Veteran director J Mahendran, aged 79, passed away at his residence in Chennai early morning today. The noted filmmaker was being treated for a critical illness at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital. However, he was reportedly taken home last night.
The announcement of his death was made by his son, director John Mahendran, who simply put a picture of the ace director and gave away the sad news. The final rights of the director are scheduled to be performed at 5:00 pm while the public homage will reportedly be held at 10:00 am today.
Apart from being known as one of the acclaimed filmmakers of the South Indian film industry, J Mahendran is also respected for shaping up actor Rajanikanth’s career. His 1998 directed film Mullum Malarum is considered as a milestone in the actor’s career and a film that eventually lead to his superstardom.
Mahendran has several classics to his credit, including the Rajinikanth- -starrer Mullum Malarum (1978), Uthiripookkal (1979) and Nenjathai Killathe (1980). Critical of the over-the-top elements of commercial Tamil cinema, Mahendran wanted to make films that were understated and true to life. But before he became on of Tamil cinema’s most influential filmmakers, Mahendran was a screenwriter.
Born J Alexander in Ilayangudi in Tamil Nadu on July 25, 1939, Mahendran made his writing debut in 1966 with Jambulingam’s comedy Naam Moovar, which featured Jaishankar, Nagesh and Pandari Bai.