Tamil film fraternity woke up to sad and shocking news of veteran director J Mahendran’s demise this morning. Although the information about him being critical at the hospital was shared earlier, it was difficult to accept the bitter truth. The director has left behind such beautiful pieces of artworks and he will be very dearly missed. He started his film career by writing stories and later screenplay followed by dialogues. But it was in 1978 he made his debut as a director with superstar Rajinikanth as a hero in Mullum Malarum.
Mahendran could be ascribed as one of the important directors who shaped the career of Rajinikanth. Mullum Malarum was a turning point in the actor’s life and even now, it is considered to be one of his best. It paved the way for a beautiful friendship between a director and a hero. Mullum Malarum talked about the relationship between a ruffian brother and his sister which featured the supremely talented late Shoba as Rajini’s sister and the late Fatafut Jayalakshmi as his spouse. Kaali was the name of the character played by Rajinikanth and in one of his interviews, Mahendran was quoted as saying, “I would not have made the film if Rajinikanth was not in it. I had a producer who never turned up at the sets. But I had Rajini as hero, Ilayaraja as the music composer and Balu Mahendra as the cinematographer. It was only natural that the film was a success”. When Mahendran was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to cinema in one of the events, he immediately dedicated it to his, “Super friend Rajinikanth”. Such was their affection towards each other.
Rajinikanth also reciprocated warm feelings towards Mahendran. In one of the film events, when director K Balachander asked Rajinikanth which character was close to his heart, pat came the reply “Kaali from Mullum Malarum”. It clearly demonstrated the respect that Rajini had for Mahendran. Johnny in 1980 and Kai Kudukkum Kai in 1984 were the other two films that this hero-director teamed up for. Mahendran was one of the directors who brought out the best from Rajinikanth. The name Kaali given to Rajinikanth by the director has become legendary which was recently used in Karthik Subbaraj’s blockbuster hit Petta starring Rajinikanth. The style that we have all come to identify with the Superstar owes its genesis in Mahendran’s films only. In fact, it will not be an exaggerated statement to say that it was Mahendran who made Rajinikanth a phenomenon. Today while we mourn the passing away of this revered director, we also cherish the friendship that he shared with Rajinikanth. Rest in peace Mahendran!Read More