10 Popular TV Programmes That Any Sri Lankan 90s Kid Would Know.

There was a time that having a television at home was a big deal – almost the same as owning a Lamborghini these days. Unlike now, there were only a couple of channels and yet they managed to produce some of the best, detailed and entertaining programmes of all time. 
Let's take a walk down the memory lane, and get all nostalgic, shall we? If you're a 90s kid, these names should bring back a lot of fond memories of your childhood. 


Adorned with the mesmerizing voice of Saman Athaudahetti, Manohari wasn't just another music programme on TV. It was more of a metaphorical poem. Aside from presenting some of the best instrumental and vocal talents that we've ever seen, this programme managed to create a whole generation of people who admire the beauty of local music.

Instead of limiting themselves to a single studio, Manohari was taped as a live programme with an audience, in different locations. Thilanka Hotel – Kandy and Galleface Hotel – Colombo to name a couple.

The Siha Shakthi band led by Ananda Perera was quite the buzz back then, and they were one of the bands who directed music for Manohari. The popular musician Jagath Wickremasinghe also contributed to the same aspect.

This programme gave exposure and the opportunity to both experts and novels in the industry at the time – from Pandit W. D. Amaradeva, and Clarence Wijewardena to Nirosha Virajini. 

Kada Malla

A deep, solemn voice that conquered the television, radio and stage – Arun Dias Bandaranaike is like the James Earl Jones in Sri Lanka. Kada Malla was a documentary programme on television that he hosted. Capturing things in our ordinary lives and presenting them from an interesting perspective, it was one brilliant programme on Jathika Rupavahini we had the privilege of watching back then. 

Daintee Rasa Pana 

Source: contact-lk.blogspot.com, srilankan-style.com

Ah, Daintee toffee! One of the many, many sweets that us 90s kids used to gorge on. Daintee Rasa Pana, on the other hand, was a programme on ITN, sponsored by them. This was actually a competition for little ones, and at the end of that, win or lose, you get boxes and boxes of Daintee toffee as gifts. 

It was through this programme that we heard the loving, energetic voices of Thilaka Ranasinghe and Dharma Sri Wickremasinghe.

Namayayi Paha

The charismatic voice of Hema Nalin Karunaratne, combined with his meticulous attention to detail created this aptly named program – "Namayayi Paha". It was another superb documentary programme that was broadcasted on Jathika Rupavahini every Sunday, sharp at 09.05 PM. Highlighting the rare, unusual things that one might notice in their day-to-day life, it was absolutely interesting.


Thumula namunukula giri hisa – udula sanda madala dutu wita nawathunaa thamayi
Kimada mea tharam ea gana hinahennata kaaranaa
Muhuna rathuwelaa denethin kandulu panina thuru eliyata
Ohoma hinaawenakota umba lassanai umaa
This is actually the first song that pops into my head when I think about Yathra. Another music programme on Jathika Rupawahini, it was a turning point for a whole bunch of up-and-coming musicians in Sri Lanka. Plus, it was more or less of an attempt to kick-off the music video culture in the industry, as each and every one of these songs had beautifully scripted music videos.
Aside from the above song by Saman Jananath, "Wasanthaye Mal" by Iman Perera, "Iwan Paulusha" by Apsara De Silva were some of the many songs that came to us through this programme. 


In 1999, a TV channel in Sri Lanka won an international award for a music programme for the first time in history. The Sony Video Contest held in Tokyo, Japan, offered this award to "Miyurusara", a production by Jathika Rupawahini. The songs we watched in this programme had some touching music videos too.

I remember enjoying "Senkadagala Dilena" by Rodni Warnakulasooriya, and "Matha Wara Waranindunta" by Rathna Lalani during an episode they broadcasted during avurudu (new year) season.


Remember this song? This is the theme song of the Muthuhara, which is in fact, known as the first children's programme in the television history of Sri Lanka. Muthuhara Club Network was established in the 80s and with the help of Jathika Rupavahini, it expanded to cities, town and villages all over the country.

Showcasing the talents of the children and youth of Muthuhara Club Network was the purpose of this show. 


During the late 90s, there was a rapid change in the music industry in Sri Lanka. A range of new music bands and singers with different music styles were born during this period. Mandakini programme aired on Jathika Rupavahini was an opportunity for those musicians to present their talents while generating a fan base for themselves. 

Kalaa Rasaanga

Hosted by Francis Wanniarachchi, the veteran stage drama producer and actor, Kalaa Rasanga was a programme that appreciated the stage drama culture in Sri Lanka. Him being an expert in the same area added an extra layer of depth to this show. 

Nandana Windana 

"Nandana Vindana" on Jathika Rupavahini was like an icon that represents Sri Lanka's classical music. Many amateur and veteran singers and musicians could be spotted in this programme. 

These are 10 of the many interesting TV programmes we watched back then. If you can remember more of them or had a favourite, please do let us know in the comments. 

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