A leading Kathakali actor of the southern style, Mr. Govinda Pillai was initiated into the world of Kathakali at the tender age of nine by his uncle Chathannoor Velu Pillai. His portrayal of the character Hamsa (the Swan) in Nalacharitha was simply exemplary and no wonder that he is the only actor to perform Hamsa in the highest number of stages after his Guru Kurichi Kunjan Paniker. An excellent teacher, Mr. Govinda Pillai’s disciples include known performers like Kalamandalam Ramchandran and Kalamandalam Ratheeshan. Many honours came his way including the Kerala Kalamandalam Award and Sangeet Natak Akademi award. He was a visiting professor at Margi.