Mahendran, veteran filmmaker and actor, passes away at the age of 79
The director always made films that clearly remained on the right side of the line between parallel and commercial cinema, and hence, stood the test of time
Legendary filmmaker and actor Mahendran passed away in his residence in the early hours of Tuesday. Over the past week, he was hospitalised, and was critically ill owing to kidney-related ailments.
Mahendran, 79, who is known for his poignant filmmaking style recently started donning the greasepaint and acted in quite a few big-ticket releases, including Karthik Subbaraj-Rajinikanth’s Petta.
Beginning his film career as a scriptwriter with the 1966 film Naam Moovar, he wrote the story and dialogues for classics like Thangappadhakkam and Aadu Puli Aatam before taking the directorial plunge with the 1978 Rajinikanth-starrer Mullum Malarum. His other collaborations with Rajinikanth in films like Johnny and Kai Kodukkum Kai is widely considered as the films that best showcased the actor in the Superstar.
Many filmmakers like Mani Ratnam and Shankar, credit his 1979 film Uthiri Pookal as one of the finest Tamil films to be made and their inspiration to make films. Never relying on major stars for his directorials, Mahendran helmed a total of 12 films with Saasanam, the Arvind Swamy-Gauthami starrer, which released in 2004 being his last.
After taking a break from cinema for almost a decade, he returned as an actor, and was welcomed warmly. His turn as the primary antagonist in Vijay-Atlee’s Theri was widely appreciated. Mahendran went on to star in many big-ticket films like Seethakaathi, Nimir, and the recently released Boomerang.
Mahendran, who as an Economics student, caught the eye of the late Tamil Nadu CM MG Ramachandran for his bold speech on the commercial constraints in cinema, stayed true to what he espoused and made films that clearly remained on the right side of the line between parallel and commercial cinema, and made films that stood the test of time.
Recently, the filmmaker joined the Blue Ocean Film and Television Academy (BOFTA) in Chennai as the head of the filmmaking and direction course to hone the skills of the next generation of filmmakers.
It has been announced that a public homage is in order from 10 am today, and the cremation is arranged by 5 pm this evening.
Meanwhile, condolences have started pouring on various social network sites from members of the film fraternity, and the common public alike.
Suhasini, who made her debut with Mahendran's Nenjathai Killathe expressed her grief on Twitter
my mentor philosopher and guide Director Mahendran Sir ...RIP you were way ahead of times in your writing and thoughts ...we were all your students many of us thanks for showing us the path to real cinema— Suhasini Maniratnam (@hasinimani) April 2, 2019
National Award-winning Dhanush too shared his thoughts on the legendary filmmaker
Rest in peace Mahendran sir. We are so grateful for all that you have taught us— Dhanush (@dhanushkraja) April 2, 2019
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