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 Sri Lankan film actor, film director and politician.

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)[2] 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.[3] 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[1][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)


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.


Fonseka died at the age of 68 at his residence in Ja ela.[3] [4][5]


  1. ^ a b c d Kumara, Nuwan Nayanajith. ගාමිණි – විශ්වීය රූපණවේදයක ආසියානු පුරෝගාමියා. Sarasa Publishing Private Limited. p. 295. ISBN 955-8811-61-0. 
  2. ^ "D. S. Jayasekera – the consummate educator The Chief Editor, Sunday Observer 6th August 2006.". Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Sagarayak Meda". 
  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