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Malini Fonseka
මාලිනී ෆොන්සේකා
மாலினி பொன்சேகா

Malani Senehelatha Fonseka.jpg
Malini Fonseka in 1976
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for National List
In office
22 April 2010 – 26 June 2015
Personal details
Wanni Arachchige Malini Senehelatha Fonseka

30 April 1947 (1947-04-30) (age 74)
Peliyagoda, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Spouse(s) Upali Senanayake (m. 1965 ; div. 1980)
Lucky Dias (m. 1986 ; div. 2011)
Mother Seelwathie Fonseka
Father Gilbert Fonseka
Relatives Damayanthi Fonseka (sister)
Prasanna Vithanage (brother-in-law)
Samanalee Fonseka (niece)
Occupation Actress
Awards Sarasaviya Best Actress Award
Sarasaviya Most Popular Actress Award

Wanniarachchige Malini Senehelatha Fonseka, popularly as Malini Fonseka (Sinhala:මාලිනී ෆොන්සේකා) (born 30 April 1947, in Kelaniya) is a Sri Lankan film actress and former member of Sri Lanka Parliament, who became known as the "Queen of Sinhalese cinema". Her cinema career that has spanned Seven decades began with Tissa Liyansooriya's Punchi Baba in 1968.

She first became widely known 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. She has won the Slim Nielsen Peoples' Award for the Most Popular Actress for a record twelve times in a row. In 2010, she was named by CNN as one of Asia's 25 greatest film actors of all time.


Early life

Born as the third child of eleventh siblings to Gilbert Fonseka who worked at Government Press and Seelwathie Fonseka at Peliyagoda, Kelaniya. After Malani was born, her family moved to Jambugasmulle, Nugegoda. In 1952 she started her education at St. John's College, Nugegoda until the 5th grade. After moving of the family to Wedamulle, Kelaniya she was enrolled at Gurukula Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya until completing her education. Her eldest brother Dayananda Fonseka died in 2012.

Family background

Three of her sisters - Sriyani, Rasadari, Damayanthi and two brothers - Dayananda and Ananda are entered to cinema. Her sister Damayanthi Fonseka entered cinema with the film Madol Duwa. She is married to filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage. Malini is also the aunt of popular actresses Samanalee Fonseka and Senali Fonseka as well as sister-in-law of Karunarathna Hangawaththa. Her nephew Ashan is also an actor. Her grand daughter Kushenya Sayumi entered cinema with the film Rookada Panchi. She is the daughter of Samanalee's brother Asanga Fonseka and Imalka Samaraweera.

Sister Sriyani has acted in popular films such as Lokuma Hinawa, Hondai Narakai, Thilaka Saha Thilakaa, Niwena Ginna and Selinage Walawwa. Rasadari Fonseka has acted in films such as Situ Kumariyo and Athin Athata. Rasadari is married to fellow actor Karunarathna Hangawaththa. Malini's elder brother Dayananda died in 2012.

Ananda Fonseka started acting with Thilaka Saha Thilakaa and continued to act in some films such as Eya Dan Loku Lamayek, Wasanthaye Dawasak, Anupama, Bamba Ketu Hati and Sasara Chethana. He also directed the film Umayangana and worked as a still photographer as well. His daughter Samanalee is a popular film and television actress. She acted in critically acclaimed films such as Motor Bicycle, Davena Vihagun and Premaya Nam. Ananda died on 16 October 2020 at the age of 70.

Her brother Upali Fonseka died on 30 May 2020 by COVID-19 complication while at London. He was the father of popular actress Senali Fonseka. Senali started acting with the blockbuster film Siri Parakum and then made popular characters in Haara Kotiya and Vijayaba Kollaya. In 2021 at Sumathi Awards, Senali won the Most Popular Actress Award and Samanalee won the Best Actress Award.

Political life

On April 2010, she was appointed to the Sri Lanka Parliament as a National List of United People's Freedom Alliance.


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 Abudasse 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. Malini's career was enhanced with her work alongside Gamini Fonseka who had a long journey in the 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".

Some of her successful films are 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 artistic career with Sasara Chetana in 1984, where she became both its director and producer. She has directed two other films so far: Ahimsa 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 Teledrama Actress Awards for her roles in Pitagamkarayo and Kemmura.

