Buzz with Danu - Dinara Punchihewa

Jul 23 2020.

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Today on the Buzz, I speak to this beauty. It’s refreshing to see new talent ruling the big screen. With her degree in Drama from Queen Mary University in London, Dinara is making a true mark in local Cinema. Today on the Buzz she speaks to me about films and her creative lifestyle. 

Full Name -  Dinara Punchihewa  
Hometown - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Marital Status - Engaged
Birthday -  24.10.1994
Passions - Painting, Acting, Sleeping

How has it been working in movies in Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka is home and there is no place like home. So working here has been good so far. I’ve had the privilege of working with some great directors and actors and have gained priceless experiences! 

How has COVID changed your life? I am thankful that I have a roof over my head, good health, food and to be surrounded by love and support by family and friends. I understand that these things are not ‘normal’ for everyone. I work in an industry that doesn’t require me to work 9-5, and therefore I am used to staying at home and working on my own projects. As a result, I am lucky to say that this period didn’t feel too different from other periods, professionally. However, I must say that this time has really opened my eyes into what truly matters in life. It has given me a fresh perspective on human relationships, and just how co-dependent we are on each other. It has made me appreciate the real heroes in our society today - healthcare workers, lorry drivers, food deliverers, grocery-store clerks etc. and a lot more!

What do you think about the creative industry in Lanka? I think we are a very talented bunch
of people. Unfortunately, financial funding is a huge issue and as a result, a lot of artistes lack the platform to showcase their talent. There is a lot of room for improvement but it’s not due to any lack of talent - It’s more to do with financing and administration. 

Gaadi - how was the experience shooting it? It was phenomenal. We shot for about 3 months in the jungle and as a result, I was fully immersed in my character. Working with Mr Prasanna Vithanage has been a dream come true and there was so much I learnt during shooting. Gaadi is a film based on the 1815 Kandyan Kingdom in Sri Lanka and follows the life of Tikiri. This role was challenging to get into and I felt like I lost so much but also found so much - so it was an equally rewarding experience that I am very grateful to be a part of. 

You are working on another film, give us an inside scoop? I recently finished filming a movie directed by Professor Ariyaratne Athugala named ‘Saho’. It is a university story and I had so much fun playing one of the lead roles. We just finished some of the post-production work for it in the dubbing studio.  I am also working on a film for an online streaming platform but unfortunately due to COVID, the production is at a halt for now.

Who was your biggest influence and support in doing what you do? My parents have been a huge support in my life, especially my father. He is the first to grab a newspaper with me in it or first to watch my movie. He is my biggest fan but also my biggest critic. He has been a strength and support and has always told me to do my best. Sometimes I feel he made my dream of becoming an actor HIS dream and I’m very thankful for it. Overall, I am very thankful to my parents. At a time when studying Drama wasn’t so common, my parents sent me to London for my undergrad to study this subject, and I feel very fortunate to have done everything I have done so far because of them. They’ve both given me the life that dreams are made of – to say the least!

How was school life? School life was fun and overall such an enhancing stage in my life. Ladies’ College gave me the first opportunity to act on stage - perhaps proving to myself, and giving me the confidence to know I could carry on and pursue acting as a career option. I was also lucky to have some really great friends and I’m happy to say that we are still best friends to date.

What’s the most pressing issue that the youth face today according to you? I think it is the pressure of social media. A lot of young people don’t always understand that what you see online is not an accurate representation of someone’s life. In this era of instant communication, peer pressure is a huge problem. Honestly, social media can be a very toxic platform and environment to be a part of, and I think it is the root of a lot of problems that the younger generation face today! I feel parents, the older generation and especially current social media ‘influencers’ must take the responsibility in instilling the right values and ideals in the youth. It is a collective duty to show more of the ‘real’ and positive sides of social media.

A film actor who you admire the most? I admire Konkona Sen Sharma because I love the type of movies she is involved in and I think her acting is VERY REAL.

In a world, if you can be anything, be kind.

WHAT IF YOU COULD LIVE PERFECTLY WELL WITHOUT SLEEPING? IF YOU HAD NO NEED TO SLEEP AT ALL, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND ALL YOUR NIGHTS? Sleeping! It is one of my favourite pastimes. My sister and I often joke that sleeping should be a skill on a resume!

WHAT IF YOU WERE GIVEN THREE WISHES, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR? At the moment my first wish would be to remove Covid19 all over the world. My second would be to be able to travel the world and experience all the different cultures and cuisines and I would use my third wish to wish for another three wishes. Haha.

WHAT IF YOU COULD EAT ONLY ONE FOOD FOR THE REST OF YOUR life? WHAT FOOD WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY? I think Sri Lankan rice and curry. We have such a great variety! I’m one of those people who need to eat rice at least once a day… 

WHAT IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A WONDERFUL ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD END AFTER ONLY A YEAR OR A SO-SO RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD LAST YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Definitely the first option. I’d be sad but I’d rather have a wonderful romantic relationship for just a year rather than being stuck in something so-so for the rest of my life. It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all!

What do you think 10-year-old you would tell you now?
10-year old Dinara would be so thrilled to be on a cover page, billboard or magazine. At age 10, it seemed like something unreachable but again I am very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had. 

What is the biggest lie you have ever told? That I have never lied.

What’s a question you’d like to answer, but no one asks?
I don’t know!

Tell me 3 things you remember about kindergarten. I remember my playground, my teacher and I also remember walking into the bathroom and seeing a boy pee for the first time in my life. LOL!

What would you do if you were invisible for a day? As creepy as it sounds, there are a few people I’d like to spy on.

Do you ever talk to yourself? When and what do you say? Hmm... Yes, I do sometimes. It’s usually when I have a bad day.

When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
I usually pray. My go-to is Jesus and I always always feel better at the end. I also try to sleep on it. Things always feel better when you wake up!



Danu Innasithamby

Danu is a Jaffna Boy with a Marketing qualification (only because he needed to study, and not because he wanted it). He has been a part of the team for seven years and is the face behind Buzz with Danu, and WTF.


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