Balu Mahendra, 74, died Thursday morning from a heart attack at a Chennai hospital. The veteran filmmaker maker was the winner of five National Film Awards in India and directed 22 separate movies. Known for his attention to story and bringing innovative uses of color to Indian cinema, he was well respected in the industry.
Balu Mahendra was born in Sri Lanka in 1939. After watching Bridge Over The River Kwai at the age of 13, he was hooked on the idea of getting involved in movies. His career spanned five decades beginning with an opportunity to work on Nellu as a cameraman in 1974. He won the Best Cinematographer Award at the Kerala State Film Awards. Working behind the camera for two years, he developed his eye for the visual on 21 different movies.
Mahendra got his directorial debut in 1977 with the film Kokila. It would go on to win the first of his five National Awards. His other award winning movies were Moondram Pirai(won for his use of color), Veedu, Sandhya Raagam, and Vanna Vanna Pookkal. His last major successes were in the early 1990’s and his most recent films had struggled to do well. Either way, he was an inspiration to many young filmmakers in India’s growing industry. In order to give back, Balu Mahendra started an institute for training aspiring directors.
Not only was Mahendra critically acclaimed, he was adored by his film industry colleagues and fans. They took to Twitter to express their fond memories and sadness at the thought of his death.
Deeply saddened on the demise of Balu Mahendra.The legacy of his creations Sadma & Moondaram Pirai will live on.My condolences to the family
— Sridevi Boney Kapoor (@SrideviBKapoor) February 13, 2014
Dear balumahendra sir. Thank you for enriching us with lovely movies.We Will always cherish your moments of creation. Thank you chief. RIP
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) February 13, 2014
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) February 13, 2014
Sad to hear the Demise of Master of Innovative Camera Style,Natural Lighting, maker of my favourite hindi film SADMA. Balu Mahendra, RIP.
— Madhur Bhandarkar (@mbhandarkar268) February 13, 2014
RIP Balu Mahendra Sir. The man who revolutionised south indian cinema. The films you leave back will talk for you.
— Fahadh Faasil (@twitfahadh) February 13, 2014
The legendary Sri Lankan director will be remembered by his peers, students, and fans for a long time. The Inquisitr sends our condolences to the Balu Mahendra family.