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Kopi Kade - ITN

It was the storyline of the 1000th half-hour episode of the famous 'Kopi Kade' teledrama telecast on ITN which celebrated its 1000th birthday two weeks back.


Pix: Wimal Karunathilaka

Claiming to be the longest tele in the South Asian region (according to 'Asia Week' magazine) 'Kopi Kade' has been telecast on the Independent Television Network (ITN) for the past nineteen years. The first episode was telecast on April 1, 1987.

This unending soap-opera was a conception of the Competent Authority of the ITN, the late Thevis Guruge, whose idea was to form a tele to discuss social issues, and communicate the message to the general public. "Generally, a little kadjan boutique serving eateries plus grocery in a village is called 'kopi kade'.

It is also a communicative centre where every villager tends to frequent this site for his/her grocery and bakery requirements. It was also a recreation centre where males could indulge in indoor games like 'drafts'(daan) while tattling on various subjects of interest. ITN has been using this concept to discuss matters that spring up locally and internationally," says Vipula Ratnasiri, Deputy General Manager of ITN.

Andrew Jayamanna was the very first director of the tele. And, being with its sixth director Saman Fernando 'Kopi Kade' is still telecast on Wednesdays, competing with many enthralling local and Indian dubbed soap-operas on the private TV channels. But the SRL (Survey Research Lanka) claims that still 'Kopi Kade' is the 'Wednesday night hit' among village TV spectators in Sri Lanka.

Along with the 1000th milepost, the production crew has decided to do certain changes by refreshing its cast and appearance of the location, in accordance with the present Lankan village. Also, the young bachelor cast that has been in 'Kopi Kade' for the past 20 years have become adults now.

Therefore, a few young characters would be introduced to the tele, including a pretty young woman who will play the role of the niece of 'Kade Hamine'. And many of the young heroes of yesterday like Somadasa, Sirisena, Dingi and Gajan in 'Kopi Kade' would be getting married and settling down finally.

A felicitation ceremony for 'Kopi Kade' troupe including the cast and the technical staff since its inception until today, will be held in the near future. Anura Siriwardane, Chairman of ITN says that 'Kopi Kade' has been a challenging production and many times it was about to be terminated by the management who chaired the ITN. "But fortunately, the troupe could continue it until today. Once it was the most popular teledrama in Sri Lanka.

The cast and the rest have made a great sacrifice in this regard, so that we thought it's our duty to pay our gratitude to them," says the chairman who is looking forward to do many alternatives not merely in 'Kopi Kade', but also in all productions, to present quality programmes to ITN viewers.

Inaugurating a new transmission station at Suriyakanda, Ratnapura from early June will be one of such projects launched under the new management of the ITN. This will facilitate viewers in the Sabaragamuwa province to have a vivid and clear transmission of the ITN TV channel.

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