KPAC Lalitha, veteran actor in Malayalam cinema, passed away in Kochi on the night of Tuesday, February 22. She was 74 years old. Edavela Babu, actor and secretary of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), confirmed to TNM that Lalitha died around 10 pm. She has been suffering from poor health for the past few months.
Lalitha entered cinema after a career in theatre. A prolific actor, she has acted in over 500 films in a career spanning over 50 years. Lalitha won two National Awards for best supporting actor (female) and four Kerala State film awards. She was the chairperson of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi.
Some of her most memorable performances were noted in the movies Amaram, Shantham, Sandesham, Malootty, Kadinjool Kalyanam, Nasrani, Godfather, Manichithrathazhu and others. She got her first state award for second best actor (female) in 1978, for her performance in the film Neelaponman. Whether in a cameo or a full fledged role, KPAC Lalitha was one of those actors who connected with the audiences and made her performances special.
Lalitha was also an occasional dubbing artiste in the early days. She had famously dubbed for the unseen female protagonist in the award-winning film Mathilukal, where only her voice is heard throughout the film as she speaks to Mammootty on the other side of a jail fence.
She was last seen in the film Home. A number of her upcoming films in various stages of production are pending release.
Lalitha had been suffering from liver cirrhosis. A few months before, she had needed a liver transplant and her daughter Srikutty had sent out a message asking for donors who could be available immeditately.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled Lalitha’s death. “She has become part of history with her acting skills, by winning a place in the hearts of various generations. Her acting career was one that began in theatre and Malayalis considered her a part of their family. She has won people's hearts with her social commitment,” he said.
Born Maheshwari Amma, she was a native of Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district of Kerala and joined the leftist theatre group Kerala People’s Arts Club (KPAC) as a young woman. She was the wife of renowned and critically acclaimed director Bharathan who passed away in 1998. Siddharth Bharathan, an actor and filmmaker in Malayalam cinema, is her son. Her daughter's name is Srikutty.