Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 3 October 2010





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Attractive Akarsha

Say the name Anarkalli and anybody who is nobody and everybody who is somebody will have something to say about her. Be it her celebrity skin, brightly-coloured hair, her dazzling wardrobe or just who they think she’s hanging out with, Sri Lanka actually loves talking about Anarkalli. So we got to the root of the talk with Anarkalli herself.

At first glance, Anarkalli doesn’t seem like you’d believe she was elected as the youngest woman Provincial Councillor in history and the only female member of the entire Southern Provincial Council. She just doesn’t seem to be a ‘politician’ where stereotypical roles are seen as rather plump uncles who have a bit of grey hair on them. But she assures me that she does hail from a rather political family. “My grandfather was R.E.Jayatilaka who was a former minister in 1960’s and my grandmother Effie Samarakkody was also the chairperson of an urban council,” she said amid her bright smile.

After contesting the Galle District in the Southern Provincial Council election under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) umbrella, Anarkalli said she is now committed to her cause.

“I want to do more for my country and I first started this by representing Sri Lanka at the Miss World contest in China in 2004,” she said. However, her patriotism and love for her Motherland was much more than this. “I always wanted to see peace in our country and I’m happy it is now a reality that I want to help in Sri Lanka’s development and also inspire youth to do more,” she said.

Aged 18, Anarkalli began to campaign for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 2004 general election in support of the UPFA and thereafter started her service to the country with her job as the public relations officer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It definitely was a roller-coaster ride but Anarkalli said that she would do more than that. However, she hasn’t lost her passion as an artiste and will continue to act in teledramas and some films with some exciting projects on the horizon. “I am also planning on recording some songs so I’ve not lost touch with the creative instincts of mine,” she said with a cheery smile.

Anarkalli first came into the limelight through her maiden teledrama Iti Pahan which was released in 1995, directed and produced by Somaratne Dissanayake and Renuka Balasuriya. “They came to my school, in search of a good child actress. They made it sound like all fun but it was all hard work!” she said. At this time, she didn’t even speak Sinhala properly but she managed to play the role as best as she could. To date, Anarkalli has done about 30 commercials, 7 teledramas and 18 films, first appearing in toothpaste commercials from the time she was three years-old. You can say that it because she seems to have a smile on her face no matter what the gossip columnists say.

She returned to acting in 2002 when, at 15, she was cast in a lead role in ‘Pissu Trible’ and then acted in several films and received acclaim in teledrama performances with her roles as Inoka in Sihinayak Paata Paatin and Tanya in Santhuwaranaya.

Modelling started for her at the time she represented Sri Lanka at the Miss World 2004 beauty pageant. Though she didn’t even get into the top 10 of the pageant, she said it was a good experience for her to understand different women from different cultures. “When I went to the pageant, many people looked down on Sri Lanka so much that I actually had to campaign for Sri Lanka.

I had to say that we’re not part of India and that we’re not bad just because we have a conflict in our country,” she said. It wasn’t easy trying to look on the bright side of things so Anarkalli says wholeheartedly that she is happy that the conflict is over. “I think in the future, Sri Lanka will have a great chance of being selected in the top 10 of any world-wide pageant because we are improving our name and goodwill as a country and more publicity is given to us now,” she said.

Today, Anarkalli has her own TV show, is a brand ambassador, appears in plenty of song videos and continues to be one of Sri Lanka’s fashion icons for her fabulous dress sense and her various hairstyles taken by her on different ways. She has also a good set of friends and this shows because she always has this care-free spirit and down-to-earth personality that you can instantly make friends with her even though you’ve just been introduced. Anarkalli said, “Celebrate yourself and live your life. A person reacts to the way they are received so always believe the best in a person for you to understand them better.”

Anarkalli believes in charity and wants to spread the language of English. “I want to set up my own foundation so that I can take English to the rural masses because it is important for us to interact with other cultures and countries,” she said. Always accompanied by her wonderful mother.

Anarkalli said that she doesn’t endorse negative influences because she doesn’t believe that children of today should not bow down to peer pressure or social deviation. Anarkalli said, “Trying to dress badly, starving yourself or clubbing all the time doesn’t make you cooler. You should be true to yourself, respect yourself and help others.”

For her, ‘The destination sweet but the journey sweeter’ and no doubt, Anarkalli is sweet but why is it that Sri Lanka has wanted to misunderstand her with inundated gossip? There is no real Darling of celebrities that one can talk about so freely or is it because Anarkalli has become such a fixation in Sri Lanka media that people really want to glamourise her? Or are they just jealous and envious that Anarkalli has managed to get so much done at such a young age that people can’t absorb the fact that a Sri Lankan English-speaking former beauty queen turned politician is actually doing her bit to her country?



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