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.
Jothipala was born in Dematagoda, Sri Lanka, as the eldest of a family of six. He studied at St. Lawrence College Maradana and St. John’s College Dematagoda. He was a smoker and an alcohol user. Father of four, he died at 51 years. Media, quoting a nurse at the private hospital he died, reported that his death was from “kidney failure due to alcohol usage”.
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.
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”. 
Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:
The local language translations
- Google Images, HR Jothipala, 2017, accessed February 2017
- Dee Cee. Jothi: Making waves then and now, 15 August 2010, Kala Corner, Wijeya News Papers Limited, accessed February 2017
- Uvais R. Jothi, always alive in our hearts, 29 July 2003, Daily Mirror Online, accessed February 2017
- Weerakkody K. He lives in the heart of his fans, undated, Leisure, Island.lk, accessed February 2017
- Silva N. Jothi Kiyanne Puduma Manussakam Thibuan Gayakayek: Acharya Ajantha Ranasinhge, 7 July 2013, Rivira: Rivisarasi, accessed February 2017
- Jayawardana R. Immortal Jothi, 2 July 2008, Daily News Archives, accessed February 2017
- FMDerana.lk. HR Jothipala, Undated, accessed February 2017