`Love stands the test of time’
Athula Adikari and Samitha Mudunkotuwa are no strangers to the
Lankan music audience. Let’s see what Athula has to say about themselves
to `Spouse’s Mouth’....
“We warmly welcome the gossip spread about us. Bollywood people do it
by their own selves in order to get more publicity. It is a well
organised tactic. But, in our case we’re getting it free,” laughs Athula
blending together his usual charm, mischievous and sportive looks.
“I was a bachelor when gossip spread around that I eloped with a
young female singer who by that time was on top of the fame list.
Another wonderful rumour was spread after I got married to Samitha. My
daughter was a baby at that time. It was said that I who was drunk at a
party threw my little one up for fun and missed catching her back, and
she fell and died. Third rumour cropped up very recently, after a few
months my son was born, entangling Samitha with a popular politician.
What I believe is that if you can’t live with your spouse or partner,
it’s always advisable to separate rather than suffer and live together
under one roof. That’s my policy. Samitha too knows about it. So, if she
wanted to get away from me, she could have talked about it with me and
come to a conclusion. She didn’t need to elope,” explains Athula.
Question: How does it affect your personal life?
Athula: True enough, at the beginning, it worried us. When you
mature, you look at things in a different angle. What Samitha and I
thought was, all these happened due to our fame. If we were just an
ordinary couple, nothing of that sort would have taken place. Why should
we worry about things which are not relevant to us?
Question: But, how would it affect your children as they still
live in a society with a traditional frame?
Athula: My daughter is 12 years old and son is 6 years old.
They are both studious, and both Samitha and I are really happy about
them. We are a friendly family who have nothing to hide. So far my
daughter has not inquired about the rumours that go around about her
parents. Even though such talk reaches her ears, our girl will not get
affected since she, sees for herself what’s happening at home, how her
parents live with them. Todays children cannot be fooled easily
Question: If you know the parties who are trying to harm your
dignity, can’t you take legal action against them?
Athula: Why should we bother? We’ve been keeping quiet. They
said I was drunk at a party and missed catching my baby daughter. You
see, I’m a teetotaller. Also we have no time to worry about who has
spread such `news’. We have more important work. Furthermore I’ve gauged
the interests of such people and their mentalities. Some of them are
people who have their own personal problems, and are jealous when they
see a family living happily. There’s another set in society who love to
entangle their names with popular characters in order to get themselves
into the lime light. And some live in their own fantasy-world imagining
famous characters as their lovers. Such fans who go crazy over the
famous personalities try their level best to get at them and then start
a love affair with them. Failing that, out of shame, their ‘love’ would
changes to `hatred’ and they would go to any extent to hurt the other
party. Different persons have different mentalities. What can we do
about them? (smiles). Even if people see us chatting for a while with
somebody of the opposite sex, soon we’ll hear gossip coupling us with
that person. My daughter will soon reach my height, and I would not
wonder if they say that `Athula is seen going with a girl in his car’ if
they see her with me sitting in the front seat next to me in the car
Adikari Mudiyanselage Pubudu Athula Adikari was born on March 8 in
1966 at Mahawewa in the Chilaw District to A.M. Kumaradasa Adikari and
Lalitha Wickremanayaka. Famous singer Nelu Adikari is Athula’s only
younger sister. Athula’s was a musical family. Though his father taught
English and Science subjects at school, he loved to play music
instruments and sing along with Athula’s mother who was a music and
dancing teacher. The background his sister and he got since their
childhood moulded them to reach the peak as of at present though they
never had any intention of choosing music as their profession. Every one
born to this world is gifted with some talent to live. To what height
they can climb up is decided by their previous Kamma (good deeds).
However much you try to divert one’s path of destiny, it won’t change.
Athula’s was also a similar story. Athula studied the alphabet first at
Ananda Vidyalaya, Chilaw where his mother was a teacher. He then entered
Royal College, Colombo through a Grade Five Scholarship. “I was at the
hostel. After a few years I had a problem in finding a place to stay. My
parents who noticed that it was affecting my studies, took me back to
Ananda, Chilaw, when I was in grade 9. And that was how my fate directed
me towards music,” recalls Athula.
Athula studied Trinity College piano music upto grade 5. The Guitar
was always an attraction. He learnt the Eastern music notes in singing
from his mother. Music was his forte, Tennis and Badminton were among
his few hobbies. Neil Warnakulasuriya, a guy who was a few years senior
to Athula, was also from the same village, Mahawewa. Neil was at
Thurstan College, Colombo, and after his exams he decided to form a band
of his own. Neil and Athula knew each other since they were kids. As
Athula re-entered Ananda Vidyalaya, Neil who was in search of young
musicians invited Athula to join them. “My father always backed the
idea, but Amma was not that happy and wanted me to concentrate on my
studies more. She knew that I would neglect my studies if I started with
music. However we, started our band `Sunflower’ in 1981. I was in grade
9 at that time, and joined Neil as the keyboardist,” says Athula.
`Sunflower’ which blossomed in Chilaw spread its popular fragrance
all over the island within a short spell of time. Meanwhile Athula
managed to sit for A/Ls in 1984, and inevitably strengthened his
partnership with the band. `Sunflower’ released their first cassette in
1986. Athula was the keyboardist and had not tried his talents as a
singer. But, in 1988, he tried his luck as a singer and released his
first solo `Ran Palase’. Out of 12, six songs were hits. Not merely
girls, but little ones, middle aged and elders soon became his fans.
If he says he has never had a crush before he met Samitha, it is
inaccurate. He has had a few, he accepts. But, Samitha changed his life.
