HR Jothipala

From TobaccoUnmasked
Image 1: HR Jothipala [1]

HR Jothipala (Image 1), popularly known as ‘Jothi’ was a Sri Lankan singer and an actor. He is reported to have sung more than 5,000 songs in his career of three decades. He was most popular as a playback singer in Sinhala cinema, singing in more than 200 films.[2][3]

Jothipala was born in Dematagoda, Sri Lanka, as the eldest of a family of six.[4] He studied at St. Lawrence College Maradana and St. John’s College Dematagoda.[3] He was a smoker and an alcohol user.[5] Father of four, he died at 51 years.[6] Media, quoting a nurse at the private hospital he died, reported that his death was from “kidney failure due to alcohol usage”.[7]

Tobacco Related Activities

Jothipala frequently featured in CEAC shows, a series of public concerts sponsored by the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) and organised by CEAC entertainments in 1970s. As reported by a former CTC employee, these shows attracted his fans from rural under-developed areas in large numbers, who brought along their young children.[2]

Links with the Industry

Dr. Ajantha Ranansinghe, a renowned Sri Lankan song-writer, in an interview to a national Sunday newspaper (Image 2) declared that Jothipala was once approached by two agents from a tobacco company for a “photograph with a cigarette held in the lips”. According to Dr. Ranasinghe, Jothipala refused outright, stating “I don’t like to. Smoking cigarettes is a bad habit. I am finding it difficult to give it up. When young people see me smoking a cigarette in a photograph, they will also start smoking saying, if Jothi does it, we should also do it. I don’t like that to happen”. [5]

Image 2: The newspaper article on an interview with Dr. Ajantha Ranasinghe reporting how Jothipala was approached by a cigarette company for an advertisement[5]

TobaccoUnmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

The local language translations



  1. Google Images, HR Jothipala, 2017, accessed February 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dee Cee. Jothi: Making waves then and now, 15 August 2010, Kala Corner, Wijeya News Papers Limited, accessed February 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 Uvais R. Jothi, always alive in our hearts, 29 July 2003, Daily Mirror Online, accessed February 2017
  4. Weerakkody K. He lives in the heart of his fans, undated, Leisure,, accessed February 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Silva N. Jothi Kiyanne Puduma Manussakam Thibuan Gayakayek: Acharya Ajantha Ranasinhge, 7 July 2013, Rivira: Rivisarasi, accessed February 2017
  6. Jayawardana R. Immortal Jothi, 2 July 2008, Daily News Archives, accessed February 2017
  7. HR Jothipala, Undated, accessed February 2017