Vijaya - Silver screen's golden idol - Daily News
ETERNAL STAR: Today marks the 62nd birth anniversary of actor-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga who forever will remain Sinhala cinema's heartthrob.
He lit the silver screen with his dashing presence and acting brilliance.
Reams have been written about this charismatic figure covering both his acting and political career but no words can fill the void created by his departure in both these spheres.
Vijaya appeared on the scene like a comet when the Sinhala cinema was dominated by the giant presence of Gamini Fonseka and was the only performer to give the screen legend a run for his money. Though Gamini still remained the hero in the minds of many Vijaya stole the limelight as the knight of romance with his mesmerising good looks and abundant charisma.
Born in the coastal hamlet of Seeduwa to Catholic parents Vijaya after his initially stint in the local school was admitted as a boarder at St.Benedict's College, Kotahena a leading denominational institution where he spent the larger part of his school career.
At St Benedict's Vijaya participated in Sinhala drama and was a prominent member of its debating team.
It was St. Benedicts marked by its cosmopolitan mix of student population that perhaps imbued Vijaya with the feel of pluralism which he was to take with him to his political life in later years.
Vijaya once toyed with the idea of becoming a police officer and in fact attended the interview for inspectors.
Disgusted by the long wait for his turn at the interview he was about leave the premises when fate took a hand.
Just when he was about to depart some old mates from Seeduwa arrived on scene for the same interview and changing his mind he joined the lot.
Since making his debut in Hantane Kathawa there was no looking back for this unique star who bagged the most popular actor award for several years. Vijaya who initially was a stalwart of the SLFP later formed the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party with wife Chandrika and paved the way for a robust third force in the country's political landscape.
His socialist ideals coupled with his magnetic personality struck a ready chord with the masses particularly the youth that posed a threat to the establishment.
His political persona to a larger extent reflected the roles he portrayed on the silver screen - the friend of the underdog.
He will forever live in his fans' minds.