Remembering Vijaya

Published : 9:07 am  February 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (33) reads | 

30th death anniversary falls on Friday

Untitled-6The 30th death anniversary of charismatic film star-turned-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga falls on Friday,  February 16. Vijaya was Sinhala cinema’s undisputed romantic hero who mesmerized audiences for more than 20 years as an actor and singer, but he will be remembered forever not only for his overall reel performances but also for the bold steps he took in real life towards resolving the ethnic conflict.

The Seeduwa-born film star whose ambition was to someday become a police officer though his parents wanted him to become a doctor, finally made his movie debut in Hanthane Kathawa and before the release of his first film he was signed up by more than 12 filmmakers. That alone spoke volumes about the talent, dedication and commitment of the people’s star who for years bagged the most popular actor award continuously until his untimely death on February 16, 1988. 


The old boy of St. Benedict’s College Kotahena and De Mazenod College Kandana, learnt dancing under Shesha Palihakkara and acting under P. Welikala and J.H. Jayawardana. He first faced the cine camera in a crowd scene in ‘Manamalayo’. 


Then he responded to a newspaper advertisement calling for new actors, paving the way for him to play the lead role in Sugathapala Senarath Yapa’s ‘Hanthane Kathawa’. The Vijaya-Malani combination was also a significant era in the Sinhala cinema. The two crowd-pulling stars were featured in hits like Hathara Denama Soorayo, Thushara, Sussie, Sangeetha, Ganga, Diyamanthi, Unnath Dahai Malath Dahai, Eya Den Loku Lamayek, Pembara Madhu, Bambaru Ewith, Newatha Hamuwemu and others.


Vijaya was also featured opposite Geetha Kumarasinghe in memorable movies like Karumakkarayo,  Obatai Priye Adare, Maruwa Samaga Wase, Vijaya Geetha and other hits.


During his last years, Vijaya’s only dream was to clinch the award for the best actor. When he finally won the best actor award for his role in ‘Kedapathaka Chaya’ it was just over a year since he was gunned down.

 

When he won the best actor award  it was just over a year since he was gunned down.

 

 

text:  Ramesh Uvais