Gamini Fonseka


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Gamini Fonseka
Gamini Fonseka.jpg
Born Gamini Fonseka
(1936-03-21)21 March 1936
Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
Died 30 September 2004(2004-09-30) (aged 68)
Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan

Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka (Sinhala:සෙම්බුගේ ගාමිනි ශෙල්ටන් ෆොන්සෙකා) (1936–2004) was a a famous Sri Lankan film actor, film director and politician.

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.

Fonseka was born on 21 March 1936 in Dehiwela the third child of William and Daisy Fonseka. Starting school at a Presbyterian institution, Gamini moved on to S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia. As a youngster, he gained repute for imitating administrative figures at school. Gamini also prospered in the study of the Sinhala language and literature (under the guidance of Mr D.S. Jayasekera who is also reputed to have introduced him to acting in stage plays)[1] 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. Gamini was also an accomplished cricket player. Gamini Fonseka married 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.

Film career[edit]

Entrance to film and the 1960s[edit]

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.

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.

Fonseka also tried out directing to much accolade. His debut directorial work Parasathu Mal was warmly received. He directed a political satire Sagarayak Meda.[2] The other films that were directed by him include Kotiwaligaya and Nomiyana Minissu.He entered telecinema as well and became the best teledrama actor for the role he played in Kalu Saha Sudu.

He has also written some songs for the movies Sarungale (1979) and Mayurige Kathawa (1980)

1970s and 1980s[edit]

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.

Films Directed[3][edit]

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

Awards[3][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
1980 Sarasaviya Best Actor Award Sarungale
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

Political career[edit]

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.

Death[edit]

Fonseka died at the age of 68 at his residence in Ja ela.[2] [4][5]

Filmography[edit]

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.

Year Film Role
1959 Daiwayogaya
1960 Sandesaya Deputy
1960 Pirimiyek Nisa
1962 Daskon
1962 Ranmuthu Duwa
1963 Gamperaliya Jinadasa
1963 Adata Vediya Heta Hondai
1964 Getawarayo Jayasena Fernando
1964 Dheevarayo
1965 Chandiya Hoodlum
1965 Sudo Sudu
1965 Adarayai-Karunawai
1965 Satha Panaha
1965 Yatagiya Dawasa
1966 Senasuma Kothanada
1966 Seethala Wathura
1966 Sigiri Kashyapa
1966 Parasathu Mal
1966 Oba Dutu Da
1966 Sanasili Suvaya
1967 Sorungeth Soru
1967 Ipadune Ai
1967 Rena Girawu
1967 Okkoma Hari
1967 Sura Chauraya
1968 Dehadaka Duka
1969 Oba Nethi Nam
1969 Baduth Ekka Horu
1969 Surayangeth Suraya
1969 Paara Walalu
1969 Mee Masso
1970 Athma Puja
1970 Ohoma Hodada
1971 Hathara Denama Surayo
1971 Welikathara ASP Randeniya
1972 Sahanaya
1972 Nidhanaya Willie Abeynayake
1972 Edath Suraya Adath Suraya
1972 Adare Hithenawa Dakkama
1972 Miringuva
1973 Hondata Hondai
1973 Sadahatama Oba Mage
1973 Hodama Velava
1973 Hodai Narakai
1974 Kasthuri Suwanda
1974 Onna Babo Billo Enawa
1974 Sanakeliya
1975 Hitha Hoda Minihek
1975 Raththaran Amma
1975 Awa Soya Adare
1975 Rajagedara Paraviyo
1975 Siril Malli
1975 Suraya Surayamai
1976 Kauda Rajaa
1976 Hulavali Dhaara
1976 Nilla Soya
1976 Nayana
1977 Yakadaya
1977 Chin Chin Nona
1977 Deviyani Oba Koheda
1977 Chandi Putha
1978 Chandi Shyama
1978 Asha Daasin
1978 Hitha Mithura
1978 Apsara
1978 Seetha Devi
1979 Amal Biso
1979 Minisun Athara Minihek
1979 Sarungale Tamil clerk Nadarajah
1980 Mal Kekulu
1980 Uthumaneni
1980 Mayurige Kathawa
1980 Sankapali
1981 Chanchala Rekha
1981 Thavalama
1981 Bandura Mal
1981 Ridee Thella
1981 Sagarayak Meda
1982 Sakvithi Suvaya
1982 Miss Mallika
1982 Hallo Shyama
1985 Yuganthaya Simon Kabilana
1986 Yali Hamuvennai
1986 Koti Valigaya
1986 Puja
1987 Sathyagrahanaya
1987 Ahinsa
1989 Shakthiya Obai Amme
1991 Uthura Dakuna
1993 Sajant Nallathambi
1994 Nomiyena Minisun
1994 Shakthi
1994 Pavana Raluviya
1995 Mama Baya Ne Shyama
1995 Demodara Palama
1996 Loku Duwa
1997 Apaye Thathpara Asu Haradahak
1998 Anthima Reya

As Film Producer[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "D. S. Jayasekera – the consummate educator The Chief Editor, Sunday Observer 6th August 2006.". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Sagarayak Meda". www.imdb.com. 
  3. ^ a b Kumara, Nuwan Nayanajith. ගාමිණි – විශ්වීය රූපණවේදයක ආසියානු පුරෝගාමියා. Sarasa Publishing Private Limited. p. 295. ISBN 955-8811-61-0. 
  4. ^ "Nation says goodbye to silver screen hero". BBC News. 3 October 2004. 
  5. ^ "Sinhala film legend Gamini dies". BBC News. 30 September 2004. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • ගාමිණි – විශ්වීය රූපණවේදයක ආසියානු පුරෝගාමියා
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