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 Maheswari Amma in Kayamkulam of Alappuzha, the actress had joined K.P.A.C (Kerala People's Arts Club), a prominent drama troop in Kerala.
She was then given the screen-name Lalitha and later when she started acting in movies, the tag K.P.A.C was added to her name.
She was married to the late Malayalam filmmaker Bharathan. Siddharth, her son is also a filmmaker and actor in Malayalam cinema.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has expressed his condolences on the death of Lalitha. "Lalitha has become part of the history of an era, penetrating the hearts of different generations with her acting skills," he said.
The Chief Minister recalled her contribution as chairperson of Kerala Lalitha Sangeetha Nataka Akademi and said that she has always been associated with the progressive movement.
Opposition leader V D Satheesan also condoled the demise of KPAC Lalitha and said she was a unique genius in Malayalam cinema and drama.
"They made each character unique with her extraordinary acting skills. As an artist, she has offered extreme justice to her characters. She was a school of natural acting," he said.