Vijaya Kumaratunga (1945 – 1988)

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Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaranatunga 9 October 1945 – 16 February 1988), popularly known as Vijaya Kumaranatunga, was a Popular Sri Lankan Film Actor, Singer and Politician, married to former Sri Lankan President Chandrika kumaranathunga from 1978 until his Assassination in 1988. He was the Founder of Sri Lanka Mahajana Party.

Film career

Kumaratunga’s first film was hanthane kathawa(හන්තානේ කතාව), in which he played the lead role directed by sugathapala senarath yapa. In a career that spanned nearly two decades, he acted in 123 films, including ahas gauwa(1974)(අහස් ගව්ව) , Eya Den loku lamayek (1975)(එයා දැන් ලොකු ළමයෙක්) , Ponmani (1977) (පොන්මනි), Bambaru Avith (1977) (බඹරු ඇවිත්), Gnaga addara (1980) (ගඟ අද්දර), Baddegama (1980) (බැද්දේගම), Paradige (1980)(පාර දිගේ), Maha Gedara (1980)(මහ ගෙදර), Kedapathaka Chaya (1989) (කැඩපතක චායා), and Kristhu Charithaya (1990)(ක්‍රිස්තු චරිතය). He acted in one English-language film, the god king , and one tamil film, Nanguram.

He also performed as a playback singer in several films; recorded more than 100 songs; and produced two films, Waradata Danduwam and Samawa which was released after his death.

He also performed as a playback singer in several films; recorded more than 100 songs; and produced two films, Waradata Danduwam and Samawa which was released after his death.

Political career

Kumaratunga started his political career in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). He later joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and became its first national organizer.

In 1977, he ran unsuccessfully for the Katana seat in Parliament. Five years later, he was active in the 1982 presidential campaign of Hector Kobbekaduwa. After the election, he was accused of being a Naxalite and jailed under the emergency regulations of President .R. Jayewardene, but he was never charged.

He ran as the SLFP candidate in a by-election in Mahara in 1983 and was threatened by United National Party (UNP) supporters. An attempt was made on his life, and one of his friends was killed. Kumaratunga won the first vote count, and a recount was ordered. At that point, a blackout occurred at the counting centre. By the time electricity was restored, the UNP candidate had recorded a victory by a few votes. The opposition alleged that someone had “eaten some of Vijaya’s votes to ensure UNP victory”.

He founded the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP), which campaigned for peace in the Sri Lankan Civil War. Under his new party, he contested a Minneriya by-election and finished second, behind the UNP candidate—relegating his old party, SLFP, to third place. The SLMP went on to contest several other by-elections, including in Kundasale and Habaraduwa, but did not live up to expectations.

in 1986, Kumaranatunga visited Jaffna, then controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He visited the Nallur Murugan Temple and met with local Tamil civilians, as well as several LTTE youth leaders.

In his final public address, to a large crowd in Colombo’s Campbell Park on 28 January 1988, Kumaratunga lashed out at the UNP, SLFP, and Janatha Vimuthki Peramuna (JVP) parties for failing to address the needs of the hour. He also voiced concerns about the SLFP’s links with the JVP, a Marxist–Leninist party involved in two armed uprisings against the Sri Lankan government

In 1988, the SLMP reached an agreement with several other left-wing parties—including the LSSP, Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP), Sri Lanka Communist Party, and Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)—to form the United Socialist Alliance (USA). A few days prior to the establishment of the new alliance, Kumaranatunga was assassinated. The agreement was signed by party leaders at his funeral.

The USA won a large number of seats in the newly formed provincial councils in an election boycotted by the main opposition SLFP. However, in the 1988 presidential election, the USA candidate, Ossie Abeygunasekera, finished in last place. In the 1989 parliamentary elections, USA candidates won three seats, but none of the winners represented the SLMP.

Personal life-

In 1978, Kumaratunga married Chandrika Bandaranaike, with whom he had two children. Bandaranaike was the daughter of two former prime ministers, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, and would later become president of Sri Lanka.

