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Gamini Fonseka in a scene from Welikathara.jpg
Gamini Fonseka as A. S. P. Randeniya in the climax scene of the film
Directed by D. B. Nihalsinghe
Produced by D. B. Nihalsinghe
Swarnamali Gunatunge
Written by Tissa Abeysekera
Starring Joe Abeywickrema
Gamini Fonseka
Music by S. Elvitigala
Release dates
Running time
118 minutes
Country Sri Lanka
Language Sinhala

Welikathara (Sinhala, Desert) is a 1971 dramatic film made by Sri Lankan director D. B. Nihalsinghe.It was the first film directed by D. B. Nihalsingha.

Since Welikathara was the first film in CinemaScope in Sri Lanka, it faced many obstacles, first of which was the lack of access to cinemas capable of showing that format. (Most of them had been reserved for US films). This was solved by arranging a cross circuit release, combining cinemas in the three competing circuits at that time- another first.

The film was a box office success as well as being critically appreciated, going on to be presented by a Sri Lankan Presidential Award as one of the Ten Best Sri Lankan films of all time.


The film is about the clash between Goring Mudalali (Joe Abeywickrema) and ASP Randeniya (Gamini Fonseka).

The film marked the turning point in the career of many of those who were involved in it.

D. B. Nihalsingha went on to direct several other award winning films, Ridi Nimnaya, Maldeneiye Simieon and Kelimadala, before he went on to pioneer color television production in Sri Lanka and South Asia.

It was loosely based on a true story and the first screenplay by Tissa Abeysekara, who went on to become one of Sri Lanka's best script writers.

Tissa Abeysekara, previously an "additional dialogue writer" to Lester James Peris, marked his entry as a screenplay writer with Welikathara. He went on to become Sri Lanka's foremost script writer thereafter. Joe Abeywicrema, who until then was a comedy actor, went on to become a character actor of repute with his magnificent performance.

Gamini Fonseka, who was Sri Lanka's foremost star at that time, gave a significant performance where, in a total reversal of the heroic roles he portrayed, he acted out a character in decline.

Somadasa Elvitigala added one more feather to his cap with this film after the beautiful musical score he created for Sath Samudura.


Actor Role
Joe Abeywickrema Goring Mudalali
Gamini Fonseka ASP Randeniya
Suvineetha Weerasinghe | Geetha
Sweeneta Abeysekera


The film was shot in Point Pedro and was South Asia's and Sri Lanka's first to be done in cinemascope. It was a box office success after its first screening on October 27, 1971 and critically well received.

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Presidential Film Award in 1999
  • Named 10th Best Sri Lankan Film of the first 50 years by Presidential council in 1997


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welikathara — Please support Wikipedia.
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