Tamil director, who gave superstar Rajinikanth career breakthrough, passes away
Veteran filmmaker J Mahendran, known for infusing realism in Tamil cinema and for giving superstar Rajinikanth his career breakthrough with Mullum Malarum, died in Chennai today. The 79-year-old filmmaker passed away after a brief illness at his residence, a source close to the family said. He was in the hospital for about a week for kidney-related ailments and was discharged yesterday. Here's more.
Last rites to be held later in the day
The last rites of the director will be held later in the day at his suburban residence. He is survived by son John who is also a film director. Mahendran was introduced to the world of cinema as a critic while working as a sub-editor in a Tamil magazine during his student days. He started his journey in the movies as a screenplay writer.
Mahendran made his directorial debut with 1978 film 'Mullum Malarum'
The filmmaker made his directorial debut with 1978 film Mullum Malarum, featuring Rajinikanth in the lead. Later, Mahendran and Rajinikanth worked on films like Kaali and Johnny. The director's popularity peaked with his movies Uthiri Pookkal (1979) and Nenjathai Killathey (1980). In the past few years, Mahendran had switched to acting. He played pivotal parts in Kamaraj (2004), Petta opposite Rajinikanth and Vijay's Theri.
Mahendran was last seen in recently released Tamil film 'Boomerang'
Mahendran was last seen in Tamil film Boomerang, which released this March 8. He was also the founding member of Blue Ocean Film and Television Academy, which is situated in Chennai. Speaking to reporters, the filmmaker's longtime associate and producer G Dhananjayan said Mahendra redefined the Tamil cinema at a time when it was dominated by the trend of delivering lengthy dialogues.
He brought touch of realism into Tamil cinema, said Dhananjayan
"He brought the touch of realism into Tamil cinema and it made people connect more to his movies. Mahendran is the forefather of realistic Tamil cinema," Dhananjayan said. Filmmaker AR Murugadoss, known for Ghajini, Thuppakki, took to Twitter to pay homage to the director. "It is deeply saddening to hear the demise of one of the pioneer filmmaker #Mahendran sir," he wrote.