18th 1953 an unforgettable day for the villagers of
Benthara Haburugala. Wijayapala,
a lad who had captured the hearts of the villagers was getting
married to Siriwardena Arachchilage Udulawathi the daughter of
Kothmala Wataaddara Appuhami (well known as Bandara Mahaththaya
among the villagers).
Two years passed by and then
on 5th of July a beautiful princess was born. They
named their precious bundle of joy Geetha Samanmalee. Geetha
was born in Badulla, but grew up in Bentara, Alpitiya. Geetha
had her education at Sangimitta Girls School Hamburugala & Holy
Family Convent Kalutara.
a child she showed an inborn talent for singing and dancing. She
was merely 16, when she was crowned the “Beauty Queen” out of
100 contestants. The contest was organized by “Dawasa”
a beauty contest was not an easy task for Geetha. Her father
Wijaya Kumarasinghe a journalist and sub editor of the “Sinhala
Bauddaya” was a strict disciplinarian. He refused to allow his
daughter to compete in any beauty pageant.
Mother Udula a kind hearted Kandiyan lady from
Kotmale, was more sympathetic since her only
concern was to help her favourite elder daughter.
Finally it took all persuasive powers of Amita
Abeysekera the well known journalist to get Wijaya
Kumarasinghe to turn a blind eye on Geetha’s
result of the contest was a foregone conclusion
– Geetha won hands down. But the girl was such a
stunning beauty that one of the judges- Ronald
Fernando as well as Amita Abeysekera both close
friends of Gamini Fonseka told him that a film
natural had been selected the beauty queen of
Geetha’s father would not allow her to go to the movies her Aunt
Mrs Aruna Wickramapala was a friend of Dr. Lester James Peiris. It
was Mrs. Wickramapala’s mansion that Dr. Lester James Peiris
used the location for Ransalu. Little Geetha who spent her school
vacations in her aunt’s house in Kollupitiya would gleefully
imitate Punya Heendeniya and collect slides of the film which she
preserved secretly between the covers of her school books.