Malayali movie lovers won’t easily forget the production house Shirdisayi Creations, which gave Malayalam cinema some of its evergreen super hits. PKR Pillai, a noted entrepreneur had bankrolled blockbusters like Chithram, Vandanam, Kizhakkunarum Pakshi and Amrutham Gamaya, under the banner of Shirdisayi Creations. However, in an unfortunate twist of fate, the producer of the movies which catapulted many actors including Mammootty and Mohanlal to superstardom has plunged into abject poverty. It was producer Saji Nanthiyattu who let the world know about PKR Pillai’s plight, and it has already created ripples in the cinema fraternity.
The producer, who funded around 22 movies, is spending his life, in poverty and distress, at his home in Peechi, Thrissur. PKR Pillai once owned business ventures at almost all the big cities in India. His wife Rama says that the family fell into poverty when the businesses were taken over by those who were close to Pillai, through trickery and deceit.
Though the movies produced by him are still aired on the TV channels frequently, the 85 year old Pillai can’t seem to remember who owns the copyrights to those films. His wife and children sought the aid of the producers’ association when the family faced dire financial constraints to conduct the wedding of the producer’s youngest daughter.
Pillai, who lost his memories, is still waiting for his son, who died three years ago, to come home. Rama says that he had even tried, many times, to make a comeback into the movies. A native of Koothattukulam, Ernakulam, PKR Pillai had spent most his life in Bombay owing to his business. He had even contested in the Mumbai municipality polls as a Congress candidate. Besides, Pillai had shared close friendship with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He produced 22 movies within a span of 20 years. They family came down from Mumbai to settle at Thrissur, 10 years ago, when the business had crashed.
They sold their luxury house, which was worth more than Rs 6 crore, for a mere Rs 70 lakhs to buy the plot and house in which they are currently residing. Rama says that his friends from the cinema industry disappeared when he lost everything. The family hopes that the documents regarding the movies that he produced would be returned to them with the help of the producer’s association and his old colleagues.
Vepralam, made in 1984, was PKR Pillai’s first movie as a producer. Later he went on to bankroll movies like Onathumbikkoroonjal, Puli Varunne Puli and Oomapenninu Uriyada Payyan which are still loved by the audiences.
Sidhu R Pillai, one of Pillai’s four children, died in mysterious circumstances at Goa. He had acted in Dulquer Salmaan’s debut movie Second Show. Pillai’s another child is abroad, while the family is seeking alliances for his daughter.
Many associations have offered to help PKR Pillai after the story of his misfortune appeared in the media.