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Veteran director J Mahendran, who made Rajini a ‘Superstar’, passes away at 79

By Online Desk

Filmmaker-actor J Mahendran, who is known for directing evergreen films like ‘Uthiri Pookal’ and ‘Mullum Malarum’, passed away today morning. He was 79.

The veteran director was admitted to a hospital in Chennai in a critical condition on March 27. 

VIEW GALLERY: Check out some rare photos of one of Kollywood’s finest directors J Mahendran

John Mahendran, son of the ace director, took to social media to share the sad news about the passing away of the ‘Nenjathai Killathey’ director.

The legendary director’s sojourn as an actor in films like Theri, Nimir and Petta was received warmly. He was recently seen in the Atharvaa-starrer Boomerang.

Mahendran is credited for mentoring Rajini during his initial days in the film industry. During several occasions, Rajini has gone on to credit the legendary director for his success.

His mortal remains will be brought to his residence at 10 am, where it will be kept for the public to pay their respects. The funeral will be held at 5 pm.

The veteran director’s journey

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 Johnnyand 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.

(With inputs from Cinema Express)

Source: The New Indian Express