Dinupa winging her way to success in song, Dance and drama | Sunday Observer

Dinupa winging her way to success in song, Dance and drama

4 October, 2020

These lines are from Kuveni, a haunting and trend setting song with lyrics by Chandrasena Thalangama and music by Charitha Attalage. The two youthful voices in harmony - talented and rising vocal artistes, Dinupa Kodagoda and Ridma Weerawardene.

For diva in the making, Dinupa, Kuveni made her a household name among Sri Lankans. In her own words, “ I went among the people with Kuveni”.

Dinupa Kodagoda, is fast moving to a top slot in the Sri Lankan singing ,acting and dancing spheres. At the recently concluded Raigam Tele Awards she won the Best Supporting Actress Award for her true to life portrayal of Vishakha, the village girl friend of a soldier in the teledrama Veeraya gedera avith directed by Ananda Abeynayake. The male lead was played by Roshan Raveendra. The script was by Namal Jayasinghe. In 2017, she bagged the Best Actress Award for her portrayal of King Kashyapa’s Queen in the drama Giri Kuta Kashyapa at the State Drama Festival. The award winning drama was directed by Akila Sapumal.

For Dinupa, speech proper and singing came almost simultaneously. When she was about four years her mother, Priyanthi Kodagoda, enrolled the mite at Visharada Nanda Malini’s Sangeethashramaya . The discerning mother divined her daughter’s talent in singing and was keen to foster it. A singer herself, she was an alumnus of the same academy.

Swarnavahini’s Hapan Padura program produced by Jackson Anthony on Swarnavahini was the catalyst for Dinupa Kodagoda’s rise as an artiste. She performed two original songs by her during her participation the series.

While a student at St. Joseph’s Convent, Nugegoda Dinupa joined Kalabhumi and for a while worked as a member of its third generation resource personnel.

At Kalabhumi, Dinupa studied low country dancing under Beatrice Weerasinghe and Sanath Abeykoon. Later, she studied Hindusthani music under Manjula Seneviratne and obtained the Visharadha qualification.

Her performances while at St. Joseph’s convent brought her to the notice of a singer of great repute , Dr. Rohana Weerasinghe. So, impressed was he with Dinupa’s talents that he gave her the opportunity of playback singing in tele drama’s like Sathpura Vasiyo , advertisements and the cartoon movie Mahadanamutthai, golayo roththai.

Another colossus of Sri Lankan music, Dr. Premasiri Khemadasa also recognised Dinupa’s potential and invited her to be a member of the Premasiri Khemadasa Foundation. While studying and working at the Foundation Dinupa had the opportunity of singing in the chorus of Khemadasa master’s much acclaimed opera, Agni.

After her schooling, Dinu gained entry to the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo where she studied Kathak dancing and obtained the degree Bachelor of Performing Arts (special). She majored in Kathak with Sri Lankan low country dancing as her Minor.

Her stint at university not only gave Dinupa academic learning but gave her much exposure of life itself and the Sri Lankan arts . “ It was a huge experience and a great learning curve “ says Dinupa.

Another memorable experience for Dinupa was the playback singing in the hit movie Aba. This music was composed by another Sri Lankan music great, Nadeeka Guruge. Another of Dinupa’s stellar performances was her playback singing in Jackson Anthony’s 2020 movie Eka gei sokari.

Dinupa met her soulmate, fellow musician Nadika Weligodapola in 2007 and tied the nuptial knot with him on May 30 2014. From 2008, she has been a member of Nadika Weligodapola’s Theevra Performing Arts Ensemble . Under the Ensemble’s umbrella there is the Theevra band, school, studio and the Theevra record.

How Dinupa came to act in Ananada Abeynayake’s movies is interesting. When they met at Dharmasiri Bandaranayake’s Trikon Art centre he had asked her whether she could act. Even though she had not yet done any professional acting young Dinupa had confidently said “yes”. This led to her acting in Abeynayake’s one episode tele drama Kiri Suwanda and it was followed by Veeraya gedera avith. The latter is Dinupa’s first full length tele drama and for which she bagged the Best Supporting Actress Award.

Currently, Dinupa works as a free lance artiste in singing, dancing, choreography, teledramas and films. She collaborates and works with a number of leading artistes including husband Nadika Weligodapola. She is in the process of releasing songs and hopes to release her own album in the near future. Dinupa also dreams of having her own concert soon.

Dinupa’s other hits include Mudu uvana pinbarai, (music by Nadika Weligodapola, lyrics Kanthi Amarasiri) and Premanneya Susuma.

Dinupa’s greatest strength comes from her family, husband Nadika, parents Priyanthi and Mahinda Kodagoda and siblings Chapa and Devinda. While being deeply appreciative of her family’s support Dinupa is also grateful to each and everyone who has helped her on the path to success.

To the question what advice can you give the up and coming generation of artistes Dinupa replied “ They must work hard. Now , there are many technologies which artistes can make use of. Unfortunately, some artistes tend to rely solely on technology. Don’t submerge your natural talent in technology.”

As an artiste Dinupa is very much in the limelight and therefore she pays meticulous attention to her grooming. She does not follow fashion blindly but favours trendy clothes which suit her. According to her she does not like to great lengths with artificial means to be beautiful. “ Accept what nature has endowed you with and cherish it’ is Dinupa’s take on beauty.

As an artiste much in demand and with several irons always in the fire simultaneously life Dinupa has a very busy , daily schedule. However, she is adept at managing her time and combines professional and domestic life with aplomb.