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5 members of State Drama Advisory Council, resign!

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Five members of the State Drama Advisory Council including iits chairman – Parakrama Niriella have decided to hand in their resignation letters today (Dec.22) as a mark of protest against dramatist Douglas Siriwardana not being given a lifetime award.

Accordingly,  Tharanga Dandeniya, Wasantha Vittachi, Ratna Lalani Jayakodi and Pujitha the Mel, along with Chairman Parakrama Niriella are to hand in their resignations to Professor Praneeth Abhayasundara, the Chairman of Arts Council of Sri Lanka. Copies of the resignations are also to be handed over to the Secretary of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs.

Veteran artiste Parakrama Niriella has stated they were resigning as they are unable to function independently as members of the State Drama Advisory Council anymore.

Speaking at the 50th State Drama Festival held on Tuesday which was also attended by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Niriella publicly accused Minister Vidura Wickremanayake of overruling decisions taken by the Council. 

“In a country purportedly governed by democratic principles, we, as individuals attuned to the pulse of art, proposed the recognition and presentation of awards to three local artists of international acclaim at this event. This mirrors the precedent set in the previous year when three other artists were similarly honoured,” he said.

Although dramatist Douglas Siriwardana was named by the Council for a life time award at the recently concluded State Drama Festival, Niriella claimed that the dramatist had been informed by the Cultural Affairs Department in writing that due to a policy decision made, he would be presented with the award only in the coming year.

According to Niriella, when inquired he was informed by the Ministry that the decision had been taken based on an order from Minister Vidura Wickramanayaka.

Niriella remarked that such an incident was unprecedented in Sri Lankan drama and considered it a great insult to the dramatist nominated for the award.

(Source : Mawbima)

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Popular Indian singer Pankaj Udhas no more

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Popular ghazal and playback singer – Pankaj Udhas has passed away aged 72. 

The Udhas family confirmed his death on Monday was due to a prolonged illness.

Taking to Instagram, Pankaj Udhas’ daughter Nayaab shared a statement on Instagram which read, “With a heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness.”

He had passed away around 11am at the Breach Candy hospital, Indian media reports citing a family source.

 His last rites will be held on Tuesday. 

Pankaj is survived by wife Farida Udhas, daughters Nayaab and Reva Udhas, and brothers Nirmal and Manhar Udhas, who are also singers.

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Laugfs Gas prices to remain unchanged too

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LAUGFS Gas PLC has also decided not to revise the prices of domestic LP gas cylinders for the month of February 2024.

Accordingly, the current prices are as follows:
12.5kg cylinder – Rs. 4,740 
5kg cylinder – Rs. 1,900

The announcement comes hours after Litro Gas Lanka stating that they will not revise gas prices this month.

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Actress Poonam Pandey passes away

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Actress and model Poonam Pandey has passed away last night (Feb. 01) due to cervical cancer at the age of 32, according to her team who posted the news of her death on her Instagram handle.

Poonam made her feature film debut with Nasha, an erotic drama that was released in 2013. She made cameo appearances in films such as Love Is Poison (Kannada) and Aa Gaya Hero (Hindi). The actress also headlined the Telugu movie Malini & Co and The Journey of Karma.

She was also part of the television reality competition series Lock Upp.

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