Noted filmmaker Balu Mahendra’s sudden demise has left a void in the film industry that could never be filled. The cinematographer-turned-director has made some of the best movies in Kollywood such as Azhiyatha Kolangal, Veedu, Moondram Pirai and Moodu Pani. These masterpieces and many more ensured that he carved a niche for himself and a place that will remain irreplaceable.
It is not just making movies that makes Balu Mahendra a class apart from the rest but also the fact that he gave some of the best filmmakers such as Bala, Ameer, Sasikumar and Vettrimaran to Tamil cinema. Cinema Pattarai is a school for wannabe filmmakers and actors that he founded and this school produced the best of the best, which is a proof that the rich legacy will continue.
Born on May 20th, 1939 in Batticola, Sri Lanka, Balu Mahendra completed his education with a Bachelors in Honours in London before moving down to Pune to pursue his passion in photography by enrolling himself at the Film and Television Institute of India.
Balu Mahendra made his debut with the Kannada film Kokila in 1977 and this film went on to win him the National Award for Best Cinematography. Incidentally, this movie was made in black and white. He followed it up with three Tamil movies – Azhiyatha Kolangal, Moodu Pani and Moondram Pirai – and the last in the list won him the National Award for Best Cinematography and Kamal Haasan won the National Award for Best Actor for featuring in it.
Balu Mahendra breathed cinema till his end as his last film, Thalaimuraigal, which hit the screens a couple of months ago was his last directorial venture. Sasikumar, who had produced Thalaimuraigal under his banner Company Productions recalled that Balu Mahendra wanted him to produce this film and he never once hesitated to do it as he had immense faith in his guru, who always strived for taking Kollywood a level higher. The veteran had said in an interview that he decided to play the central character in the movie simply because he did not want the budget to exceed as roping in another actor would mean paying him a hefty sum as salary.
His sudden demise has shocked the film fraternity and condolence messages from celebs have been dominating the social networking sites. Balu Mahendra’s death is just a physical phenomenon as he will continue to live through his work. RIP!