Veteran Malayalam actor G Kesava Pillai, known popularly among fans as G K Pillai, passed away due to age-related ailments in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday, December 31. He was 97. Considered to be one of the oldest and most influential actors in Malayalam cinema, Pillai breathed his last at his residence, reports say. The legendary actor had garnered a huge reputation for his deep voice, well-built physique, and distinctive style and had made appearances in over 320 films and television serials during the course of his illustrious career. He is survived by six children. 

Born in 1924 at Chirayinkeezhu, Pillai enlisted in the army at age 16 and returned home after serving the country for 12 years. Having developed a taste for arts at a young age, he got acquainted with Prem Nazir and made his acting debut alongside the iconic Malayalam actor in the 1954 film, Snehaseema. Although he quickly made a name for himself appearing as a villain in a number of films, Pillai garnered acclaim and a big fan following by playing lovable character roles in both films and television. Some of his most memorable performances include roles in films like Aromal Unni, Choola, Sthanarthi Saramma, Harichandran, Ashwamedham, Karyasthan, and Snapaka Yoyannan

G K Pillai carved a niche for himself especially in the 'Vadakkan Paattu' films, a film genre based on old ballads from medieval times. He was also one of the few actors who would perform his own action stunts. A highly busy actor till the 1980s, Pillai stepped away from the limelight and made a comeback in 2005 in television serials like Kunkumapoovu and Kadamattathu Kathanar. The news of the veteran actor's demise left many Malayalam cinema fans and celebrities sad, including Mammootty and Mohanlal expressing their condolences on social media. 


A post shared by Aswathy (Presilla Jerin) (@aswathy_actress)


A post shared by Kishor Satya (@kishor.satya)