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Shanthi Lekha passes away
(Lanka-e-News, May 11, 2009, 6.25pm) Popular cinema actress Shanthi Lekha has passed away in France today (11) morning. Shanthi Lekha was 80 years old by the time she passed away.

She was a loving mother to her own children as well as for many young actors and actresses on the screen. It is a fact that Shanthi Lekha has the unbroken record of being cast in the role of mother in many a film during the past decades. She has also acted in more than 350 films since 1952.

Born in Kalutara on July 1, 1929 as Rita Irene Quyn she was later christened as Shanthi Lekha by her first husband Shanthi Viraj. Both of them played the lead roles in " Shantha Prabha", the first stage play of Shanthi Lekha directed by popular composer D.T. Fernando in 1942.

Her parents were reluctant to allow their daughter to take part in stage plays. That was a time when people looked down upon actors and actresses as " Nadagamkarayo".

However, Shanthi Lekha managed to get the permission from her parents to act in " Shantha Prabha" while she was a student at Holy Family Convent in Kalutara.

Although Shanthi Lekha started as an actress, she made the grade as an oriental dancer. She was the dancing girl in stage plays in which Dommie Jayawardena and Nona Subeda played the leading roles.

At the time she started acting in Sinhala films, they were entirely influenced by the South Indian cinema. Both Sinhala and South Indian films were identical except for the differences in language.
It was in "Sandeshaya" that she acted as a mother for the first time, thereafter she became the screen mother or aunt to many popular stars like Gamini Fonseka, Punya Heendeniya and Jeevarani Kurukulasuriya. No other actress has played so many roles as mother like Shanthi Lekha.

Shanthi Lekha is credited with more than 350 films and she has won several awards for her roles. She particularly cherishes her roles in "Uthumaneni", "Eya Den Loku Lamayek", "Amal Biso", "Parithyagaya", "Hithawathiya", "Sasara Chethana" and "Sakvithi Suwaya".

Among the awards she has received are for Best Supporting Actress awards in Gamini Fonseka's "Parasathumal" (Eksath Lanka Rasika Sanvidanaya in 1969) and Mudalinayaka Somaratne's "Binaramali" (Sarasaviya film awards in 1969).

She also won President's Awards in 1979 for her roles in "Mayurige Kathawa" and "Ridi Nimnaya".
(Thanks to CDN)
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