March 23

4 Facts You Didn’t Know About Rukmani Devi: Sri Lanka’s Iconic Singer and Actress


Sri Lanka has produced several iconic figures in the fields of music, film, and art. One such personality is Rukmani Devi, an actress, and singer who ruled the Sri Lankan film industry in the 1950s and 1960s. She was born in 1923 and passed away in 1978, leaving behind a legacy that still inspires many. Despite her popularity, some fascinating facts about Rukmani Devi’s life remain unknown to many people. In this blog post, we will delve into some of these lesser-known details of Rukmani Devi’s life.

Section 1: Her Early Life and Career

Rukmani Devi was born on January 15, 1923, in Sri Lanka. Her father, Arthur Shelton Fernando, was a musician, and he passed on his love for music to his daughter. Rukmani showed exceptional talent in singing and acting from a very young age, and her family recognized her potential early on. When she was only 16 years old, she made her debut in the film industry by playing a minor role in “Siri Methanadu.” Despite her young age and limited exposure, Rukmani’s performance was impressive, and it was only a matter of time before she became a household name.

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Section 2: Rukmani Devi’s Singing Career

Rukmani Devi’s singing career was as illustrious as her acting career. She sang over 400 songs, and many of them became timeless classics. She established herself as the “Nightingale of Sri Lanka” and was highly respected for her melodious voice and versatility. Rukmani’s songs, which were mostly in Sinhala, dealt with various themes such as love, patriotism, and social issues.

Section 3: Her Impact on Sri Lankan Cinema

Rukmani Devi’s contribution to the Sri Lankan film industry is immeasurable. She acted in over 100 films and played diverse roles. Rukmani was a pioneer in portraying strong female characters on screen. She challenged conventional notions of femininity and paved the way for other actresses to follow in her footsteps. Moreover, Rukmani Devi’s films were known for their high-quality music, dance, and cinematography, making them cultural touchstones of Sri Lanka.

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Section 4: Her Marriage to Aloysius de Silva

Rukmani Devi was married to Aloysius de Silva, a businessman, and politician, who shared her love for music. Together, they formed the famous “Rukmani-Devadasa” duo and produced many hit songs. However, their marriage was not without challenges. Aloysius became increasingly involved in politics, which put a strain on their relationship. Eventually, they separated, and Rukmani raised their three children as a single mother.

Section 5: Her Influence on Future Generations

Rukmani Devi’s influence on Sri Lankan culture extends beyond her time. Her contributions to music and films continue to inspire younger generations. Many Sri Lankan artists, both male, and female, credit Rukmani Devi as their role model. Her pioneering spirit and unwavering dedication to her craft serve as a source of inspiration to many Sri Lankans.

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Section 6: Her Social Activism

Rukmani Devi was not only a talented artist but also a socially conscious individual. She used her platform to raise awareness about social issues such as poverty, women’s rights, and education. Rukmani often sang at charity concerts and donated the proceeds to various causes. Her contribution to social activism earned her respect and admiration from many Sri Lankans.

Section 7: Her Legacy

Rukmani Devi’s legacy continues to live on, even decades after her passing. Her timeless music and films are still popular among Sri Lankans, and her influence on Sri Lankan culture is undeniable. In 2012, the Sri Lankan government recognized Rukmani Devi’s contribution to the arts and awarded her with the “Kalasuri” title, the highest honor given to an artist in Sri Lanka.

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Q1. What was Rukmani Devi’s real name?
Ans: Rukmani Devi’s real name was Daisy Rasammah Daniels.

Q2. Did Rukmani Devi act in films in other languages besides Sinhala?
Ans: Yes, Rukmani Devi acted in a few Tamil films.

Q3. Did Rukmani Devi receive any awards for her contribution to the arts?
Ans: Yes, Rukmani Devi was awarded the “Kalasuri” title by the Sri Lankan government in recognition of her contribution to the arts.

Q4. Was Rukmani Devi involved in any philanthropic activities?
Ans: Yes, Rukmani Devi often sang at charity concerts and donated the proceeds to various causes.

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Q5. How many films did Rukmani Devi act in?
Ans: Rukmani Devi acted in over 100 films.

Q6. What is Rukmani Devi’s most famous film?
Ans: Rukmani Devi’s most famous film is “Nidhanaya,” directed by Lester James Peries.

Q7. Did Rukmani Devi ever remarry after her separation from Aloysius de Silva?
Ans: No, Rukmani Devi did not remarry after her separation from Aloysius de Silva.


Rukmani Devi was a trailblazer in Sri Lanka’s music and film industry. Her legacy continues to inspire and influence Sri Lankans, making her one of the most celebrated cultural icons of the country. Her life was marked by passion, perseverance, and dedication to her craft. As we learn more about her life, we can appreciate her contributions and pay homage to her legacy. Let us remember Rukmani Devi’s timeless music and films and celebrate the impact she had on Sri Lankan culture.

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