Mesmerising Michelle | Sunday Observer

Mesmerising Michelle

16 December, 2018
Michelle Dilhara receiving the Asia Inspiration Award 2018
Michelle Dilhara receiving the Asia Inspiration Award 2018

Sri Lankan actress Michelle Dilhara along with Dinesh Subasinghe, received the Asia Inspiration Award at the second annual South Asian Youth Summit 2018 organised by the International Youth Committee (IYC) held at the BMICH Colombo recently. The summit was dedicated to establishing information networks and partnerships among youth for the sharing of experiences and to facilitate the updating of national policies on youth issues. Michelle spoke to Youth Observer about her interests.

Q:Do you appear on screen these days?

I act in the teledrama Poori being telecast on ITN. I also act in the teledrama Kanthoru Moru’ on TV Derana and in the program Crime Scene on Rupavahini. You will be able to see me in Anuladevi and Siddhartha Gauthama which teledramas are to be screened soon.

Q: Are you only into acting?

No. While acting I also pursue my higher studies. I am studying for an external degree in IT and a diploma in psychology. I’m also into charity work. I have joined the Child Development and Welfare Program of the University of Rajarata.

Q: We see you often on TV. How about theatre?

I recently acted in the movie Udumbara, it’s the villain’s sister’s character that I did. Hopefully, quite soon, my fans will be able to see me in another movie.

Q: How did your journey into acting take off?

While I was studying at Newstead College, I chose Arts for my Advanced levels. My subjects were English Literature, Japanese Language and IT. English Literature taught me a lot about drama. I took part in the drama, ‘House of Bernada Alba’ which was on our English Literature syllabus. That was my first experience in acting. I had two goals - to become a teacher and an actress. Before being an actress, I did teach; soon after I finished my A/L’s in 2014. I volunteered to teach English to kids in orphanages. I later joined the Abhinaya Art Academy and that is the first time I attended an acting class. Anoja Weerasinghe taught me the rudiments of acting - voice control, facial expressions, yoga and meditation. I then attended Damayanthi Fonseka’s acting academy. There I learned the deeper concepts in acting - balancing emotions and adapting to a character. Then I was studied at the drama and theatre academy of Randika Wimalasooriya and got the chance to work with the Indian Theatre Director Ujjwal Sinha. Later, I was called for a screen test by Susila productions where I got the chance to act in the Sal Sapu Naa, teledrama under the direction of Nalan Mendis. This was telecast on Sirasa TV. I take this opportunity to thank him for giving me the privilege to work for him. I became popular as Podi Paththarakari. This gave me the chance to act in several teledramas which were telecast on Sirasa TV such as Bodhi, Thuththiri and Dankuda Banda. I did my first main role in Sudu Adagena Kalu Awidin teledrama which was directed by Sunil Costa.

Q: What is your opinion on acting?

It is a universal subject. The things we have to learn are countless. Still, I attend classes on acting. No matter how much I learn I’m not satisfied with what I have learnt. An actor must have the skills to act distinct characters. I’m glad as I’m lucky enough to have the privilege of playing different kinds of characters. In the teledrama Bodhi I did the character of a demon, in Sal Sapu Naa, the character of a journalist, in Thuththiri, the character of an alien, in the teledrama Anuladevi , the character of a researcher.

Q: What kind of reactions do you get from the experienced artistes that you work with?

Actually I joined Sal Sapu Naa from its 250th episode. I was a bit scared as I was new to the cast and as I knew Director Nalan Mendis was strict. When working with him we have to complete our homework before we do the shoot. There I had to work with actors and actresses Damitha akka, Gayani akka Janaka ayya, Roshan Pilapitiya, Sangeeth Prabhu and others. They supported me and helped me to do my role better.

Q: How do you memorise dialogues?

First of all I read the script and study the situation. It is important to read the dialogues of the other characters too. Then only we can visualise the way we should perform our parts. I don’t memorise the dialogue; I just memorise the part and perform it in my own way.

Q: Do you have any idea of performing at international level?

I would like to be an established actress in Sri Lanka and then I will consider joining Bollywood or Hollywood. It would be a great for anyone to represent Sri Lanka at international level.

Q: Who are your favourite artistes?

I love Yashodha Wimaladharma from the Sri Lankan cinema. Other than that I like Julia Roberts, Emma Watson and Deepika Padukone.

Q: Who supports you?

My parents are number one. Especially, my mom helps me on every occasion. She knows about everything I do. She is a very understanding, compassionate woman. I also have friends and colleagues who back me.

Q: What is your ultimate goal?

I want to become a social worker. I see that the most helpless ones are kids. When I was teaching English in the orphanages, I felt that those kids needed a mother rather than a teacher. They all had a story to tell. It melts my heart. I celebrated my 22nd and 23rd birthdays with them. It was a great pleasure to be with them and to help them with their needs, with the help of my facebook fans and my family. I have helped many low income families in my area. There is a long journey ahead. To help these type of people is my ultimate goal.