Gamini Fonseka


Kala Keerthi Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka (Sinhala:සෙම්බුගේ ගාමිණි ශෙල්ටන් ෆොන්සේකා) (21 March 1936 - 30 September 2004 as ගාමිණී ෆොන්සේකා), was a Sri Lankan film actor, film director and politician.[1] Often considered as the Greatest Actor in the Sinhala Cinema,[2] Fonseka dominated the cinema in 1960s and 1970s to bagged Best Actor award in multiple times.[3] Apart from acting, he was the Deputy Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament from 1989 to 1994 and Governor of the North-Eastern Province from 1995 to 1998.


Gamini Fonseka

MP
Gamini Fonseka.jpg
Gamini Fonseka
3rd Governor of North Eastern Province
In office
13 January 1995 – 20 October 1998
Preceded byLionel Fernando
Succeeded byAsoka Jayawardena
Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka
In office
9 March 1989 – 24 June 1994
Preceded byNorman Waidyaratne
Succeeded byAnil Moonesinghe
Member of Parliament
for Matara District
In office
9 March 1989 – 24 June 1994
Majority19,618 Preferential Votes
Personal details
Born
Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka

(1936-03-21)21 March 1936
Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
Died30 September 2004(2004-09-30) (aged 68)
Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
Political partyUnited National Party
Spouse(s)Dorothy Margaret Valancia (m. 1962)
Children6
EducationS. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia
OccupationActor, film director, politician
Known forCrowned king of Sri Lankan cinema

He is widely regarded as the King of Sri Lankan cinema history and first Crowned King out of three (Joe Abeywickrama and Tony Ranasinghe are others) to die.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Fonseka was born on 21 March 1936 in Dehiwela the third child of William and Daisy Fonseka. Starting school at a Presbyterian institution, he moved on to S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. As a youngster, he gained repute for imitating administrative figures at school. Foneska also prospered in the study of the Sinhala language and literature (under the guidance of D. S. Jayasekera, who is also reputed to have introduced him to acting in stage plays)[5] and placed in the upper fourth for a Sinhala literature prize. The award for this achievement was presented to him by S. Thomas' graduate and Sri Lankan Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake. Foneska was also an accomplished cricket player.

Fonseka was married to his longtime girlfriend Dorothy Margaret Valencia also known as "Tina" in 1962 and had four children Chamila, Thanuja, Dammith and Ishara. Many years later he also fathered Kaushalya and Poornima. He remained married to Tina until his death in September 2004.

He was married to Angela Senaviratna

His son Damith was a popular film actor in 1990s. He acted in many commercially successful films such as Chandi Rejina, Ira Handa Illa, Chandiyage Putha, Cheriyo Darling, and Raththaran Malli.

Fonseka died on 30 September 2004 at the age of 68 at his residence in Ja-Ela.[6][7][8]

Film careerEdit

Fonseka abruptly ended his secondary education and dove into the film industry. He originally wanted to be a cameraman and in this line worked as the second Assistant Director on David Lean's Bridge on the River Kwai and Lester James Peries's Rekava (1956). Fonseka was first on-screen in Rekava as part of a crowd. He also did some work on an English television series filmed in Sri Lanka.

Fonseka's first credited acting role was in Daiwa Yogaya (1959) in which he played a small role. Lester James Peries Sandesaya (1960) first established him in a leading role. With films like Adata Wediya Heta Hondai, Ranmuthu Duwa, Getawarayo, and Dheevarayo Fonseka achieved popularity and became a box-office draw.[9]

Seeking to not play just commercial roles, Fonseka appeared as Jinadasa in the groundbreaking Gamperaliya (1964) working again with Peries. In Titus Thotawatte's Chandiya, Fonseka played the first anti-hero role in Sri Lankan cinema and in Mike Wilson's Sorungeth Soru (1968), he played the role of Jamis Banda, the Sinhala James Bond.[10] In 1964 at the first awards ceremony of the United Ceylon Fan Club held on 12 January at the Royal College Hall, Colombo, Gamini won the Best Actor award in 1963 for his role as Jinadasa in the film 'Gamperaliya'. This was Gamini's first award.[11]

Fonseka also tried out directing many accolades. His debut directorial work Parasathu Mal was warmly received. He directed a political satire Sagarayak Meda.[12] The other films that were directed by him include Koti Waligaya and Nomiyana Minissu. He entered television as well and became the best teledrama actor for the role he played in Kalu Saha Sudu.[10]

Fonseka's role as Willie Abeynayake in Nidhanaya (1970) and as ASP Wicrema Randeniya in "Welikathara" are considered his crowning achievement. Both films have been recognised with Presidential awards among the 10 best Sri Lankan film. In 1980 Fonseka played Jaffna Tamil clerk Nadarajah in Sunil Ariyaratne's Sarungale. He has also has written some songs for the movies Sarungale (1979) and Mayurige Kathawa (1980).

