Actors/Actresses

Geetha Kumarasinghe

Kumara Vidugalage Dona Geetha Samanmalee Kumarasinghe (born 5 July 1955, in Badulla), popularly known as Geetha Kumarasingheis an award-winning Sri Lankan film actress. She made her debut in veteran director K. A. W. Perera’s 1975 film, Wasana but it was Neil Rupasinghe’s Lassana Kella which was released first. Since then, she has made her mark in over 80 movies, winning the prestigious Sarasaviya Best Actress Award four times, in 1991, 1996, 2000 and 2004. She was also one of the few actresses to receive the Sarasaviya Most Popular Actress Award several times.

Early life

Geetha Samanmalie Kumarasinghe  was born as the eldest daughter of Wijaya Kumarasinghe, a journalist and Udula Kumarasinghe in 1955 at Badulla. She grew up in Bentara, Elpitiya and had her education at Sanghamitta Girls College, Aluthgama and Holy Family Convent, Kalutara.

As a child, she showed her talent for singing and dancing. She was crowned a beauty Queen, competing among 100 contestants in a beauty contest organised by a local newspaper in 1973.

Career

Though Geetha’s father did not approve of a career in movies or her participation in the beauty pageant, her mother was always with her. Her aunt, Anula Wickramapala, was also a friend of renowned director Lester James Peiris. Incidentally, her aunts’ mansion was used as the location for his film Ransalu. Little Geetha, who used to spend her school vacations in her aunt’s house in Kollupitiya would imitate Punya Heendeniya, her childhood heroine.

She signed contracts for 21 films before her debut film was released, a record in Sri Lankan Cinema. It was in the year 1975 that Geetha debuted in K.A.W. Perera’s Vasana but it was Neil Rupasinghe’s Lassana Kella which reached cinemas first.

Kumarasinghe, who is often famous for casting in controversial roles, has also performed in foreign films which include Pakistani, Hindi, Japanese, Tamil and French productions. She acted opposite Sivaji Ganesan in Mohana Punnagai which was released on 1981.

She received critical acclaim in roles such as ‘Dulcie’ in Pembara Madhu, ‘Dotty’ in Palama Yata, ‘Punna’ in Lokuduwa and ‘Amali’ in Ran Diya Dahara. Her performance in Palama Yata (Under the Bridge) where she plays the role of a woman in the slums earned raving reviews both in Sri Lanka and overseas.

She produced popular films like Palama Yata, Salambak Handai, Loku Duwa, Anuragaye Ananthaya, Wasuli and Geetha. Both of her productions, Palama Yata and Loku Duwa won her the Best Film Awards at the Sarasaviya Awards Festival.

Awards

Year Organization Award Film
1981 National Film Festival Best Supporting Actress
1988 National Film Festival Best Supporting Actress
1990 OCIC Merit Awards Palama Yata
1990 Sarasaviya Awards Festival Best Actress Palama Yata
1990 Sarasaviya Awards Festival Most Popular Actress
1990 Swarna Sanka Film festival Best Actress Palama Yata
1996 Sarasaviya Awards Festival Best Actress Loku Duwa
1996 Swarna Sanka Film festival Best Actress Loku Duwa
1997 National Film Festival Best Actress Loku Duwa
2000 National film festival Talented Performance Anuragaye Ananthaya
2000 Sarasaviya Awards festival Best Actress Rajya Sevaya Pinisai
2000 National Film Festival Best Actress Rajya Sevaya Pinisai
2004 Sarasaviya Awards Festival Best Actress Ran Diya Dahara
2005 Signis Salutation Most Outstanding Performance Ran Diya dahara
2005 National Film Festival Best Actress Ran Diya Dahara

Controversy

In a parliament session in November 2015 Kumarasinghe complained the lack of time given to her and made a communal statement claiming that ethnic minority Tamil members from the north received more time than her unaware that the time allocated for her was decided by her own party. She also criticised the lifting of highly discriminatory taxes on imported English and Tamil dramas. Kumarasinghe’s parliamentary seat could be taken away as a result of the ongoing court case challenging her becoming a lawmaker while holding Swiss nationality and is having her own court battle after being accused of ignorance of the constitution.

Filmography

Though her first act came through film Wasana, it was released on cinemas on 1975 after two of her late films were screened. She quit from cinema after award winning film Randiya Dahara and focused on politics. However, after 10 years, she played a minor role in Siri Daladagamanaya in 2014.

Political career

Geetha was an ardent supporter of Mahinda Rajapakse at 2010 presidential elections and was appointed as the chief organizer to Elpitiya electroate. She unsuccessfully contested at the 2010 general elections and blamed election irregularities for her defeat.

She contested the provincial council elections in 2014 and took oath as a counciller at the Southern Provincial Council.

Geetha contested for the 2015 Parliamentary Election from Galle District. She was elected to the 15th Sri Lankan Parliament by receiving 63,955 preferential votes.

On 3 May 2017 the Sri Lanka courts disqualified her as a member of parliament because she had held dual citizenship in Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Under the constitution of Sri Lanka, no person can be elected to the parliament if they hold dual citizenship.

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