Renowned Malayalam film and stage actor KPAC Lalitha died at the age of 74 on Tuesday at a hospital in Kerala’s Kochi. In a career spanning five decades, she starred in over 550 films in Malayalam and Tamil. She won two National Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress along with four Kerala State Film Awards. She got the national award for the character in ‘Amaram’ in 1999 and for ‘Shantham’ in 2000. She also held the position of the Chairperson of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy for five years.
Born as Maheshwari Amma in Kayamkulam on 25 February 1948, as the eldest among five children. She was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 Filmfare Awards South. She was married to the late Malayalam filmmaker Bharathan. Her first movie was the film adaptation of Koottukudumbam directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan. In 1978 she married Bharathan, a noted Malayalam film director. She took a break from film acting for sometime, doing only a few films. The second era of her career started with Kattathe Kilikkoodu (1983) directed by her husband. Her pairing with Innocent (actor) was hugely popular with the audience between 1986 and 2006 with successful films like Gajakesariyogam, Apporvam Chillar, Makkal Mahatmiyam, Shubha Yatra, My Dear Muthachan, Kannanum Polisum, Arjunan Pillaiyum Anju Makkalum, Injankaddai Mathan and Sons, Pavam Pavam Rajakumaram.
During this time, she did many critically acclaimed roles In 1998, when her husband Bharathan died, she took a break for a few months, only to come back with an acclaimed performance in Sathyan Anthikkad directed Veendum Chila Veetukaryangal (1999). Lalitha has a daughter Sreekutty and a son Sidharth who debuted as an actor in the movie Nammal, which was directed by Kamal. After a short career in acting, he chose a career in film direction. In 2012, he made his directorial debut with Nidra, which is the remake of 1984 film with the same title written and directed by his father Bharathan. She published an autobiography, titled Katha Thudarum, which won the Cherukad Award in 2013.