The Sunday Leader

Haara Kotiya, Its No Waste Of Time!

By Ashanthi Warunasuriya

Pic by Thushara Sanjeewa

The Tele drama ‘Haara Kotiya’ telecast on Swarnawahini has no doubt captured the attention of many viewers and is today a popular tele drama. Many of today’s maga tele dramas have been reviewed in many ways and some viewers have also somewhat given up watching these tele dramas due to the fact that most of them lack proper standards. These tele dramas drag on for many months with meaningless episode after episode much to the dissatisfaction of the viewers.

Due to these low standards, these tele dramas have failed to capture the audience and are now nothing more than a waste of time which is affecting the channels telecasting them too as people tend to avoid these channels that telecast these low standard tele dramas. These are only categorised as mega tele dramas mainly due to the extended periods they are telecast. However, the tele drama ‘Haara Kotiya’ has gained the admiration of many viewers for its timely and realistic theme.

This tele drama has somewhat veered off the usual theme of love gained and love lost. Shivagurunathan, its creator, had chosen a completely different theme for this tele drama, making it more acceptable to the audience as it deals with life in the slums and its related complications. Shivagurunathan has always aspired to create something different to the regular line of thought. His works are ample testimony to his success and we need not elaborate on it any further.

As a tele drama director and artiste, Shivagurunathan has always managed to somehow give the audience what they are looking for, that difference. This is why he has become a challenge to the rest of the tele drama industry, as he is able to satisfy the audience’s thirst for that out of the ordinary experience. Hence we went in search of this accomplished film director to take a peek during the filming of this tele drama.

The set in Rajagiriya was busy with shooting planned for the whole day. The Director Shiva was fondly known to all as ‘Shiva Aiya’. Popular artistes such as Saranga, Ruwan, Shenali and Rohan were engaged in the recoding of their scenes that day.  Rohan plays the role of the much loved character Ranji, while Saranga and Shenali play an entirely different role. The characters depicted in this tele drama are familiar in today’s society, but for the actors and actresses who play these roles, it is a contrast to the usual roles they play as on screen lovers.

Shiva is a filmmaker with a strong sense of authority. He is responsible for leading a team to create an outstanding finished product and commands the team to ensure they are working at their best. He is also very creative, and able to generate ideas for stories, backgrounds, music, and other elements involved in a film production. He has a tremendous sense of drive and ambition. He is willing to do whatever it takes to rise to the top of the industry and make great films. Shiva is a perfectionist and has terrific vision and can see the film from its conception through to its final product. He never loses sight of the ultimate goal and will never settle for anything but the best frame despite having to repeat the takes.

The name of the tele drama is ‘Haara Kotiya’, but we interrupted Shiva for a few minutes during his filming to engage him in conversation. Our first question to Shiva was where is this ‘Haara Kotiya’? Laughing he said at the end of the tele drama the audience will be able to know exactly where it was. The script for this tele film is by Sadha Mangala Sooriyabandara. The rest of the cast is Saranga Disasekara, Ruwan Perera, Ananda Athukorale, Malkanthi Jayasinghe, Shenali Fonseka, Nirosha Thalagala, Rohan Wijetunge (Ranji), Wedamuni, Sangeetha Basnayake and Dinithi Walgamage.


Shiva and Sadha have brought out popular tele films such as Hansa Pihatu, Kalu Araliya, Anguru Sittam, Kalu Kurulla and Eka gei Minissu. This duo has contributed greatly to the local tele cinema field. According to them, competition is not their main concern but the quality of their work is what matters the most.


Having completed the drama, Kalu Kurulla, an incident where a man who had won a lottery had squandered his money, had inspired them to come up with the story idea for ‘Haara Kotiya’. They had presented the tele drama to Swarnawahini who had readily taken on telecasting of the drama. The theme of this tele drama is different to the general theme and has been woven into a story which has captured the audience with its sometimes funny and sometimes serious and sad scenes.


In this tele drama two slum youth find a load of money and the story revolves around how it changes their whole life and makes it complicated and how their freedom is hampered to a certain level. Popular actor Saranga Disasekera and this year’s most popular actor in the Raigam tele awards, Ruwan Perera play the lead roles as the two youth around which the story revolves.


It is notable that the same group of actors and actresses are used in Shiva’s creations. In fact we asked him about it. “Although it’s the same group of artistes, I like to make them take on varying roles. I find it easier to work with the same known group of artistes as I know their capabilities and it makes it easier for me to slot them into the various roles,” he said.


Camera director for the tele film is Thusitha Anuradha, Assistant Director Jayantha Abeyratne, Second Assistant Director Amila Premarathne, Artistic director Manoj Wickremasinghe, Make up Wasana Bandara and Editing Thiwanka Udagedara. Although the director has plans to film around 200 episodes of this tele drama, it could change according to the wishes of the television channel telecasting it. However, Shiva also has plans for another tele drama with a completely different story line and he said he is currently putting it together.


We also asked him about the awards his cast had won at the recently concluded Raigam Tele awards. “Yes Ruwan Perera won the award for the most popular actor. There were three others who were nominated for the award. Among the actresses there were two who were nominated. In addition, Umali Tillakaratne who acted in my tele drama, ‘Bohimiyanu’ won the title ‘best actress’ and the award for the upcoming actor went to Sajith Danuddara also for the same drama.

Meanwhile, we did not fail to ask Shivagurunathan about his future creations and plans. “My children’s movie ‘Paha Samath’ will be released by November or December. Then another two tele dramas, ‘Sarada Sirinada and Hansa Dadayama will be telecast on two television channels within the next couple of months and I also plan on doing a comedy,” he added.

When asked if there was now a demand for tele dramas, he said, “I don’t think tele creations have such a demand and even the payments made for tele dramas is at a very low rate. However, there seems to be a demand for mine and Sadha’s creations but I have no idea how long this will last. Let’s wait and see,” he said.


Shiva has been involved in the domestic drama industry for some time now and when asked if he was happy about his achievements he said almost all of his creations had been popular. “As a director that is the biggest victory for me,” he added.


Due to the low rate of payment for tele dramas, directors have got into the practice of producing low budget low quality tele dramas. But as for Shiva, he is not so concerned about the payments but he concentrates more on the quality of his work and that is the main reason he pushes his actors and actresses to their limits, extracting the best performances from them.


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