[October 4, 2004 - 9.30 GMT]
Gamini Fonseka was an honest and forthright artiste who took pain to assign pride of place to local cinema as well as to the members of his fraternity, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said in a condolence message issued yesterday.
President Kumaratunga also recalled Fonseka's efforts to seek a solution to the ethnic conflict. "Through a number of excellent films which he directed, Fonseka proved his commitment to seek a solution to the current ethnic problem which has engulfed the country. As a politician too he explored all possible avenues for a solution."
Gamini Fonseka who dominated the Sri Lankan silver screen for nearly five decades passed away last Thursday, September 30 at the age of 68. He was also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament from 1989 to 1994 and the North-East Governor from 1995-1998.
[Full text of the message]
I was saddened at the news of the demise of star performer Gamini Fonseka, crowned 'Cinema Sakvithi'.
The loss of a mega star of the stature of Gamini Fonseka is an irreparable loss to the country. It is my personal knowledge that his genius was not confined only to cinema. He was a self-educated, most knowledgeable person who had enriched his knowledge through extensive reading.
Gamini Fonseka was an honest, forthright and talented artiste who took pain to assign pride of place to local cinema as well as to the members of his fraternity. Away from the silver screen he always empathised with the ordinary people in seeking solutions to various problems and perils that confronted them in their everyday life.
When he realised that the political party to which he belonged failed to fulfil his objectives, he did not hesitate to leave it and express his views before the people.
Right through he valiantly led a crusade against corruption and fraud whilst pursing a solution to the ethnic problem. My efforts to provide a solution to the ethnic problem were greatly assisted by his politics.
As the Governor of North and East, he rendered an optimum service to the country. All these bear testimony to his sense of humanity. Indeed he was a genial friend. He helped those in need. He was a progressive individual who looked at socio-political problems from an intellectual viewpoint.
It was after my marriage to the late Vijaya Kumaratunga that I came to know of Gamini Fonseka and his sterling qualities. He fought for what he believed was right.
I still remember at a time when everybody was really frightened to intervene when Kumaratunga and a few others were illegally incarcerated by the then government, it was Gamini Fonseka who dared to take the vanguard along with his peers to secure their early release.
We feel his demise is an irreparable loss when people of his stature and calibre are a diminishing tribe today.
On behalf of my government and myself I wish to extend my condolences to his bereaved family - his wife and children, relatives, friends and all cinema artistes. I would also like to join the thousands of people who feel the impact of his loss.
May he attain the supreme Bliss of Nibbana
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