Malani Senehelatha Fonseka (born April 30, 1947 in Kelaniya) is an award-winning Sri Lankan film actress, also known as the “Queen of Sinhalese cinema”. Her cinema career which has spanned many decades began with Tissa Liyansooriya’s Punchi Baba in 1968. She first earned recognition, when she won the ‘Best Actress Award’ at the 1969 National State Drama Festival This was followed by Sarasaviya Best Actress Awards for Hingana Kolla in 1980, Aradhana in 1982 and Yasa Isuru in 1983.
On June 12, 1986, she married Lucky Dias, a veteran Cinema and teledrama actor and producer.
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Fonseka started her acting career with stage dramas. In 1963, she made her entry to stage dramas with “Noratha Ratha”. In 1968, Fonseka won the best stage drama actress national award for her performance in Akal Wessa. She has since played the lead role in 14 stage dramas. She entered the cinema industry through one of her brothers, Ananda Fonseka, who was both a film director and producer but was introduced to the cinema itself by Tissa Liyansuriya and Joe Abeywickrama.
She made her debut with Tissa Liyansuriya’s Punchi Baba (The little Baby) in 1968. These films were followed by Abuddassa Kale, Dahasak Sithuwili and Adarawanthayo in the same year. With the critical success she gained with these, she was offered the lead role by several movie directors of the time. Fonseka has acted in over 140 movies since then, some of which were international movies.
Some of her successful films include Nidhanaya by Lester James Peiris, Siripala Saha Ranmenika by Amaranath Jayathilake, Eya Den Loku Lamayek and Bambaru Ewith by Dharmasena Pathiraja. She achieved a significant milestone in her artisic career with Sasara Chetana in 1984, where she became both its director and producer. She has directed two other films so far: Ahinsa in 1987 and Sthree in 1991.
She paired up with popular Tamil actor, Sivaji Ganeshan in Pilot Premnath in 1978.
Later on, she also worked in the television industry. Fonseka has won praise for her performance in Manalada Puthe Kiri Dunne, Pitagamkarayo, Kemmura, and Ambu Daruwo teledramas. She won the Sumathi Best Tele Actress Awards for her roles in Pitagamkarayo and Kemmura.
She has also made her mark as a teledrama director, with successful creations such as Sanasili Suwanda. She even had the honor of being the first female teledrama director in the history of Sri Lanka teledrama history, when she, both directed and acted in her first teledrama Nirupamala.
Her latest film is Uppalawanna directed by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne.
Malini’s career enhanced with Gamini Fonseka and both who had a long journey in history of the silver screen. Malini stated at Gamini’s funeral in 2004, “His performance had appeal across the board and I had the good fortune of being associated with Gamini. The cinema of that era is slowly fading away and the passing away of Gamini is another step towards that direction”.
Fonseka was the first Sri Lankan actress to reach international heights, winning awards at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1975 and the New Delhi Film Festival in 1977.
Apart from the many Sarasaviya Awards she has won, she has also earned other honours like the Presidential Awards, OCIC Awards and also international recognition.
Her most recent awards include the “Best Actress Award” for the teledrama “Kemmura” at the Sumathi Tele Awards Ceremony, 2000 and Wishva Prasadhini Award as appreciation of her service to the cinema industry from the President in 1996.
Malini Fonseka felicitation ceremony titled Maliniye held at the BMICH in April 30, 2003 with the participation of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for her four decades of contribution to the Cinema of Sri Lanka in more than 150 films.
Sri Lankans living in U.S.A. gathered in large numbers at Los Angeles to honor legendary actress Malini in January 2008. Also a special dinner hosted by the Consular General of Sri Lanka Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Mrs. Wickramasuriya and the Consulate staff. A special ceremony organized for her to present an Appreciative Plaque by the Consulate General of Los Angeles Jaliya Wickramasuriya with the participation of representative groups of the community, Associations, renowned artists and actors and well wishers and fans of actress Malini Fonseka.