Death and legacy –

Kumaratunga was shot in the head with a Type 56 assault rifle outside his home on the outskirts of Colombo on 16 February 1988 by Lionel Ranasinghe, alias Gamini. Ranasinghe confessed to the murder under questioning by the Criminal Investigation Department. In a 141-page statement, he said he had been carrying out orders given to him by the Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (Patriotic People’s Movement), the military arm of the JVP, which was responsible for multiple assassinations in the late 1980s. However, a presidential commission report concluded that President Ranasinghe Premadasa of the UNP and two government ministers, Gamini Lokuge and Ranjan Wijeratne, were behind the Kumaranatunga assassination

Kumaratunga’s funeral, on 21 February 1988, attracted huge crowds and was the first funeral to be broadcast live on Sri Lankan television. It was held at Independence Square in Colombo as a state funeral, even though he represented the opposition to the UNP government. The day of his assassination is widely known as “The Horrible Tuesday” or “The Darkest Tuesday in Sri Lankan History” (He was assassinated on a Tuesday). His death is still mourned by many people in Sri Lanka.
Filmography – Year Film Role Notes 1967 Manamalayo Acting debut 1969 Romio Juliet Kathawak Hanthane Kathawa 1970 Priyanga 1971 Ran Onchilla Abirahasa Kesara Sinhayo Gamini Hatharadenama Soorayo Wijesekara alias Wije Samanala Kumariyo Samaga Api Kawadath Soorayo Bindunu Hadawath Also film’s producer 1977 Me Desa Kumatada as Himself Edath Sooraya Adath Sooraya Vana Raja Adare Hithenawa Dakkama Premkumar Thushara Sampath Hathdinnath Tharu Dahakin Ekek Hondama Welawa 1974 Susi Ahas Gauwa Duleeka Sanakeliya Rohitha Radalage The God King Lalith English-language film 1975 Pem Kurullo Sikuruliya Lassana Dawasak Sangeetha Wimal, Vijaya(Two births) 1976 Pradeepe Ma Wewa Vasana Diyamanthi Unnath Dahai Malath Dahai Adarei Man Adarei 1977 Sakunthala Hithuvoth Hithuvamai Manju, Rohan, Chukki Maruwa Samaga Wase Maru Sira Hariyanakota Ohoma Thamai Eya Den Loku Lamayek Village Officer Pembara Madhu 1978 Vishmaya Kundala Keshi Saththuka Sandawata Ran Tharu Anupama Asitha Selinge Walawuwa Bambaru Awith Victor Sally Kumara Kumariyo Sagara Ahasin Polowata 1979 Gahaniyak Podi Malli Gunapala aka Peter Hingana Kolla Saiya aka Morris Abeysiriwardena Monarathenna Piyasoma Eka Hitha Akke Mata Awasara Ajith 1980 Raja Dawasak Ganga Addara Dr. Sarath Pathirana Karumakkarayo Wilison Kinduru Kumari Para Dige Chandare Tak Tik Tuk Sarath Kanchana Ajith 1981 Beddegama [11] Babun Based on Leonard Wolf’s Baddegama Geethika Sampath Anjana Saliya Suriyakantha Hemantha Valampuri Heen Banda 1982 Yasa Isuru ASP Mahesh Gunasekara Mihidum Sihina Vijitha Kiri Suwanda Meril Rahasak Nathi Rahasak Maha Gedara Nandana / His father Kadawunu Poronduwa (New) Samson Newatha Hamuwemu Dual-role Paramitha Lassana Bicykale Ajith 1983 Samanala Sihina Sivu Rangasena Pasa Mithuro Special Appearance Sandamali 1984 Kokila Jaya Sikurui Binaree Saha Sudu Banda Sudu Banda Welle Thenu Maliga Christopher Rana Derana Ranasinghe Arachchi 1986 Devuduwa Anton Peralikarayo Vijay/Samson Dual role Jaya Apitai Sooryaa Gimhane Gee Naade 1987 Yugayen Yugayata Yukthiyada Shakthiyada Kawuluwa Raja Wedakarayo Inspector Ramesh Ran Damwel Obatai Priye Adare Ravi Ahinsa 1989 Mamai Raja Kadapathaka Chaya Danawansa Badulu Kochchiya Nommara 17 Wije aka Nommara 17 Varadata Danduvam Also film’s producer Randenigala Sinhaya As additional Cameraman (Uncredited) (Only film as a Cameraman) 1990 Dese Mal Pipila Vijey Thanha Asha Mahesh Veera Udara Guest appearance Madu Sihina Mr. Sandagala Christhu Charithaya Jesus Saharawe Sihinaya Sarasaviya Award for Best Playback Singer[citation needed] 1991 Madhusamaya Jagath 1993 Soorayan Athara Veeraya 1995 Hitha Honda Soorayo 1998 Aya Obata Barai