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N. Krishna Pillai (22 September 1916 – 10 July 1988) was a Malayalam language dramatist, literary critic and historian from Kerala state, India. As a playwright, he was best known for his realism and dramatic portrayal of psycho-social tensions.
Pillai brought a new outlook to the Malayalam drama. He is known as "Kerala Ibsen". The plays by N.Krishna Pillai mark the evolution of realism, shedding farcical humour to undertake a serious study of character. His main works include Bhagna-Bhavanam (Broken Home) in 1942, Kanyaka (Spinster) in 1944, Balabalam (Might against might) in 1946, Anuranjanam (Compromise) in 1954, Mutakkumutal (Investment) in 1960, Kutathile Vilakku (Lamp inside the pot) in 1972.
He won the Sahitya Akademi Award given by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, for his Literary criticism Prathipathram Bhashanabhedam in 1987. Pillai is also a recipient of Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award. Also he is the maternal grandfather of Jitesh Pillai who is the present editor of Filmfare magazine.
N. Krishna Pillai died on 10 July 1988.
The N. Krishna Pillai Foundation was established in Thiruvananthapuram in his memory, which apart from other activities, also organized an annual Theatre Festival in his honour.