Widely popular Tamil filmmaker J Mahendran, best known for his successful collaborations with superstar Rajinikanth in films such as Mullum Malarum (1978) and Johnny (1980), breathed his last at his residence on Tuesday morning.
According to his publicist, Mahendran was suffering from kidney-related ailments and was critically ill for over a week. He was undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital for over a week. On Monday, he was brought back home where he passed away early this morning.
Before establishing himself as a filmmaker, Mahendran began his career as a scriptwriter and made his debut with 1966 Tamil film, Naam Moovar.
He went on to write for few more films before taking the directorial plunge with Rajinikanth’s 1978 critically-acclaimed film, Mullum Malarum.
Always credited for bringing out the best in Rajinikanth, Mahendran had directed just 12 films in his illustrious career with Arvind Swamy-starrer 2004 film Saasanam being his last.
His 1979 film, Uthiri Pookal, starring Vijayan, Ashwini and Madhu Malini, is still considered one of the best Tamil films to be made.
After being away from the industry for over a decade, Mahendran made a strong comeback as an actor with Vijay-starrer Theri (2016), in which he played the antagonist. Following the good reception for his performance in the film, he starred in a few more films like Nimir (2018), Seethakathi (2018), Petta (2019), and Boomerang (2019).
Filmmakers such as AR Murugadoss, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan and Pa. Ranjith mourned the loss of Mahendran. 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.
It is deeply saddening to hear the demise of one of the pioneer filmmaker #Mahendran sir. You and your films live forever in our hearts sir. Rest in peace.
— A.R.Murugadoss (@ARMurugadoss) April 2, 2019
Cinematographer PC Sreeram tweeted: “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.”
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 “uthripookal”
May his soul rest on peace.
— pcsreeram (@pcsreeram) April 2, 2019
“Prayers and Salute to one of the greatest film makers of our times, Mahendran sir,” Lakshmy Ramakrishnan tweeted.
Prayers and Salute to one of the greatest film makers of our times , #Mahendran sir ????????
— Lakshmy Ramakrishnan (@LakshmyRamki) April 2, 2019
Pa Ranjith also tweeted his condolences to the filmmaker.
26 படங்களுக்கு கதை வசனம் எழுதி..12 படங்களை இயக்கி.. எதார்த்த சினிமாவின் வழிகாட்டியாக திகழ்ந்த நம் இயக்குநர் மகேந்திரன் சார் நம்மை விட்டு பிரிந்தார்.
அவரின் #முள்ளும்_மலரும், #உதிரிப்பூக்கள் ஆகச் சிறந்த சினிமாவாக காலத்திற்கும் நம்மோடு நிலைத்திருக்கும்..
கூகையின் இரங்கல் ???? pic.twitter.com/vO47dRveB3
— Koogai Thiraippada Iyakkam (@KoogaiThirai) April 2, 2019