Sembuge Don Shelton Gamini Fonseka
Born: March 21, 1936 in Dehiwela
Death: September 30, 2004 in Ja-ela
School: S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia
First film: Rekhawa
First film direction: Parasathumal
Other film directions: Parasathu Mal (1966), Uthumaneni (1980), Mayurige Kathawa (1980), Sagarayak Mada (1981), Ra Manamali (1981), Sakwithi Suwaya (1982), Koti Waligaya (1986), Nomiyena Minisun (1994) and Anthima Reya’ (1998)
The 16th death anniversary of Sri Lanka’s film legend Gamini Fonseka falls on Wednesday, September 30. A special commemorative event will be held at the National Film Corporation on September 30 to coincide with the death anniversary.
Gamini - the legendary actor, director, artist and lyricist was a product of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. He entered films in the early fifties as a member of the technical crew of Dr. Lester James Peries. His first screen appearance came in Rekhawa in a crowd scene and he later portrayed a considerable role in Lester’s Sandeshaya taking him to unparalleled heights in the cinema world.
Filmgoers would never forget the memorable roles played by Gamini in films like Parasathumal, Welikathara, Chandiya, Nidhanaya, Soora Chawraya, Athma Pooja. Hulawali, Sagarayak Meda, Uthumaneni and several others.
Almost a hundred films he acted in were box office hits especially during the sixties and seventies. Gamini also sang a popular song for the Radio Ceylon with Christie Leonard Perera. The song ‘Hitha Yana Atha Yannata’ penned by Karunaratne Abeysekara was set to tune by Mohamed Sally.
Almost a hundred films Gamini Fonseka acted in were box office hits
The award-winning star, who was 68 at the time of his death, was also a fine lyricist who penned some memorable songs like ‘Ahimi Unath Numba Lande’, ‘Bambarindu Bambarindu’ and ‘Sudo Mang Adarei’. His credentials as a director were highlighted beyond doubt in Parasathumal (1966) and then he followed it up with more controversial cinematic creations like Sagarayak Meda, Uthumaneni, Sakwithi Suwaya, Koti Waligaya and Mayurige Kathawa.
Text: Ramesh Uvais