Political careerEdit

In 1989, Fonseka entered politics after he joined the United National Party. He was elected to Parliament in 1989 as a representative of the Matara District with the highest number of preferential votes and was appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Sri Lanka. He was later appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga as Governor of the former North-East Province.

Awards[13]Edit

Year Award Film
1964 Best Actor Gamperaliya
1965 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Deewarayo
1966 Popular Actor (Swarna Sanka)
1967 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Parasathu Mal
1967 Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award
1968 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Sorungeth Soru
1968 Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award
1969 Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award
1972 Popular Actor (Deepashika Award)
1976 Popular Actor Kasthuri Suwanda (Sarasaviya Peoples Award)
(He rejected this award)[14]
1980 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Sarungale (The Best Lyricist award is being awarded to Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne
for the song "Bambarindu" by mistake. But he corrected it and handed it over to Gamini Fonseka)[14]
1980 Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award
1981 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Uthumaneni
1981 Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award
1982 Sarasaviya Best Director Award Sagarayak Mada
1982 Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award
1986 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Yuganthaya
1986 Sarasawiya Rana Thisara Award
1986 Best Actor (President Awards) Yuganthaya
1987 Reviewers Award
1995 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Nomiyena Minisun
1997 U.W Sumathipala Commemorating Award

FilmographyEdit

As directorEdit

He has directed 10 films across many genre.[13]

  • Parasathu Mal (1966) [15]
  • Uthumaneni (1980) [16]
  • Mayurige Kathawa (1980)
  • Sagarayak Mada (1981)
  • Ra Manamali (1981)
  • Sakwithi Suwaya (1982)
  • Koti Waligaya (1986)
  • Nomiyena Minisun (1994)
  • Anthima Reya (1998)

As actorEdit

Until his death, Fonseka acted on 108 films, where 86 of them as lead actor and 19 more as a supporting actor. He directed 10 films and produced 2 films.[17]

Year Film Role
1959 Daiwayogaya Manamoola
1960 Sandesaya Deputy
1960 Pirimiyek Nisa
1962 Daskon
1962 Ranmuthu Duwa Bandu [18]
1963 Gamperaliya Jinadasa [19]
1963 Adata Vediya Heta Hondai Gamini [20]
1964 Getawarayo Jayasena Fernando
1964 Dheewarayo Francis
1965 Chandiya Chutte [21]
1965 Sudo Sudu Adiriyan
1965 Adarayai-Karunawai
1965 Satha Panaha Nimal [22]
1965 Yatagiya Dawasa
1966 Senasuma Kothanada
1966 Seethala Wathura
1966 Sigiri Kashyapa Kashyapa [23]
1966 Parasathu Mal Bonny [24]
1966 Oba Dutu Da
1966 Sanasili Suvaya
1967 Sorungeth Soru James Banda
1967 Ipadune Aye
1967 Rena Girawu Disa [25]
1967 Okkoma Hari Sudantha / Aaron (dual roles) [26]
1967 Sura Chauraya Veera
1968 Dehadaka Duka
1969 Oba Nethi Nam
1969 Baduth Ekka Horu
1969 Surayangeth Suraya
1969 Paara Walalu
1969 Mee Masso
1970 Aathma Puja Dual Acting
1970 Ohoma Hodada Sirimal and Siri (dual) [27]
1971 Hathara Denama Surayo Podde [28]
1971 Welikathara ASP Randeniya
1972 Sahanaya Piyal [29]
1972 Nidhanaya Willie Abeynayake [30]
1972 Edath Suraya Adath Suraya Gamini
1972 Adare Hithenawa Dakkama Ricky [31]
1972 Miringuva
1973 Hondata Hondai
1973 Sadahatama Oba Mage
1973 Hodama Velava
1973 Hodai Narakai
1974 Kasthuri Suwanda Kamal [32]
1974 Onna Babo Billo Enawa
1974 Sanakeliya Priyantha [33]
1975 Hitha Hoda Minihek
1975 Raththaran Amma Dual Acting
1975 Awa Soya Adare Gamini [34]
1975 Rajagedara Paraviyo
1975 Cyril Malli
1975 Suraya Surayamai Gamini / Frank [35]
1976 Kawuda Rajaa Manuel [36]
1976 Hulavali Dhaara
1976 Nilla Soya Dhamme [37]
1976 Nayana
1977 Yakadaya Sumanadasa aka Yakadaya [38]
1977 Chin Chin Nona [39]
1977 Deviyani Oba Koheda Father Sebastian [40]
1977 Chandi Putha Gamini [41]
1978 Chandi Shyama
1978 Asha Daasin Nalin
1978 Hitha Mithura
1978 Apsara
1978 Seetha Devi Ravi Ranaraja aka Ravana
1979 Amal Biso Bayisa
1979 Minisun Athara Minihek Maithree
1979 Neelakadalin Orathile (Tamil film)
1979 Sarungale Tamil clerk Nadarajah [42]
1980 Mal Kekulu Manjula [43]
1980 Uthumaneni Siripala
1980 Mayurige Kathawa
1980 Sankapali Sanka
1981 Chanchala Rekha Sirisena
1981 Thavalama
1981 Bandura Mal Thirakotuwe Arachchi
1981 Ridee Thella Podda
1981 Sagarayak Meda Dual Role Dr.Moladanda & Frederick Ramanayake
1982 Sakvithi Suvaya Bucket Harry
1982 Miss Mallika
1982 Hello Shyama
1985 Yuganthaya Simon Kabalana
1986 Yali Hamuvennai
1986 Koti Waligaya Police officer Sarath Ranasinghe
1986 Puja A condemned
1987 Sathyagrahanaya Minister [44]
1987 Ahinsa Himself
1989 Shakthiya Obai Amme
1991 Uthura Dakuna Ramanayake
1993 Sajant Nallathambi Police chief
1994 Nomiyena Minisun Colonel Ranabahu
1994 Shakthi Police chief
1994 Pavana Raluviya
1995 Mama Baya Ne Shyama
1995 Demodara Palama Chutte [45]
1996 Loku Duwa Marasinghe [46]
1997 Apaye Thathpara Asu Haradahak
1998 Anthima Reya Linton Cooray
Foreign Movies
Himmatwala (1987) Pakistan

