PREETHI­RAJ READY FOR 2ND IN­NINGS

Stage set to make come­back af­ter 17 years

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - LIFE - By Ramesh Uvais

“Though pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied in some other field, my pas­sion for arts is and was an undy­ing one. I al­ways re­spect arts and artistes and I would love to de­scribe my­self as an artiste.

For all-rounder Preethi­raj Weer­aratne, 17 has in­deed been a lucky num­ber. It has been tried and tested. The sea­soned all-rounder who was also born on a17th, shot to fame with his box of­fice hit ‘Nom­mara 17’ which shat­tered all rev­enue records in 1988. It ran for 210 days at five cin­e­mas and that is still per­haps an un­break­able record. And now af­ter 17 long years, – (17 mind you !) - he is mak­ing a come­back to the glam­our scene with a bang.

Preethi­raj took a break from the en­ter­tain­ment field in 1995 to fo­cus his at­ten­tion on his two chil­dren – mu­sic icon Iraj Weer­aratne and dis­tin­guished events co­or­di­na­tor Rishini Weer­aratne who is also no stranger to the glam­our world.

“Nom­mara 17 be­came a su­per hit in 1988. It grossed 20 to 30 mil­lion ru­pees de­spite the dis­tur­bances, the cur­fews and all hur­dles that ex­isted then. It was screened for 210 days in 5 the­atres and mind you a bal­cony ticket was only Rs. 25 then,” said Preethi­raj who wrote his first novel as a 10-yearold stu­dent at Ananda Col­lege, Colombo.

The first novel was called ‘In­spec­tor’ and then he wrote a book called ‘Punchi La­mai’ the fol­low­ing year. He wrote his first love story ‘Aiyai Mal­liy’ as a 16-yearold. He was just 19 when he scripted his first stage play ‘Ran De­dunna’ fea­tur­ing Jayasekara Aponso and Somi Rath­nayake. The very next year he made ‘Ran Se­vana’ fea­tur­ing Miyuri Sa­ma­ras­inghe and Jayasekara Aponso.

The Nom­mara 17 script was also writ­ten by Preethi­raj him­self and it won the Sarasaviya Most Pop­u­lar film award in 1988. Prior to writ­ing Nom­mara 17, Preethi­raj pub­lished three chil­dren’s sto­ries – Da­dayakkaraya, Duwana­pala and Manju Saha Amuththa. In ad­di­tion he pub­lished the com­pre­hen­sive Sin­hala Busi­ness Con­sul­tancy Book on how to max­i­mize on one’s busi­ness ven­ture. He also pub­lished sev­eral ed­u­ca­tional mag­a­zines on overseas ed­u­ca­tion and in 2004 pub­lished the first and only ed­u­ca­tion con­sul­tancy book in Sri Lanka – ‘How to ob­tain a stu­dent visa to UK, USA and Aus­tralia’.

Ba­si­cally, Preethi­raj Weer­aratne is a UK qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional in Man­age­ment and Ac­coun­tancy who pi­o­neered in 1983 the con­sul­tancy ser­vice in­sti­tu­tion ‘Weer­aratne and Co.’ for stu­dent re­cruit­ment to overseas uni­ver­si­ties in the UK, US, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

“Though pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied in some other field, my pas­sion for arts has al­ways been an undy­ing one. I al­ways re­spect arts and artistes and I would love to de­scribe my­self as an artiste. I be­lieve that the artiste in me has emerged as a re­sult of in­born tal­ents. The same could be said about

“I have writ­ten two movie scripts and a 30-episode tele drama script called ‘Rashmi’.

my son and daugh­ter too. Iraj Weer­aratne pos­sesses a UK De­gree in Ac­coun­tancy but he is prov­ing his prow­ess in Mu­sic. My daugh­ter Rishini pos­sesses an LLB and LLM from the Lon­don Univer­sity, but she has cho­sen events man­age­ment in­stead of prac­tis­ing law,” said Preethi­raj de­scrib­ing de­tails about his come­back ven­tures.

“I have writ­ten two movie scripts and a 30-episode tele drama script called ‘Rashmi’.

Rashmi is in­deed a dif­fer­ent and grip­ping story re­volv­ing around a mar­ried beau­ti­cian. I have writ­ten the story, di­a­logues and screen­play of Rashmi. I will be pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing it too. I al­ways be­lieve that any cre­ation should cater to the mass au­di­ences. I wrote the script of Rashmi with some artistes in mind and I will be pen­cilling in them to the project. I also hope to in­tro­duce new faces through Rashmi that has some 60 in­ter-link­ing char­ac­ters. I am in the process of se­lect­ing new­com­ers of any age group or gen­der for Rashmi and other up­com­ing film projects. Those in­ter­ested can send in their pho­tos, ad­dress, de­tails and phone con­tact num­bers to: Preethi­raj Pro­duc­tions, No. 65, Jawatte Road, Colombo 5. I will as­sure that all of them will get at least one small role to play in my tele drama or films. Iraj will be the mu­sic di­rec­tor in all my projects and he is al­ready in the process of com­pos­ing mu­sic. He is now work­ing on his fifth Tamil film mu­sic di­rec­tion in In­dia. My daugh­ter who is a di­rec­tor of a renowned events pro­mo­tion com­pany will be the co-pro­ducer of all my fu­ture tele drama and film projects,” said Preethi­raj who is ea­gerly look­ing for­ward to be­gin his sec­ond in­nings soon with Rashmi.

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