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'A Role Model for Next-gen Directors': Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan Pay Tribute to J Mahendran

Veteran director turned actor J Mahendran breathed his last on Tuesday morning at his Chennai residence.

Poornima Murali | News18.com

Updated:April 2, 2019, 6:12 PM IST
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'A Role Model for Next-gen Directors': Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan Pay Tribute to J Mahendran
One of the most prominent faces of Tamil cinema, director J Mahendran breathed his last at his residence in Chennai on April 2, 2019. He was 79. He was hospitalised after brief illness. His son and filmmaker John Mahendran shared the news on Twitter. He wrote, “Director Mahendran passed away this morning.”

He was the one who gave Rajinikanth a career breakthrough with his directoral debut film Mullum Malarum in 1978. Veteran director turned actor J Mahendran breathed his last on Tuesday morning at his Chennai residence.

His son John Mahendran broke the news on Twitter, tweeting, "Director Mahendran passed away this morning". The last rites were held at 5pm today.

Following news of his death, a string of celebrities expressed their condolences.

Superstar Rajinikanth, among many others who paid their tribute to J Mahendran, said, “Our friendship was beyond the film industry. We shared a strong relationship. He found another Rajinikanth in me. After watching 'Mullum Malarum' movie, Director Balachandar congratulated me and said-- I'm proud of introducing you to Tamil cine industry--. All the credit goes to Mahendran sir. Recently, we both acted in Petta movie and we had a lively time. He told me he is angry with the current society, cinema and politics here in Tamil Nadu. He was a kind of person who never compromised on his ideology. He is still a role model for the next-gen directors. His loss is a huge loss for Tamil Cinema. Even though he has left us, there is always a place for Mahendran sir in Tamil Cinema industry. May soul Rest in Pease and my deep condolences to his family.”

Kamal Hassan too paid his last respects to the legendary director. He said: “Though the two of us shared very little screen space, our friendship lasted long. He was an accomplished personality I admired the most. Tamil Cinema will always remember the works of Mahendran.”

Lyricist Vairamuthu said: “Mahendran was the reason behind the evolution of cinema from theatre plays to classic movies narrating the plight of the society. He was the script writer for the movie ‘Kaali’ and that’s also my first film as a lyricist. He raised Tamil cinema to a national level. By making movies out of novels, he proved that cinema is equal to literature.”

Director Bharathiraja broke down while paying homage to Mahendran.

Pa. Ranjith tweeted: “Simplicity defined him. He took films like 'Uthiripookal', 'mullum malarum' and proved how the art-house cinema too can attract the general public. Sir, your work will speak always.”

In October last year, Director Mahendran was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by News 18 Tamil Nadu.

“After receiving the award, Mahendran addressed the audience and said: “I am surprised to get the award from my dear brother MK Stalin. MK Stalin financially supported me to direct my first film. I am satisfied to get this award from him who helped me kick-start my career in films. This award in not only for me but for all the technicians, actors and all others who travelled along with me. In my journey. Achievement is not accomplished by a single person. Usually, while getting these awards, I generally mention the name of my co-actors and other technicians. This time, I would like to dedicate this award to my dear friend Rajini Sir. Thank you.”

From starting as a script-writer to directing 12 films, Mahendran also acted in a few movies, the latest was Boomerang that was released on March 8 this year.

Mahendran’s blockbuster films included Uthiri Pookkal (1979) and Nenjathai Killathey (1980). He also acted as a villain in Rajini’s Petta and Vijay’s Theri.

(With inputs from M Subramani)

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