Director J Mahendran passes away; Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, pay last respects

J Mahendran Rajinikanth Kamal Haasan

According to his publicist, Mahendran had been critically ill and was undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital for over a week. On Monday night, he was brought back home.

After the news of director’s demise, messages of condolences from celebrities and fans have flooded the internet. Now, photos of the biggest superstars and celebrities of Tamil films have emerged on social media, paying their last respects to Mahendran.

One of the firsts to arrive at the Mahendran residence was arguably the biggest superstar of southern cinema, Rajinikanth.

It is said that Thalaiva owes a significant part of his stardom today to the veteran filmmaker. It was his debut directorial venture, Mullum Malarum (1978) which put Rajinikanth on the map and gave his career the push that it needed.

Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan also arrived at the Mahendran residence to pay his respects.

Filmmaker Mani Ratnam, who is not only known in the south for his stupendous filmmaking but also a name recognised by fans of Bollywood movies, also paid his last respects to the veteran filmmaker.

Several other celebrities including the likes of actress Varalaxmi Sarathkumar visited the Mahendran household and offered her condolences to his family.

Born in 1939, Mahendran began his career as a scriptwriter and made his debut with the 1966 Tamil film “Naam Moovar”. He went on to write a few more films before taking the directorial plunge with Rajinikanth’s critically-acclaimed 1978 film “Mullum Mallarum”.

Known for truly bringing out the acting potential in Rajinikanth, his other collaborations with the superstar include “Johnny” and “Kai Kodukkum Kai”.

His 1979 film “Uthiri Pookal”, starring Vijayan, Ashwini and Madhu Malini, is still considered one of the best Tamil films to be made.

Mahendran had directed just 12 films in his illustrious career with Arvind Swamy starrer 2004 film “Saasanam” being his last.

After being away from the arc lights for over a decade, Mahendran made a strong comeback as an actor with the Vijay starrerTheri“, in which he played the antagonist. Following the good reception for his performance in the film, he starred in a few more films like “Petta”, “Nimira, “Seethakathi” and “Boomerang”.

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