Unique family of radio personalities - Bhashini, Palitha and Rathna | Sunday Observer

Unique family of radio personalities - Bhashini, Palitha and Rathna

Left to right: Rathna, Bhashini, Dr. Palitha and Savain
Left to right: Rathna, Bhashini, Dr. Palitha and Savain

Sri Lanka’s national radio station – the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) – a studio with a three- year-old tiny tot before the mike- she is presenting a program- her little voice resonating in the hearts of hundreds listeners, children and adults alike.

A unique performance by a highly talented little girl, Bhashini Samarasinghe. She was presenting an item, Binduge Dinapotha (Bindu’s Diary) on Radio Sangarawa the program presented by her father Palitha Smarasinghe , a reputed relief announcer and presenter over the National airwaves. Making the program even more unusual was the fact that her mother Rathna was the producer of the program. Thus, was the birth of a talented and versatile radio presenter under the loving and meticulous guidance of her parents.

Hectic life

Today, Bhashini is an award winning program producer and presenter with Shree FM, the radio channel she joined as a young girl. Shree FM ws then known as Sawana FM.

Incredible as it may seem that a three-year-old could present a radio program, in Bhashini’s case it was not that unusual for having both parents as Radio Personalities she was literally born to ride over the airwaves.

A radio producer’s life is hectic and mother Rathna ran around from studio to library and many other places with tiny Bashini clutching her hand. If for some reason like having her hands full of tapes Mother Rathna could not give her hand to Bhashini to hold, she would make her daughter hold the fall of her saree.

After her school day at Visaka Vidyalaya was over instead of going home Bhashini came to SLBC and spent her time there till her parents finished their shifts. So, SLBC became familiar to her as her home.

Veteran producers Sugathapala de Silva and Premakeerthi de Alwis chose Bhashini to voice children’s characters. In fact de Alwis used to carry the little girl to the studio and place her in her seat before the mike. Gradually, Bhashini rose to be a Grade 1 child artiste.

This era saw the breaking of new ground in Sri Lankan broadcasting with the establishment of the first private radio station Sawana, later Shree FM. It was quite by accident that Bhashini and Sawanadiscovered each other. Bhashini and mum Rathna had gone to Liberty Plaza where another radio personality of the day, Stanley Fernando was counducting auditions for recruitment of announcers and presenters for Sawana FM. This attracted Bhashini and she stood in the queue of the would - be -aspirants for radio fame. Soon, she was called in and given to read. Though she was still young, Bhashini had an excellent grasp announcing techniques and flawless pronunciation. She passed the audition with flying colours and became a member of the Sawana family.

Bhashini was now working as a relief presenter for both SLBC and Sawana. Suddenly, she was faced with a problem. The SLBC hierarchy decreed that she had to choose either SLBC or Sawana.

Bhashini was in a quandary as she loved both places.But the more modern studio facilities attracted her and she opted to join Sawana, now Shree FM.

Many programs

She has had a great career with Shree FM rising to her present position of Manager.

At SLBC, she participated in many programs presented by her parents such as Binduge Dinapotha ( at three years),Saraswathi Mandapaya, Muslim Kantha (the first ever radio program exclusively for Muslim ladies), Supena Prarthana and Radio Magazine. Pipena Kusum, Nelum Pohottu, Sannaliyane and Dhiganthayen Madhura Gee are some of the notable programs she presented on behalf of Sawana. Wishma Nimeshaya, Mathu Sambandayi, Tea Time Break, Shree Ran Wiya, Hindi Top Ten and Tharuwak Samaga Waruwak and Gee Shree Chart Show are among her very popular programs presented on Shree FM. Bhashini has also been involved in drama and dubbing.

Among the many accolades that Bhashini has won are: Best Child Actor Award 1989 for the Nedeyo Teledrama(SLBC), Best Female Presenter of the Year – 2006 – Mass Media Awards, Best Presenter and Best Producer of the Year 2008 (Government and Information), Best Presenter and Best Presenter and Best Producer 2009- Madhyawedini Awards.

This talented radio personality has won several scholarships, two BBC Scholarships in 2009 and 2012, a scholarship to City Radio Dubai in 2006. She also had a study stint at Nepal Radio in 2007.

In 2009, when she went on the BBC scholarship her study was focused on Global Media Links and Relationships.

Bhashini also had a period of study at the University of Rajasthan where she focused on enhancing her knowledge in Hindi.

In 2018, she was also chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the ‘Young Parliament ‘ in Hyderabad, India. In 2012 , she took wing to Seoul, South Korea to Radio Seoul where she researched radio techniques for the future.

Her work experience includes tenures as Manager, at Shree FM and program manager V FM, Presenter Shree FM and Sawana FM and presenter, SLBC. She is also an experienced dubbing artiste, writer , film director and editor.

Among the many types of Media Bhashini feels that radio is what tugs at our heartstrings the most According to her, what comes over the radio waves makes us feel and think. We wait for the next few words or episode to see what happens next.

Parents

Today, happily married to Engineer Rasika Adhikari and the mother of a young son Savain a Royalist, Bhashini is the epitome of the modern professional balancing career and family with aplomb.

For relaxation, Bhashini loves watching movies , travelling and above all spending time with her precious son.

What of Bhashini’s parents? Veteran and well reputed radio personalities Dr Palitha and Rathna Samarasinghe.

Dr.Palitha Samarasinghe, a Senior Superintendent of Police was sent as an undercover intelligence officer to combat corruption at SLBC. His guise was that of an guest announcer and presenter. Palitha took to his new career like ‘ a duck to water’.

Among the popular programs he presented was Radio Sangarawa where he gave daughter Bhashini the first opportunity as a presenter. To him goes the distinction of introducing eminent personalities, such as Professor Nandadsa Kodagoda to SLBC. nowana mathaka satahan was another highly acclaimed program featuring people, such as Dr. E. W. Adhikaram and C. W. W. Kannangara.

Dr. Palitha Samarasinghe is also a successful author. Godage publishers have published a series of books by Samarasinghe under the title Mey Sri Lanka Guwan Viduli Sewayai and has reserved a whole shelf for Samarasinghe’s publications.

Bhashini’s mother Rathna Samarasinghe boasts of 34 years at SLBC and after retirement, even now, works as a guest announcer.

Among her popular programs were Saraswathi Mandapaya and Supena Prarathana where daughter Bhashini too participated.

Today, she is the Secretary of the radio Drama Artistes Guild and works tirelessly for their welfare. For her invaluable services to SLBC, Rathna Samarasinghe was awarded the Kalabhooshana award.

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