Malayalam News

GK Pillai, Veteran Malayalam Actor, Dies at 97

Veteran Malayalam actor GK Pillai died on Friday morning in Thiruvananthapuram. According to a report in Mathrubhumi, the 97-year-old actor passed away due to age-related ailments at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. 


GK Pillai was born in July 1924. He studied at the Chirayinkeezhu Sree Chithira Thirunal High School and served in both the Indian army and the navy, before pursuing a career in cinema. In 1954, he made his acting debut with the film Snehaseema, which was directed by SS Rajan and written by Ponkunnam Varkey. 

In a career spanning over six decades, Pillai acted in over 300 films and transformed the antagonist’s role in Indian cinema and television. The 1970s and 1980s were a turning point in Pillai’s career with appearances in notable action and historical films. During this period, he further cemented his status as a celebrated villain by starring in the ‘Vadakkanpattu’ genre of films.


He was part of prominent films like Ashwamedham (1967), Aromalunni (1972), Aanakkalari (1978), Paalattu Kunjikannan (1980), as well as Padayottam (1982), the epic period drama noted for being the first 70mm film in South India.

Pillai also acted in a lot of Malayalam television series including Kadamattathu Kathanar and Kumkumapoovu.

Condoling the demise of the actor, Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a social media post, wrote, “GK Pillai was an actor who gained a place in the minds of different generations through his unique acting style. His acting career spans more than six decades from black and white films to television serials.”

Several artists from the Malayalam film industry, including, Mohanlal, Mammootty, and Manju Warrier, paid their respects to the late actor via social media. 

As per the Mathrubhumi report, Pillai’s wife Ulpalakshi Amma passed away a few years earlier. The later actor is survived by his six children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.