Veteran director-actor John Mahendran, the man behind many famous films such as Mullum Malarum, Nenjathai Killadhe, and Uthiripookal, passed away at his residence on April 2, 2019. The director was critically ill for the past few days, and was undergoing treatment at the Apollo hospital in Chennai, but was brought back home on Monday night. Mahendran was responsible for the growth of many artists and technicians who he put to best use in his films, including the one and only Superstar Rajinikanth.
In the later stages of his career, Mahendran came in playing important roles as the villain in Thalapathy Vijay’s Theri, a judge in Seethakathi, a man addicted to his caste in Petta and many more including Gautham Karthik’s Mr. Chandramouli. We got in touch with director Thiru, the director of Mr. Chandramouli, who spoke about the man’s greatness and the experience of being on the same shooting spot with him.
“You can never see a director being so down-to-earth, even after so many successful films. I met him through my producer Dhananjayan, and there were simple interactions then. I started off by talking about his most memorable films, but he moved onto talking about other films with such a wide viewpoint. His knowledge of world cinema is unmatched. After such discussions, I was afraid while going to the shooting spot, but thankfully, he was so comfortable to work with. Believe me, even for a small improvisation that he wanted to add to the character, he came up to me and asked me with so much respect,” says Thiru, who was stunned at the behaviour of the veteran.
“On the sets, only the director must be the brilliant guy. Everybody else should be idiots”- Thiru recalls this line that he heard from the director on the sets of his film. “I also remember an incident where his son had called me because Mahendran sir wanted to use one of my film’s dialogues for a public gathering. It was a special moment for me to see somebody else making use of my dialogue, and the fact that they had taken permission from me for the same,” he says.
“It’s quite painful that he has left us at such a busy phase of his career. Right from his days as a film critic to a dialogue writer to a director and then an actor, it is a very different and memorable career graph. Such a legend, he is not with us today,” he concludes.Read More