She also made her mark as a teledrama director, with successful creations such as Sanasili Suwanda. She even had the honour 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. She then acted in the Buddhist dramatic film Uppalawanna directed by Sunil Ariyaratne.


The Award Winners of the 39th IFFI-2008 Director of Kazakhstan film “TULPAN’ Mr. Sergie Dvortsevoy and the actor of the Sri Lankan film “FLOWERS OF THE SKY’
Malani Fonseka won Special Jury Award for the film Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky) at the 2008 International Film Festival of India

Fonseka was the first Sri Lankan actress to reach international heights, winning a special Jury award at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1975. This was to be the first of her many international awards. She also won an award at 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. He also received 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 on 30 April 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 the US gathered in large numbers at Los Angeles to honour Malini in January 2008. A special dinner was hosted by the Consular General of Sri Lanka Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Mrs. Wickramasuriya to honor her. A special ceremony was organised for her to receive an Appreciative Plaque by the Consulate General of Los Angeles Jaliya Wickramasuriya. In 2019, he was honored with Janabhimani Honorary Award at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.

Deepashika Award Festival

Year Nominated work Award Result
1973 Most Popular Actress Won
1974 Nidhanaya Most Popular Actress Won

Sarasaviya Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1975 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1980 Hingana Kolla Best Actress Won
1980 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1981 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1982 Aradhana Best Actress Won
1983 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1983 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1983 Yasa Isuru Best Actress Won
1984 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1985 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won
1986 People's vote Most Popular Actress Won

Vanitha Viththi Award Festival

Year Nominated work Award Result
1992 People's vote Most Popular Lady Won
1993 People's vote Most Popular Lady Won

Presidential Film Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1980 Bambaru Awith Best Actress Won
1981 Wasanthaye Dawasak Best Actress Won
1983 Aradhana Best Actress Won
2004 Wekanda Walawwa Best Actress Won
2006 Ammawarune Best Actress Won


Year Nominated work Award Result
1978 Films in 1977 Best Creative Actress Won
1981 Dandu Monara Best Creative Actress Won
1981 Films in 1980 Creative Female Acting Won
1992 Madhu Samaya Creative Female Acting Won

UNDA Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1993 Mahamera Pamula Best Actress Won
1997 Pitagamkarayo Best Actress Won
2007 Sisila Ima Best Actress Won

Sumathi Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1998 Pitagamkarayo Best Actress Won
2002 Kemmura Best Actress Won

Navaliya Vendol Film Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
2006 People's vote Appealing Film Actress Won
2007 People's vote Appealing Film Actress Won
2008 People's vote Appealing Film Actress Won

Other Local Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1966 Akal Wessa State Drama Festival: Best Actress Won
1969 Punchi Baba Broadcasting Awards: Best Supporting Actress Won
1973 Nidhanaya Reviewers Film Awards: Best Actress Won
1992 Madhu Samaya Swarna Sanka Film Awards: Best Actress Won
2016 Contribution to Cinema Prathibha Prabha Award (at Raigam Tele'es) Won
2018 Contribution to Cinema Lifetime Achievement Award (at Derana Film Awards) Won
Contribution to Cinema Swarna Rajani Award (by Kala Lanka Foundation) Won
Contribution to Drama Felicitation Award (by Malani Fonseka Felicitation Committee) Won
Contribution to Cinema Felicitation Award (by National Film Corporation) Won

International Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1976 Humanship on Cinema, Art and for Peace, Friendship Among Nations 9th Moscow International Film Festival
Honorary Diploma Certificate
1978 Siripala Saha Ranmenika 6th Indian International Film Festival: Honorary Diploma Certificate Won
2009 Akasa Kusum 39th International Indian Film Festival
Silver Peacock Award and Certificate for Best Performance
2010 Akasa Kusum 7th Levanthe International Film Festival: Best Actress Won
2012 Outstanding Achievement in Film Kandy International film Festival: Excellence Won


Since her first film in 1968, she has acted in more than 150 films through 6 decades.

