Chennai: Well-known Tamil filmmaker J. Mahendran, very popular for making some path-breaking films with superstar Rajinikanth, breathed his last here at his residence on Tuesday. He was 79.
According to his publicist, Mahendran had been critically ill and was undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital for over a week. On Monday night, he was brought back home.
“He died early this morning at his residence. He was brought home from the hospital last evening after being treated for a week. The cremation services will take place this evening,” the publicist told IANS.
Born in 1939, Mahendran began his career as a scriptwriter and made his debut with the 1966 Tamil film “Naam Moovar”. He went on to write a few more films before taking the directorial plunge with Rajinikanth’s critically-acclaimed 1978 film “Mullum Malarum”.
Known for truly bringing out the acting potential in Rajinikanth, his other collaborations with the superstar include “Johnny” and “Kai Kodukkum Kai”.
His 1979 film “Uthiri Pookal”, starring Vijayan, Ashwini and Madhu Malini, is still considered one of the best Tamil films to be made.
Mahendran had directed just 12 films in his illustrious career with Arvind Swamy starrer 2004 film “Saasanam” being his last.
After being away from the arc lights for over a decade, Mahendran made a strong comeback as an actor with the Vijay starrer “Theri”, in which he played the antagonist. Following the good reception for his performance in the film, he starred in a few more films like “Petta”, “Nimira, “Seethakathi” and “Boomerang”.
Filmmakers such as A.R Murugadoss, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan and Pa. Ranjith mourned Mahendran’s loss. They took to Twitter to express their condolences.
“It is deeply saddening to hear the demise of one of the pioneer filmmakers Mahendran sir. You and your films live forever in our hearts sir. Rest in peace,” Murugadoss tweeted.
Cinematographer PC Sreeram wrote: “He spoke less and his films spoke more. To me his films were of great inspiration How can I forget the sleepless night I had after watching ‘Uthiri Pookal’ May his soul rest on peace.”
“Prayers and Salute to one of the greatest filmmakers of our times, Mahendran sir,” Lakshmy Ramakrishnan tweeted.