PKR Pillai: A man of many hats who faced cruel twist of fate

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PKR PIllai | Photo: VP Praveenkumar / Mathruhumi

Kannara (Thrissur): Noted film producer PKR Pillai (92), who breathed his last on Tuesday, entered the film industry with his maiden production ‘Vepralam’ in 1984. He also played a double role in the film.

The Mohanlal-starrer ‘Chithram’, directed by Priyadarshan and produced by Pillai in 1988, turned out to be a milestone in the history of Malayalam cinema. The movie was screened in a theatre continuously for more than one year.

He also played a major role in Mohanlal’s rise to stardom. He was the one who produced the actor’s hit movies ‘Shobhraj’, ‘Vandanam’, 'Amrutham Gamaya’, ‘Aham’, and ‘Kizhakkunarum Pakshi’ among others.

Pillai, who was born in Ernakulam, began his career through a small venture called Starnet Group of Industries. He had to shift to Mumbai for business reasons and that was a major turning point in his life.

In addition to films, Pillai was passionate about horse racing too. He owned more than two dozen horses. Taking his chance in politics, Pillai also contested as a Congress candidate in Mumbai municipality.

His last movie production was ‘Pranayamanithooval’ in 2002. With the distribution of ‘Achanurangatha Veedu’ in 2006, Pillai decided to take his time off and bid bye to the film industry.

Meanwhile, in 2018, Pillai’s son and actor Sidhu, who played a major role in ‘Second Show’, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Goa. With the tragedy, Pillai suffered memory loss and began to spend his days on the second floor of his house, waiting for his son’s return.

He even forgot about who was in possession of the rights to his popular movies that were still being telecasted on television channels. His wife Rema had once informed the Producers' Association officials about their financial situation as she faced difficulty in arranging money for Pillai’s treatment and the marriage of their younger daughter.

The family demanded satellite rights to the movies but to no avail. At last, they made their livelihood through the income generated from a textile shop run by Pillai’s wife and daughter.

Pillai is survived by his wife and children Rajesh, Preethi and Sonu. The funeral will be held at 12 pm on Wednesday.

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