Be the difference | Daily News

Be the difference

Life is not a bed of roses for anyone. But actress Michelle Dilhara Hatharasinghe is not just interested in overcoming obstacles she wants to be immortalized for others. She wants her memory to inspire and make a change in the lives of others.

For Michelle acting is not just a profession. It is a deeply spiritual experience. When acting she is able to step into the skin of a totally different persona. It is like seeing life through the eyes of another, sharing the mind of someone else.

“I don’t want to just die. It’s not just like live and die anymore. I want to be someone who will be remembered even after I die. Becoming an actress was one of my childhood dreams. I believe that an actor is a person who can separate the soul from her vessel and combine her vessel with another soul. So she can exhibit behavior, cognition and inner experience as another individual, a whole new identity. I have lived as Michelle in my whole life, but now I’m ‘Preethiwa’ to the ‘Sal Sapuna’ audience,” said Michelle.

Michelle Dilhara Hatharasinghe 

Making movies is not an easy endeavor. There are so many obstacles to overcome. Filming all starts with a writer who conceives of a fictional entity and then there is a producer who believes in it. Filming is a process where a team of individuals convert a fictional phenomena or a story, into a motion picture. Starting from the script and processing till the premier, it’s a hard process – the communication, understanding and stress levels of the team are the controlling factors of filming. With the combination of the right people, a powerful concept and obviously with a good marketing plan, you can produce a box-office hit film.

“Great directors don’t give up no matter how hard it is or how stressful it is. This is because of the passion they have. For example if we take James Cameron, he faced big challenges in reproducing the box - office hit film “Titanic”. He was the director, producer and script writer for this film. With the co-ordination and support of the rest of the crew and their team spirit, he successfully produced the film “Titanic”, which represents the biggest roll of the dice in film history. So if you have a good team to work with and a clear plan of what you are going to do, you can ease the tensions that come up,” explained Michelle.

Michelle pointed out that it is a fast developing industry, where you can make no mistakes. You cannot delay and you need to update yourself in every possible way because you can’t afford to miss opportunities. Fame, recognition and power all depends on hard work and adjusting with reality. The cost of shooting is increasing day by day, and new actors and actresses are arriving into the industry. So if your ratings are down, it is very difficult to remain in the industry.

“The tele-drama ‘Sal Sapuna’ is one of my favorite tele-dramas I acted in. I play the role of “Preethiwa” in it. This drama was directed by a legendary director Nalan Mendis. ‘Emy’ is another favorite Tele-drama I acted, and it was directed by an international award winning director Sanjaya Nirmal. I was cast for the character “Emy”, and this was my first main role appearance. Nalan Mendis is a director who can make you believe that you are not watching a teledrama, but a real life situation. I think it is called “folk psychology” in cognitive science, where you can predict the behavior and the mental state of other people. It has been a decade since ‘Doo Daruwo’ and he is still in the field with ‘Sal Sapuna’. He is my all- time favorite director,” stated Michelle.

“My first teacher was the veteran actress Anoja Weerasinghe. I was a very boring and shy person who loved to be an actress. It was very difficult, with whom I was, to continue with my career.

But Anoja gave me the basic principles of acting with meditation, where you can use your emotions, according to Buddhist teachings, on physical phenomena - earth, water, fire, wind and space. So when I deliver my dialogues in tele-dramas, I don’t need to imagine the emotions because those elements are already within myself. She had a very special way of teaching me how to overcome my fear and shyness in presence of an audience,” pointed out Michelle.

Michelle’s second teacher was Ujjwal Singha, an Indian Theatre Artist and Director. She was sent to Ujjwal by Randika Wimalasooriya for future studies. His method was to develop an emotional and cognitive understanding of the role by using previous experiences. “

So it helped me to get in to a realistic mode in every scene I perform,” said Michelle.

Before becoming an actress she was a teacher. She taught English as a volunteer to an orphanage. She was appalled by what she saw and experienced. It was like looking at zombies.

“They are like robots living according to a timetable. Every day they wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, have their breakfast and go to school. Next day they continue with the same routine.

They have most of the essentials, but this system produces depressed individuals. It’s like even though they have flesh, they don’t have souls. They haven’t seen the world outside and have no relationship with society. All of them live in one big room for protection purposes, so they don’t even have privacy. With this depression, when these students face the O/L exams, most of them fail. Nowadays even a privileged child attends relevant courses, and need recommendations for jobs.

These children are unable to compete with the outside world because of these issues.

Therefore they take the easy way out like starting to work in garment factories. They don’t have parents to guide them. Ultimately their children also end up in these homes,” explained Michelle

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