  • No. denotes the Number of Sri Lankan film in the Sri Lankan cinema.
Year No. Film Role Ref.
1968 182 Punchi Baba Mala
1968 184 Abudasse kale
1968 196 Adarawanthayo Sumana
1968 194 Dahasak Sithuvili Lalith's sister
1969 204 Kawda Hari Subha
1969 214 Prawesam Wanna Geetha Basnayake
1969 215 Parawalalu
1970 223 Dan Mathakada Sandya Amunugama
1970 224 Akkara Paha Kumari
1971 241 Hathara Denama Soorayo Nilmini
1971 249 Maahene Ririyaka Leela Livera
1971 242 Abirahasa Lover
1971 247 Samanala Kumariyo
1972 250 Nidhanaya Irene Abeynayake
1972 251 Sahanaya Rupa
1972 266 Adare Hithenawa Dakkama Deepa
1972 254 Edath Sooraya Adath Sooraya Kanthi
1972 263 Me Dasa Kumatada Mala
1973 269 Matara Achchi Cyril's city co-worker
1973 271 Suhada Pathuma Chamila
1973 272 Thushara Thushara
1973 273 Sadahatama Oba Mage
1973 275 Hathdinnath Tharu Pearli
1973 276 Hondama Welawa
1973 277 Sinawai Inawai
1973 279 Hondai Narakai
1973 280 Daahakin Ekek Shyama Abeykoon
1973 281 Hondata Hondai Chammi
1974 282 Ahas Gauwa Post office co-worker
1974 285 Kasthuri Suwanda Kanchana
1974 294 Susee Susee
1974 299 Senakeliya Tharangani
1975 311 Awa Soya Adare Nilanthi
1975 313 Kohoma Kiyannada Samanthi
1975 Sooraya Soorayamai Nilanthi / Mango 'Nanda'
1975 327 Sadhana
1975 330 Sangeetha Sangeetha / Geetha (two births)
1975 Nayana
1976 332 Pradeepaya Maa Wewa
1976 335 Kawuda Raja Chintha
1976 Yaar Aval (Tamil Film)
1976 336 Wasana Sudarshi Rajadasa
1976 337 Ganga
1976 342 Diyamanthi Chitra Saparamandu
1976 348 Unnath Dahai Malath Dahai
1976 351 Onna Mame Kella Panapi
1976 252 Saradiyelge Putha Subha
1976 356 Adarei Man Adarei
1976 383 Zashis (Rahas Kumanthranaya)
1977 359 Neela
1977 360 Sakunthala
1977 365 Hithuwoth Hithuwamai Apsara
1977 367 Pembara Madhu Madhu
1977 368 Deviyani Oba Kohida Elizabeth
1977 369 Eya Dan Loku Lamayek Katuwalagedera 'Susila' Susilawathie 'Susee'
1977 376 Siripala Saha Ranmenika Ranmanika
1978 Pilot Premanath Premnath's wife. Tamil film
1978 388 Vishmaya Nita 'Manike'
1978 395 Selinage Walawwa Wimalaa
1978 397 Kundala Keshi Badhra Kumari 'Kundala Keshi'
1978 399 Weera Puran Appu Bandara Menike
1978 400 Bambaru Avith Helen
1978 401 Salee Salee
1978 406 Sandawata Ran Tharu
1978 407 Apeksha Niranjala
1978 409 Anupama Marthaa
1979 416 Hingana Kolla Lamahami / Nanda
1979 418 Divi Thibena Thuru Sumana
1979 420 Muwan Palessa Namali
1979 422 Wasanthaye Dawasak Mala
1979 421 Malligai Mohini Tamil film
1979 421 Raan Kurullo Sujatha 'Kumara Hami'
1979 423 Monarathenna Sandha
1979 435 Nuwan Renu Renuka 'Renu'
1980 443 Silva Kumari
1980 444 Ektam Ge Mala Pushpalatha
1980 450 Raktha Raktha
1980 454 Dandu Monara Anulawathi
1980 358 Raja Dawasak Ran Manika
1981 474 Beddegama Punchi Menika
1981 475 Sathweni Dawasa Agadanna
1981 476 Sayuru Thera Jocelin
Hathi Mere Sathi (Foreign Film)
1981 478 Bamba Ketu Hati Dhammi
1981 479 Soldadu Unnehe Prema 'Akka'
1981 481 Situ Kumariyo
