GK Pillai is the recipient of the Ragamalika – JAYAN Award 2011

GK Pillai in Nair Pidicha Pulivaal
GK Pillai in Nair Pidicha Pulivaal

GK Pillai, an actor who can truly be called a living legend, has been announced the recipient of the RAGAMALIKA – JAYAN AWARD for 2011 , instituted by the Jayan Samskarika Vedi in memory of the late Jayan, actor, who passed away on 16 November 1980. GK Pillai debuted in Malayalam films in 1954,  at the age of 29, way, way before any actor currently active in the industry faced the arc lights, in Associated Pictures’ Snehaseema, playing the role of an octogenarian ! That makes him, rightly, the oldest living actor in Malayalam film industry who is still active in his profession, and prolific in his creative output, even after 57 years ! And the number of films he has beena part of ? Frankly, I have no idea. He has been that prolific.  Of course, the oldest living actor right now would be the legendary Pappukkutty Bhagavathar, but he hasn’t been active in movies post 70’s as an actor, though he surprised everyone with his rendition in Marykkundoru Kunjaadu lately. Though his debut was in Snehaseema ( 1954), I think the movie that actually got him noticed, as an  actor and a gruff villain has to be Nair Pidicha Pulival (1958), yet another one from the Associated Pictures’  stable.

A clipping from the movie.

GK Pillai should also be the actor who must have acted in almost all of Uday Studios’ production, or atleast the one who must have done the maximum number, who can ever forget his almost permanent place in every single Vadakkan Pattukal – based movie that came out of Udaya Studios.

GK Pillai in Kannappanunni
GK Pillai in Kannappanunni

I remember the the earliest appearance of GK Pillai and Jayan together onscreen in Kannappanunni (1977), a role that made the general public sit up and take notice of the latter, and mostly the producers who were looking at a new star rising.

Jayan in Kannappanunni (1977)
Jayan in Kannappanunni (1977)

Coming back to the Ragamalika – JAYAN Award 2011, it includes a Cash prize of Rs10,000, a memento & citation, and will be presented to him on 16-11.2011 at the Y.M.C.A.Hall. Thiruvananthapuram, by Sreekumaran Thampi, as the chief patron of the Jayan Samskarika Vedi.

I also hope that the Documentary planned on Jayan, and presumably in the making since the past one year would be released and I can lay my hands on a legal copy of the same soon.  The official site on Jayan which has been blissfully announcing that it will be “released  Soon would soon be a reality, I really hope.

Here is the teaser of the documentary.


Update : 26 Dec 2011.

Photographs from the event : courtesy Sreekumaran Thampi, the prime force behind the Ragamalika – JAYAN Award.

Sreekumaran Thampi lights the ceremonial lamp at the Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi lights the ceremonial lamp at the Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi honors GK Pillai with the Ponnaada at the Ragamalika - JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi honors GK Pillai with the Ponnaada at the Ragamalika – JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi hands over the citation to GK Pillai at the Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi hands over the citation to GK Pillai at the Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi hands over the award cheque to GK Pillai from Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
Sreekumaran Thampi hands over the award cheque to GK Pillai from Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
GK Pillai with the Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
GK Pillai with the Ragamalika -JAYAN Award 2011
The Distinguished Guests on the Dais at the Ragamalika-JAYAN Award 2011
The Distinguished Guests on the Dais at the Ragamalika-JAYAN Award 2011

Related : Poovachal Khader conferred the Ragamalika – JAYAN Award 2010

9 thoughts on “GK Pillai is the recipient of the Ragamalika – JAYAN Award 2011

  1. G.K. Pillai deserves a lifetime achievement award! Kudos to his persistence and achievements in the film world. I salute you Sir.

    1. He sure does deserve it Sunil. Being around in an industry that values talent and dedication for close to 6 decades is no mean task, and still being active in his profession.Thanks.cinematters

  2. Ha ha ..i can relate to you Anu. I used to feel the same way about Balan K Nair.. my heart used to beat faster when he came on screen ,the late 70s-80 movies. Gk Pillai gave one of his best performances in a serial Swapnam , which had Praveena, Sreevidya ( again, i loved her in this) in the lead..This was a clean serial (at least i felt so) and luckily was the first and last serial i have watched..

    1. Shama, I shivered when Balan K Nair came on screen. I was (still am, I think) *very* susceptible to plot / character / dialogues. Of course, watching films on DVDs now has diluted the experience. Somehow you are not as invested when you’re sitting in your own living room with the lights on. It’s not like being cocooned in the darkness of the theatre; isolated, even when you are amidst many hundreds of people. Then, when Jayan came onscreen, it seemed he was there only for me.🙂 When the villain threatened the hero / heroine, he was threatening me. It was me, and them – alone.

      Alright, I think I’m beginning to sound a little (?) crazy.🙂

      1. Ladies, if I may intrude, this good doctor finds nothing wrong with you Anu🙂 In fact, it would have been, if otherwise. That is exactly what happens with a great movie experience. Just curious, haven’t you ladies never had the “Govindankutty experience” ? Not in any movie? Ever? If creepiness could sneer, it surely would look like Govindankutty🙂..Just curious..regards..cine matters

  3. I have seen all the movies you mention, cinematters, and in hindsight, can only grin at the thought of Jayan emoting. But he *did* emote enough to make a little child feel sad when he cried on screen (or I was (still am) susceptible to my emotions being manipulated onscreen) so I have no complaints against him.🙂 Etho oru swapnam had some unbelievable songs! And I absolutely adored Vidhubala. She was such a fantastic actress.

    And now that you mention it, I remember GK Pillai as the police officer in a whole bunch of movies. Thanks for triggering old memories. As for official recognition, where have any of the ‘character actors’ got any?

    1. LOL ! I’m pretty much sure, had he not met with that terrible accident, he would have evolved brilliantly for the times in Malayam cinema and would have given us a host of memorable characters.🙂 cinematters

  4. Swoon.🙂 One of my favourite actors. Okay, okay, ‘actor’ is an overstatement, but he definitely had screen presence! I was a kid when he died, but I remember feeling very sad when I learnt he had died in a helicopter accident. He was probably the only ‘hero’ of the time who did his own stunts, and looked convincing when he beat up the villains. I’m glad they are making a documentary on him = please let me know when a legal copy becomes available.

    As for GK PIllai, I was always scared when he came on screen.🙂 He mostly played villainous roles, didn’t he?

    1. Hi Anu,
      Actor would very much be what you should be using as your statement🙂 Apart from the “industry-grade” pot-boilers that he found himself in, there were a handful of movies that he really proved his, shall I say, ‘softer’ side of emoting, like Etho Oru Swapnam ( the makeup/prosthetics can make you cringe, but it was an amazing movie), Abhinayam ( Vidhubala’s last movie), Karimbana..hardly anyone speaks about these. Will surely keep you posted on the documentary.And yes, GK Pillai I feel never minded the ‘type-casting’ – most remember him for his ‘Police Officer/Gangster roles’ but his early years had him portray an amazing variety of characters on screen. 56 years in mainstream movies and not a single ‘official recognition’, much like most of his peers ! Thanks..cinematters

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