Chennai: Veteran filmmaker Mahendran breathed his last this morning. Actor Rajinikanth, DMK president MK Stalin, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and many personalities have condoled his death. Mahendran was 79.
Rajinikanth who has often credited Mahendran for making him a ‘superstar’, visited his house to pay final respects to his director friend.
Rajini said, “Mahendran and I enjoyed a friendship that extended beyond cinema. He was the person who identified a second Rajini within me. He never ever compromised on self-respect. As long as Tamil cinema exists, there will always be a special place for director Mahendran.”
DMK president Stalin in his condolence statement said, “Director Mahendran was a hero among the directors of Tamil cinema. He is an example of simplicity and made realistic films. As a director who can act and write, Mahendran was multifaceted. I express my deepest condolences to everyone who mourns his death.”
Mahendran passed away around 7.45 am. His final rites will be performed today around 5 pm. A few days ago, Mahendran was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, following kidney-related ailments, and reportedly, became sick after a dialysis session.
Born in 1939, Mahendran started his film career penning stories for Tamil films – including Jai Shankar’s Naam Moovar (1966), Jayalalithaa’s Panakkara Pillai (1968) and Sivaji Ganesan-starrer Thangapathakkam (1974) among others. His film Nenjathai Killathe, starring Suhasini and Mohan in the lead, went on to win three national awards, and Sasanam (2006) was his last directorial venture.
Though Mahendran wasn’t directing films post-Sasanam (2006), he took up acting assignments. He appeared in character roles in Theri, Nimir, Seethakaathi, Petta and Boomerang, which was released last month. His films that ran well and got critical acclaim were, Mullum Malarum, Uthiri Pookkal, Johnny and Nandu. Mahendran’s son John Mahendran is also a director and helmed Vijay-starrer Sachien.
Photo: A R Jayakumar