“I first met her at `Janakala Centre’ when she came for a record her
very first song `Ira Paya’. She had sung the song in her first teledrama
where she played the main role in 1988 under the direction of
Chandraratne Mapitigama. When she came to record her second song, `Rosa
Puranaya’ both of them eventually developed an attraction to each other.
Samitha Kumari Erandathi Mudunkotuwa was born on January 7 in 1973 at
Horana as the only child to the famous music duo, Premadasa Mudunkotuwa,
the first Masters holder from Bhathkanda Music College, India and Kumari
Bothota, folk singer at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
Samitha first had her education at Shripali Vidyalaya, Horana and
then entered Buddhist Ladies College. She excelled in music under her
parents, and learnt dancing under Piyasara Shilpadhipathy. Her father
was the `Guru’ of many celebrated singers of today. Samitha being the
youngest candidate, passed the Visharada exam at the age of 16 years.
Unlike others, she had to face the examination for nearly two hours
conducted before the Indian maestros who came to Sri Lanka as examiners.
Since she was the daughter of the `Guru’ they took a longer time to come
to an impartial decision about her talents.
In 1988, the famous musician, Rohana Weerasinghe who happened to be
one of the judges at an All Island folk singing competition held in
Colombo, was quick to recognise the talents of the pretty school going
teenager Samitha who won the first prize at the competition. Until
Rohana reached her residence at Horana to meet her parents to get
permission for her to act and sing the theme song of Mapitigama’s newest
teledrama `Ira Paya’ for which he was the music director, he didn’t know
who her family was. “No wonder I had an intuition about her, not knowing
she is the only offspring of the talented Mudunkotuwa duo,” admitted
Rohana when talking about Samitha.
`Ganga and Nishshanka’ was her second tele drama in which she sang
and acted. Lakshman Wijesekara was her music director. In 1995, after
her marriage, she took part in the single episode tele `Mudiyanse Mama’
based on Martin Wickeremasinghe’s short story. Her last tele drama was `Dala
Rala Pela’ directed by Chandraratne Mapitigama in 1998.
Samitha released cassettes - `Ira Paya’ (1988), `Rosa Mal Mawathe’
(1991) and `Kolompure’ (1992). `Muthu Kumari’ (1995), `Adara Sulanga’
(1998) and `Sansaranya’ (2002) were her CDs. Her talents have won her
acclaim in Sri Lanka as well as abroad. Any Sri Lankan expatriate who
lived here at least till the end of 1980s, cannot forget her charming
pretty face and her melodious voice.Athula who broke many thousands of
hearts of his female fans by tying the knot with Samitha, has also tried
his talent not only in singing and music, but before the tele camera as
well. Ashoka Handagama’s `Synthetic Sihinaya’ was his first tele in
1988, and Senesh Bandara’s `Arunoda Kalapaya’ (2004) was the second. Roy
De Silva’s film `Salamuthu Pinna’ was his first ever experience of the
Silver Screen. `Ran Palase’ (1988), `Ran Podak’ (1991) and `Sihine’
(1994) were the cassettes he has released so far. `Surya Nagare’ (1998),
`Kale Ne Muthuth’ (2005) and `E-mail Kavi Kariya’ (2005) were among the
CDs of his that made a hit.
`Sanda tharu mal mata gena dun’... Athula starts humming the duet he
sang with Samitha for their daughter, Kavindya Devindi, composed by
Rambukkana Siddhartha Thera and music by Rohana Weerasinghe on the day
of her birth. `Sanda sumuduyi mudu sisilayi’, the song they sang for
their son, Shane Athula will also be a hit soon.
“Samitha,” he went on to say, “to me she is just my wife who looks
after my children and me. I’m really proud of her talents, and it was
she who was behind my success after our marriage. She is a cool
cucumber, and rarely looses her temper. I get angry a bit more,” he
“Samitha keeps a watchful eye on our children and looks after their
studies and so on as I have a little time to spend with them with my
busy schedules. She is a wife who never nags. Whatever she does is for
the family,” says Athula.
Question: You with a sporty mischievous outer appearance, you seem
to be a deep thinker.
Athula: Yes. I’m totally different from my outward appearance.
From the time I was a teenager I got the opportunity to associate with
friends who were more older than I. Hence I also used to think like them
and eventually became mature before my age. That was why I decided to
leave `Sunflower’ after my marriage as I knew it would be difficult to
carry on a married life while playing in a band. It was a big risk as I
was not sure whether I could survive as a soloist. Also it was a hard
decision to leave my friends who were with me for so long. I gave early
notice to them to find another keyboardist for the band much to their
displeasure. I played with the band, on my wedding day March 25. That
was my last day with them. Like that I have made decisions over what
I’ve felt right. I dont like to postpone things.
Even having meals I do it on time. I have my breakfast at 6.30 am,
lunch at 12.30-1.00 pm and dinner at 6.30-7.00 pm. I take my meals on
time even if I’m hungry or not, to finish that session off.
Question: Your future plans?
Athula: Both Samitha and I don’t have intensive plans for the
future. To make a better future for our children is our main hope. She
helps out in her parents’ music institution.
Whatever the help we can render to the new comers we don’t hesitate
to do it. At present I work as the music director of `Derana Dream Star’
programme on Derana TV. I’ve lined up my `A*O2’ band for that. I hope to
do a musical concert and release a CD with Samitha next year. Though I
have not much time to attend to charity work, both Samitha and I have
taken part in many fund raising shows, especially in the campaigns for