Shake a leg… | Daily News


Shake a leg…

The 1970s decade is known by Sri Lankans as the golden era of Sinhala cinema.

At the end of that decade a revolution took place. ITN (Independent Television Network) as the pioneer television station in Sri Lanka commenced its operations in 1979 as a private sector company with modest beginnings.

Founded by Shan Wickramesinghe, ITN became a State owned public limited company in June 1992. Though with basic equipments, pioneering personnel in the Sri Lankan television industry such as late Thevis Guruge, P L A Somapala, Newton Guneratne Francis Wanniarachci, Subhashini Hemamala, with their technical crews strived to elevate ITN to great heights. Later on Rosmand Senaratne, Indunil Dissanayake and Ariyasiri Vithanage joined the clan.

At first ITN telecasted programmes to a radius of about 15 miles in Colombo and its vicinity. Subsequently ITN enhanced its reach and quality, catering to all strata of Sri Lankan society. At present it has spread its network to most parts of the island.

Currently two media platforms are managed by ITN. In TV sector, ITN manages ITN and Vasantham TV. Radio broadcasting sector comprises, ITN FM aka Lakhanda and Vasantham FM.

ITN in its quest to become an innovative TV channel has now absorbed more young blood.

Programs galore

At the inception, imported TV programmes enthralled the local TV audiences. Eventually, an influx of the Sinhala teledramas kept the masses glued to their TVs. ‘Dimuthu Muthu’ directed by late Dr D B Nihalsinghe and telecast over ITN became the pioneering Sinhala teledrama. It went down in history also as South Asia’s first colour teledrama.

This trend was followed by ‘Kopi Kade’, ‘Rekha’, ‘Bhagya’, ‘Ganga Saha Nissanka’, ‘Suseema’, ‘Dandubasnamanaya’, ‘Akala Sandya’, ‘Paba’ and most recently, ‘Koombiyo’.

Teledramas, films, news broadcasts, educational and sports programmes, musical programmes, children’s programmes, religious programmes are now in the ITN portfolio that caters to mass public appeal.

ITN Tele Stars 2018

On the verge of celebrating its 40th anniversary, ITN organized a mega event, ‘ITN Tele Stars 2018’.

The programme held at the Nelum Pokuna showcased an ocean of artistes performing to songs of teledramas telecast by ITN over the decades starting from ‘Dimuthu Muthu’.

A significant aspect of the event was offering a mark of respect to the late Dr D B Nihalsinghe. The late veteran film and teledrama director of ‘Welikathara’ and ‘Dimuthu Muthu’ fame and NFC’s first General Manager’s wife Dr Kalyani Nihalsinghe received the commemorative plaque from Dr Somaratne Dissanayake.

Senior actors, Amarasiri Kalansuriya and Devika Mihirani were felicitated as main actors in ‘Dimuthu Muthu’.

Among performances in ‘ITN Tele Stars 2018’ an act by Damitha Abeyrathne to a song in ‘Dandubasnamanaya’, an act by Gayan Wickramatileke and Chathurika Peiries and mesmerizing dance performances of Vinu Siriwardene, Suraj Mapa and Paboda Sandeepani stood tall.

Chandana Wickramasinghe has choreographed the innovative dance acts. Hilarious comedy acts by Priyantha Seneviratne, Mihira Sirithilaka, Nirosha Thalagala, Sarath Chandrasiri and Giriraj Kaushalya kept the audience enthralled.

ITN Tele Stars 2018 was compeered by Kamal Addaraarachchi and Himali Sayurangi.

The program has been conceptualized by ITN’s Shantha Soyza as the executive director. It was produced with the expertise of Janajeewa Wehella. ITN Tele Stars 2018 sponsored by Unilever Sri Lanka was telecast on December 31, 2018.

Pictures by Shan Rambukwella

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