April 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.

As 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” Newspaper. 

Entering 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. 

Geetha’s 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 adventure.

The 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 Bentota.

Though 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.

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