A versatile actor known for her naturality in handling a wide range of characters and her comical timing K.P.A.C. Lalitha still remains one of the most respected actors in malayalam film industry. She has won the National Film Award for the best supporting actor in 1991 and 2001 for her performance in the films Amaram, directed by her husband Bharathan and Shantham respectively.
Maheshwari Amma known as K.P.A.C. Lalitha was born in Ramapuram near Kayamkulam, Kollam, Kerala on 25 February 1948 as the daughter of Kadaykatharayil Veettil K. Ananthan Nair and Bhargavi Amma.
She learned dance when she was a child from Kalamandalam Gangadharan. She started acting in plays when she was 10 years old.
Her debut play was Geethayude Bali. She later joined the K.P.A.C.(Kerala People's Arts Club). She was given the screen name Lalitha and later when she joined movies, the tag K.P.A.C. was also added to her screen name to differentiate from another actress also named Lalitha, and thus she became K.P.A.C. Lalitha.
Her debut film was the film version of her K.P.A.C. play Koottukudumbam directed by Thoppil Bhasi. She then went on to act in critically acclaimed films like Swayamvaram and Anubhavangal Plaichakal. She acted as the heroine opposite superstar Prem Nazir in Chakravalam.
She was also the female star in Kodiyettam(1977) opposite Bharath Gopi. In 1978 she married Bharathan, a noted Malayalam film director. She took a break from film acting for some years doing only a few films.
The second phase of her career started with Kattathe Kilikkoodu(1983) directed by her husband Bharathan. In this phase she did many critically acclaimed roles including those in Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam (1986), Ponn Muttyidunna Tharavu (1988), Mukunthetta Sumitra Vilikkunnu (1988), Vadakkunokkiyantram (1989), Dasharatham (1989), Venkalam (1993), Godfather (1991), Amaram (1991), Vietnam Colony (1993), Sphadikam (1995), and Aniyathi Pravu (1997).
On 29 July 1998, she faced personal tragedy when Bharathan passed away. She went into hibernation for a few months only to come back with a brilliant performace in Sathyan Anthikkad's film Veendum Chila Veetukaryangal(1999).
Her noted performances off late were in films Shantham (2000), Life Is Beautiful (2000), Alaipayuthey (2000) and Valkannadi (2002). She won her second National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Shantham(2000), directed by Jayaraj. She has acted in over 500 Malayalam films and 3 Tamil films. She is still active in films and one of the most respected personalities in the Malayalam film industry.