and their attention has never bothered us at any stage. Sabeetha too is a very friendly person so she does not hesitate to talk or pose for a picture with them.

I can recall only one instance when a fan has gone over the top for her. This incident took place during the time that we were courting each other. One guy has been hanging around her place requesting to talk to her every day. One day he climbed on top of her garage and refused to come down till she came out and talked to him. The police had to be brought in to take the fellow away.


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