Channel surfing in Sri Lanka during prime time will give you a montage of various women (both Sri Lankan and Indian), hysterically bawling, complaining about one problem or the other, or simply shooting daggers at the camera - shot from at least 5-6 angles. Per actress.
Standing out among the host of such mind numbing TV shows is Koombiyo - a breath of fresh air - which since October last year has been voted the top rated TV series by IMDb (internet movie database) users. Directed by Lakmal Dharmaratne and starring Thumindu Dodantenna, Yureni Noshika and Kalana Gunasekera in pivotal roles, Koombiyo chronicles the life of Jehan and Priyantha who attempt to maneuver their way through a dog-eat-dog world.
The biggest appeal for this show, maybe, its short runtime per episode - which at approximately 20 minutes, give or take, packs a punch in its offering while maintaining momentum. The actors embody their characters well and are convincing in their roles. The thematic undercurrents are relevant. Together, the elements make for entertaining viewing. Is it perfect? Of course not. No TV show is. Koombiyo, however, does a darn good job and is without a doubt a game changer. All that's missing now are English subtitles that will make the show accessible to a wider international audience.
Life Online spoke to a few fans on the show on why they love the show and why they find it so appealing.
“I religiously watched Koombiyo from Russia and got my friends here to watch a few episodes whilst explaining the plot and even they were hooked. I’d like to wholeheartedly congratulate the creators of this drama series. It must be the best Sri Lankan tele-drama I have watched. The story line is different than the usual tragic love story dramas. In a way Koombiyo stimulates your intellect. It keeps you guessing about what is going to happen next.”
“Koombiyo is the only Sinhala drama I watched from beginning to end. So why I think it’s great is because it’s different every episode. You think you know what’s going on but the plot twists in each episode. It kept me on the edge just trying to figure out what’s going on. And the sense of humor is beyond the lackluster usual Sinhala dramas.
“I would say Koombiyo is the best Sri Lankan tele-drama I watched after maybe Dandubasnamanaya and Doo Daruwo. Koombiyo has an exciting story line which is able to keep spectators engaged and entertained throughout. It has action, comedy, romance all in it and is balanced well. It was like the Game of Thrones in Sri Lanka. Every week fans couldn't wait for next week's episode and now we are all waiting for the next season because the last episode clearly indicated that there will be another season.”
“It is very different than other Sinhala TV series.”
“My father watches it. Into it so much that he downloads it and watches it like we watch TV series. So even 50+ year old men are into it I guess.”
“A realistic portrayal of society today. The use of weapons and the political game, switching sides for benefits, using people for their advantage is perfectly directed. Waiting for season 2!”
“Reality in a tele-drama unlike the other unreal stuff we watch. Several events in just 57 episodes.”
“So I watched a couple since it’s on YouTube. It's definitely different from all those dumb regular TV shows. Imdb rank is possibly just the Sri Lankan diaspora click-baiting it to reach a high rank. You know that “lankawe show ekak ne bung”. But it's definitely more engaging than a weeping housewife kitchen drama.”