Shanthi Lekha

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Shanthi Lekha
Born Rita Irene Quyn
1 July 1929
Kalutara Sri Lanka
Died 11 May 2009
Nationality Sri Lankan
Known for actress

Rita Irene Quyn (July 1, 1929 – May 11, 2009),[1] better known as Shanthi Lekha, was a Sri Lankan actress. She played the role of mother in more films than any other actress in Sinhala cinema.

Lekha was born in Kalutara on July 1, 1929. She received her stage name from her first husband Shanthi Viraj. They had first met while she was attending Holy Family Convent in Kalutara and starred in composer D. T. Fernando's play Shantha Prabha (1942). She subsequently made a mark as a dancer in plays starring Dommie Jayawardena and Nona Subeda.[2]

With Jayawardena, Lekha had her first film role in Sujatha (1953). Wearing a bathing suit, she danced along with Jayawardena to the song "Pem Rella Nagi." The role came with a payment of Rs. 500 and a contract prohibiting her from doing films for other production companies. The producer K. Gunaratnam would subsequently offer her roles in Warada Kageda, Radala Piliruwa and Dostara.[2]

Lekha first played a mother in Sandesaya (1960). She would play this role in over 350 films.[2]

Lekha won Best Supporting Actress Awards at the Sarasaviya Film Festival for Gamini Fonseka's Parasathu Mal (1968) and Mudalinayaka Somaratne's Binaramali (1969). She also won Presidential Awards for Mayurige Kathawa and Ridi Nimnaya.[2]

Shanthi Lekha, the oldest and renowned actress of Sri Lankan cinema, died in France May 11, 2009.[3]


  • Gamperaliya
  • Uthumaneni
  • Tun Man Handiya
  • Eya Den Loku Lamayek
  • Amal Biso
  • Parithyagaya
  • Hithawathiya
  • Sasara Chethana
  • Sakvithi Suwaya
  • Akkara Paha


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d "Most popular screen mother". The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. 2004. Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  3. ^ Renowned Sri Lankan actress Shanthi Lekha passes away ColomboPage Retrieved on 2009-05-12

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