1981 483 Ek Dawasak Re Asha 'Aashi' Ranaweera
1981 493 Geethika Samanthi
1981 496 Induta Mal Mitak Nisansala
1981 499 Aradhana Jinadari
1981 Pani Malargal (Tamil Film)
1982 531 Mihidum Sihina Veena
1982 508 Bambara Geethaya Mali
1982 511 Yasa Isuru Sarojini Wickramasinghe
1982 520 Anuradha
1982 539 Newatha Hamuwemu Madhuka 'Madhu' Damayanthi
1982 Piya Saha Daruwo
1983 552 Samuganimi Ma Semiyani
1983 557 Thuththiri Mal
1983 563 Loku Thaththa
1983 567 Samanala Sihina
1983 569 Muwan Palessa 3
1983 Peter of the Elephant (Foreign Film)
1984 577 Welle Thanu Maliga Isabella 'Isa'
1984 589 Bambara Patikki
1984 591 Kokila Kokila
1984 590 Hithawathiya Mahesi Jayasekara
1984 593 Sasara Chethana also as producer.
1984 594 Wadula Ranmali
1984 603 Sahodariyakage Kathawa
1986 636 Mal Warusa Sarojini
1986 644 Dewduwa
1986 647 Puja
1986 650 Awurudu Da Nirupama
1987 662 Kele Kella Uma 'Kala Kella'
1987 670 Ahinsa Saroja Madugalla
1988 675 Sandakada Pahana Malathi 'Mali' Wijebandara
1988 677 Angulimala Aduruthumiya
1988 678 Newa Gilunath Ban Choon Deepa / Chapa
1989 690 Shakthiya Obai Amme Nirmala 'Nimmie' Randeniya
1989 693 Waradata Danduwam
1989 696 Siri Medura Nirmala Samarawickrama
1990 699 Jaya Shakthi
1990 702 Weera Udara
1990 713 Honda Honda Sellam Sub Inspector Geeta Randeniya / Neeta
1991 718 Paradeese
1991 724 Hithata Dukak Nathi Miniha Nirmala
1991 726 Raja Kello
1991 728 Madusamaya
1991 737 Sthree Magihami
1991 738 Suwadena Suwandak
1991 Sihina Ahase Wasanthaya Madhu
1992 751 Ahimi Dadaman Rathi
1992 756 Umayangana Elizabeth
1992 759 Ruamathiyay Neethiyay Kanchana
1992 763 Sathya
1994 803 Sanda Madala Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Sandalatha 'Sanda'
1994 811 150 Mulleriyawa Doctor Sujatha / Juliet 'Julie' Fonseka
1997 881 Apaye Thathpara 84000k
1998 901 Anthima Reya Luxmi
2002 984 Punchi Suranganavi Sinhala teacher
2003 1020 Vekande Walauwa Sujatha
2004 1032 Aadaraneeya Wassanaya
2006 1064 Dedunu Wessa
2006 1081 Ammawarune Sumanawathi
2007 1090 Uppalawanna Nayaka Meheniya
2008 1111 Aba Bhadra Kachchayana
2008 1114 Machan Manoj's mother
2009 1128 Akasa Kusum Sandhya Rani
2009 1120 Dancing Star herself. cameo appearance
2011 1166 Selvam Madhuvani
2012 1180 Prathiroo Leelawathi
2016 1265 Sarigama Matron
2020 Rookada Panchi School principal
Udu Sulanga
Muthuetaye Modayo
TBD Monara Vilak

Director and actor

Year Film Note
1984 Sasara Chethana Also as Producer
1987 Ahinsa Also as Producer
1991 Sthree
1994 Sanda Madala Also as Script writer
Preceded by
Swarna Kahavita
for Binaramalee
Sarasaviya Best Actress Award
for Hingana Kolle

Succeeded by
Vasanthi Chathurani
for Ganga Addara
Preceded by
Vasanthi Chathurani
for Ganga Addara
Sarasaviya Best Actress Award
for Aradhana

Succeeded by

Preceded by

Most Popular Actress Award

Succeeded by

Preceded by

Most Popular Actress Award

Succeeded by

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