Veteran Tamil film director Mahendran who made award-winning ‘Uthir Pookkal’ and ‘Nenjathai Killathe’ and other memorable movies in the 1970-80s, died at his residence in Chennai after a brief illness. He was 79.
His son John announced it in his twitter page. Mahendran ,who started as a script writer in m ‘Naam Moovar’ in 1966 made a name after he wrote the screen play for Sivaji Ganesan’s Thanga Pathakkam( 1974) .
He made his debut as a director in Mullam Malarum(1978) starring Rajni Kanth and late award winning actress Shoba. The highlight of the movie was cinematography by Balu Mahendra who was by when already directing films.
Mahendran brushed objections from the producer for casting Rajini in the lead role in that movie. It became a super hit. His Nenjathai Killathe(1980) starring Suhasini and Mohan, won three national awards for best film, best cinematography and best audiography.
He later directed Uthir Pookkal which won award for direction and play back singing( Janaki). With audience taste changing, he moved from realistic to commercially successful films and directed Rajini starrer Kali and Kai Kudukkum Kai.
In his later years, he did cameo roles in Rajani’s Petta, Vijay Sethupathi’s Seethakathi and Vijay’s Theri.
Leading artistes like Revathi and Parthiban and DMK president M K Stalin who have paid to Mahendran.
Directors Bharathi Raja and Manirathnam, actress Suhasini Manirathnam, music maestro Ilayaraja and senior stars Radhika and Mohan were among those who visited his residence and paid their respects.
Rajinikanth and director A R Murugadoss offered their condolences.