As film producerEdit

Year Film Director
1967 Sorungeth Soru Mike Wilson
1972 Sahanaya J. Selvarathnam

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Actors of Sinhala cinema - Gamini Fonseka". Sinhala Cinema Database. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  2. ^ "The universal symbol of Sinhala cinema: On the occasion of Gamini Fonseka's 85th birthday". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  3. ^ "In memory of Gamini". sundaytimes. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Trinity of Sinhala cinema". Divaina. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  5. ^ "D. S. Jayasekera – the consummate educator The Chief Editor, Sunday Observer 6th August 2006". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Tributes to cinema legend Gamini flow in". BBC News. 30 September 2004.
  7. ^ "Nation says goodbye to silver screen hero". BBC News. 3 October 2004.
  8. ^ "Sinhala film legend Gamini dies". BBC News. 30 September 2004.
  9. ^ "The Great Harvest of the Performance of a Film Excellence". Silumina. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  10. ^ a b "It's 16 years". Hiru FM. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Gamini: the most prolific stage personality in Hela cinema". Silumina. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Sagarayak Meda". www.imdb.com.
  13. ^ a b Kumara, Nuwan Nayanajith. ගාමිණි – විශ්වීය රූපණවේදයක ආසියානු පුරෝගාමියා. Sarasa Publishing Private Limited. p. 295. ISBN 955-8811-61-0.
  14. ^ a b "Sinhala Cinema Wanshakathaawa" by "A. D. Nuwan Nayanajith Kumara"
  15. ^ "All about "Parasathu Mal"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  16. ^ "All about 'Uthumaneni'". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Gamini Fonseka filmography". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  18. ^ "All about the film Ranmuthu Duwa". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  19. ^ "All about the blockbuster film "Gamperaliya"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  20. ^ "All about the film "Adata Wadiya Heta Hondai"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  21. ^ "All about "Chandiya"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  22. ^ "All about the film "Satha Panaha"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  23. ^ "All about Seegiri Kashyapa". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  24. ^ "The western sky fades to red paintings". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  25. ^ "All about "Rena Giraw"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  26. ^ "All about the film "Okkoma Hari"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  27. ^ "All about the film "Ohoma Hondada"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Hadata Wadata Hari Soorayo: Hathara Denama Soorayo film". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  29. ^ "All about Sahanaya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  30. ^ "40 years for the greatest film ever produced in Sinhala cinema". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Obata Thiyena Adare". sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  32. ^ "All about the film "Kasthuri Suwanda"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  33. ^ "All about Senakeliya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  34. ^ "All about Awa Soya Adare". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  35. ^ "All about the film "Suraya Surayamai"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  36. ^ "All about the film "Kawuda Raja"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  37. ^ "All about Nilla Soya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  38. ^ "All about Yakadaya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  39. ^ "Chin Chin Nona, who came before Tom Pachaya". sarasaviya. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  40. ^ "Deviyani Oba Koheda". sarasaviya. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  41. ^ "All about Chandi Putha". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  42. ^ "All about Sarungale". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  43. ^ "All about the film "Mal Kekulu"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  44. ^ "All about Sathyagrahanaya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  45. ^ "'Demodara Palama' in memory of Gamini". Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  46. ^ "Loku Duwa appears on Rupavahini". Sunday Times. Retrieved 8 December 2019.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Lionel Fernando
Governor of North Eastern Province
1995–1998
Succeeded by
Asoka Jayawardena