9 October 1945|
Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
|Died||16 February 1988
Polhendoga, Sri Lanka
|Other names||Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaranatunga|
|Alma mater||St. Benedict's College |
|Years active||1968 – 1988|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) |
Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaranatunga (Sinhala: කොවිලගේ ඇන්ටන් විජය කුමාරණතුංග; 9 October 1945 – 16 February 1988), also known as Vijaya Kumaranatunga, was a popular Sri Lankan film actor and politician, married to former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaranatunga from 1978 to his assassination in 1988.
In 1978, Kumaranatunga married Chandrika Bandaranaike, daughter of the late Sri Lankan Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Vijaya Kumaranatunga and Chandrika Bandaranaike had two children,Yasodhara Kumaranatunga Walker (MD) and Vimukthi Kumaranatunga (Vet) in UK.
Kumaranatunga's first film was Hanthane Kathawa, in which he played the lead role. Since then, in a career that spanned nearly two decades, he acted in 114 films including Eya Den Loku Lamayek (1975), Ponmani (1977), Bambaru Avith (1977), Ganga Addara (1980), Baddegama (1980), Paradige (1980), Maha Gedara (1980), Kedapathaka Chaya (1989) and Kristu Charithaya (1990).He also won several awards. He was voted most popular actor in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 1988. That was a record in the Sri Lankan Cinema yet.Vijaya performed in one English film, The God King and one Tamil film, Nanguran during his career.He became a singer as well & won Sarasaviya Best Singer Award in two times for Saharawe Sihinaya Movie (1990) & Dolos Mahe Pahana Movie (1991)
He was also a politician, who started his political life in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. He later joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and was active in the presidential campaign of Hector Kobbekaduwa in 1982. After the election, he was jailed under the emergency regulations by J.R Jayawardena for allegedly being a "Naxalite" (a political creed hitherto and henceforth unknown in Sri Lanka), but he was never charged. He founded the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP). He and his party argued for peace in the then ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka.
Death and legend
He was shot in the head with a Type 56 assault rifle outside his residence in the outskirts of Colombo on 16 February 1988 by Lionel Ranasinghe alias Gamini, who later confessed to the murder upon being questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Ranasinghe, in a 141 page statement, confessed that he was merely carrying out orders given to him by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front), an armed Marxist organization which is responsible for assassinations during the late 1980s.That was the funeral which gathered the most number of people for a funeral in the Sri Lanakan history.Vijaya's Coffin was only partly opened (the head part was closed due to the damage occurred to the head by gunshots).The funeral was held at the Independence Square in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 21 February 1988.It was the first and only funeral ceremony to telecast live on Sri Lankan Television. Most Sri Lankans say that Vijaya was the most handsome & the most humaritarian idol who lived in Sri Lanka during the 20th century. Twelve people reportedly committed suicide after hearing his death. People recall his assassination day as the "Horrible Tuesday" (16 February 1988 - Tuesday)
Kumaranatunga's death is still mourned by many people in Sri Lanka.
- "A humble humanist with broad vision". DailyNews. 21 October 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Some of St. Benedict’s College’s Illustrious Alumni". stbenedictscollege.org. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- As per his Postal ID issued on 23/11/1963 (AL:001821)
- "Devolution only solution - CBK (Vijaya's 20th Death Anniversary)". BBC News. 19 February 2008.
- The Bandaranaike Ancestry
- Vijaya Kumaranatunga's Biography on Sinhala Cinema Database
- The Ratwatte Ancestry
- Vijaya Kumaratunga's Biography in Sinhala
- Vijaya's Film Details in Sinhala
- 21st death anniversary of Vijaya Kumaranatunga in Sinhala
- Vijaya Kumaratunga in Sinhala 1
- Vijaya Kumaratunga in Sinhala 2
- Official Website - National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka
- Official Website of Lester James Peries in association with Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Sri Lanka
- Remembering Vijaya Kumaratunga, By Kumar Rupesinghe
- Biography for Vijaya Kumaratunga, Internet Movie Database Inc.
- Confessions of Vijaya's killer, WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka