Veteran filmmaker Mahendran passes away, Kollywood in shock

Noted film director J Mahendran passed away early today morning, following a brief hospitalisation. His son John Mahendran confirmed his passing on social media.

John Mahendran tweeted announcing his death: “Director Mahendran passed away this morning.”

Mahendran was undergoing treatment in Apollo Hospitals. He was rushed to the ICU last week after a dialysis session and had been on ventilator. Family sources said the cremation would be held at 5.00 pm.

The legendary director’s sojourn as an actor in films like Theri, Nimir and Petta was received warmly. He was recently seen in the Atharvaa-starrer Boomerang.

Mahendran is credited for mentoring Rajini during his initial days in the film industry. During several occasions, Rajini has gone on to credit the legendary director for his success.

Mahendran became a prolific screenplay writer before turning to direction. His first directorial Mullum Malarum (1978) was an instant hit that had impact beyond the box office.

The film had Rajinikanth, Sarath Babu and Sobha in the lead roles. Later, Mahendran and Rajinikanth worked in films like Kaali and Johnny. Many believe that Mahendran contributed significantly to the rise of Rajinikanth as the superstar we known him today.

Often, people have attributed his first tryst with cinema to the incident that took place during his college days, when a young Mahendran impressed MGR with his witty speech at a college event, the 100-day celebrations of MGR’s Naadodi Mannan at Alagappa College in Madurai.