Legendary filmmaker Balu Mahendra has passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on Thursday (February 13).He was admitted to the hospital after he suffered a heart attack.
His assistant has confirmed the news and has said that Balu Mahendra breathed his last around 11 am today. His body will be taken to a school in Saligram for the public homage. He will be cremated as per the Hindu customs tomorrow.
Balu Mahendra was born on 20 May, 1939, in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. He had developed an interest towards photography at a very early age when his father had gifted him a camera. But his passion towards cinema started taking shape after watching David Lean's making of 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'.
The filmmaker had not quit his education to pursue a career in films. Indeed, he had gone to London to get a bachelor's degree in science. It is only after completing his education, he turned towards film industry by joining Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He did a cinematography course and passed out with a gold medal.
The Beginning Of Film Career
His first break in film industry came in the form of Nellu, a Malayalam movie, directed by Ramu Kariat, in 1974. Not surprisingly, he won the Best Cinematographer Award from Kerala Government. He worked in 20 odd films between 1974-77 as a cinematographer. Especially, he was the most wanted cameraman in Malayalam film industry. Continue reading the story on the slideshow...
It is not Tamil or Malayalam, but Kannada film industry marked his directorial debut. His first movie was Kokila starring Kamal Hassan, Mohan, Shoba and Roja Ramani. The movie earned him the Best Cinematography Award at the 24th National Film Awards.
Balu Mahendra directed above 20 movies in different languages. His first Blockbuster in Tamil was Moondram Pirai.
He entered Bollywood with Sadma starring Kamal Hassan and Sridevi. The film remained one of the best movies of Balu Mahendra.
His last work as a director was Thalaimurigai in 2013. He had also acted in the film in the role of a grandfather, which was appreciated by audience.
The highlight of his direction was he himself edited and handled the camera. It is because he wanted to have the full control over his films.
Balu Mahendra won five National Awards, four Filmfare Awards, two State Awards each from Kerala and Andhra governments and one Karnataka State Award.