Tamil film-writer, filmmaker and actor J Mahendran, who is known for directing evergreen films like 'Uthiri Pookal' and 'Mullum Malarum' breathed his last today, April 02. He was 79.His death came as a severe blow to the Tamil film industry.
The veteran director was admitted to a hospital in Chennai in a critical condition on March 27.
John Mahendran, son of the ace director, took to social media to share the sad news about the demise of the 'Nenjathai Killathey' director.
The former head of the direction department of BOFTA Film Institute in Chennai made his breakthrough as a screenwriter for the film Naam Moovar in 1966. He also wrote the script for Nirakudam starring Sivaji Ganesan. He announced that he was working on a new film in 2014 starring newcomers, for which Ilaiyaraaja would score music. He has also worked as an actor for films like Kamaraj (2004), Theri (2016),and Nimir (2018). His Nenjathai Killathe won three National Film Awards including the award for the best regional film. He was last seen in Boomerang.
Mahendran is credited for mentoring Rajinikanth during his initial days in the film industry. His 1978 Mullum Malarum came as a breakthrough for Rajinikanth, who plays a delightful rogue there. During several occasions, the 'robot' actor has gone on to credit the legendary director for his success.
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. Mahendran helmed a total of 12 films with Saasanam, the Arvind Swamy-Gauthami starrer, which released in 2004 being his last.
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.