Sarasaviya Awards won by Fonseka:
* Ranathisara Award, 1985
* Most Popular Actress, 1983
* Best Actress Actress – Yasa Isuru, 1982
* Most Popular Actress, 1982
* Best Actress Award – Aradhana, 1981
* Most Popular Actress Award, 1981
* Most Popular Actress Award, 1980
* Best Actress Award – Hingana Kolla, 1979
|2004||Muthu Etaye Modayo||Giwantha Arthasad|
|Prathirawaya||Jayantha Das Perera|
|Udu Sulanga||H.D. Premaratne||Menike|
|Wekanda Walawwa||Lester James Peiris|
|2002||Punchi Suranganawi||Somaratne Dissanayake||Sinhala teacher|
|1998||Anthima Reya||Gamini Fonseka|
|1996||Apaye Thathpara Asuharadhahak||Dinesh Priyasad|
|1994||Muthu Etaye Modayo||Somapala Leelanda|
|Roomathiyayi Neethiyayi||M. Arukgoda|
|Ahimi Dadaman||Danny W. Pathirana|
|Suwadena Suwandak||Milton Jayawardene|
|1991||Raja Kello||Shirley P. Wijeratne|
|1991||Hithata Dukak Nathi Nisa||Dinesh Priyasad||Teacher|
|1990||Honda Honda Sellam||Dinesh Priyasad||Lady inspetor of police|
|1990||Weerodara||Shirley P. Wijeratne|
|1989||Shakthiya Obai Amma||Ranga Wijendra and Anton Kingsley|
|1988||Siri Medura||Parakrama Niriella||Nirmala|
|1988||Waradata Danuwam||Dinesh Priyasad|
|1988||Newa Gilunath Ban Choon||Hemasiri Sellaperuma|
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Malini wins Silver Peacock for Akasa Kusum
India: Queen of the Sinhala Cinema Malini Senehelatha Fonseka bagged yet another international award for her performance in ‘Akasa Kusum’ at the 39th International Film Festival of India yesterday.
Malini Fonseka was presented a Silver Peacock and a cash award of Rs.1.5 million as she bagged a Special Jury Award at the International Indian Film Festival.
Fonseka after receiving her award said that her film was an India Sri Lanka co-production and the time has come for a closer relationship between the two countries. She also hoped for peace and happiness everywhere in these troubled times.
‘Akasa Kusum’ a film directed by veteran film director Prasanna Withanage had its first international screening on October 05, 2008 in Pusan, with the film being exhibited in three different cinemas simultaneously.
In this movie Malini plays the leading role of an actress named Sandya Rani.
Malini says that her role in Akasa Kusum is one of her most favourite roles. Fonseka was the first Sri Lankan actress to reach international heights, winning awards at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1975 and the New Delhi Film Festival in 1977.
Director Sergei Dvortsevoy bagged the best film award with the Golden Peacock and a cash award of 4 million for the Kazakhstan film ‘Tulpan’.
The five Member competition jury was headed by the noted Director from Hong Kong Mr. Peter Chan.
Other members of the jury are Mr. Marco Mueller (Venice), Ms. Niki Karimi (Iran), Mr. Lav Diaz (Philippines) and Ms. Tabassum Hashmi (Tabu- India). Two Indian entries S.
Priyadarshan’s Tamil film “Kanchivaram” and Ramesh Laxman More’s acclaimed Marathi film “Mahasatta” were in the “competition” section among 13 other films chosen from Bangladesh, Russia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Iran, the Philippines, Argentina, China and Japan.
The Chief Guest at the closing ceremony was noted Film Actor Shri Kamal Hasan. Hasan said that despite setbacks and dark moments normal life must go on. He congratulated the organizer for putting together such a rich collection of movies.
Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Digambar Kamat in his remarks said that IFFI 2008 was a landmark event. He said that Government of Goa is keen to develop the State as a hub of entertainment industry. He said that additional multiplexes and other facilities are being created in Mudgaon.
The closing ceremony started with a minute of silence in memory of victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
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