Acclaimed filmmaker K Balachander Passes Away
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Acclaimed filmmaker K Balachander, who brought in a new wave of filmmaking in Tamil cinema with bold themes and mentored talented actors like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Sridevi, died.
The 84-year-old Dadasaheb Phalke award winner, who carved out a niche for himself on the national stage with memorable films like ‘Arangetram’, ‘Aval Oru Thodarkadhai’, Rajini and Haasan-starrer ‘Apoorva Raagangal’, ‘Avargal’, ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’ and ‘Aaina’, died of heart attack following a brief illness.
Popularly known as KB, Kailasam Balachander broke away from the staple Tamil films of that time in the early ’70s by championing bold themes and the cause of women and downtrodden in his films and was a trend-setter.
Hailed as “Iyakunar Sigaram” (peak among directors), Balachander stood out for experimenting with new faces like Saritha, Sujatha, Mohan, Prakash Raj, comedian Vivek and character artiste Nazar.
Balachander made his debut in cinema with Tamil film ‘Neerkumizhi’, based on his play in 1965. Late comedian Nagesh had portrayed the poignant role of a cancer patient in the film.
His ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ was a brilliant portrayal of a yearning for intellectual companionship by the protagonist and the intricate relationship problems that came with it.
Born on July 9, 1930 at Nannilam in the then composite Thanjavur District (now Thiruvarur), Balachander directed films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi.
He wrote, directed and produced more than 100 films in his long career, launching more than 65 actors, actresses and technicians in the Tamil film industry.
His blockbuster movies include ‘Aval Oru Thodarkathai’, (Tamil) which was remade as ‘Anthulaney Katha’ in Telugu, ‘Maro Charitra’ (Telugu) remade as ‘Ek Dhuje Ke Liye’ in Hindi, and ‘Thillu Mullu’ (remake of Golmaal in Hindi).
Several accolades came his way in his glittering career including Dadasaheb Phalke award (2010), Padma Shri (1987), Kalaimamani Award (Tamil Nadu) Nandi and Golden Nandi (Andhra Pradesh) besides nine National film awards and Filmfare trophies.
Even while working in the AG’s office, he staged several dramas. His successful play ‘Server Sundaram’ was later made into a Tamil film (1964) and was directed by Krishnan Panju and produced by AVM.
Kavithalaya, and Min Bimbangal were his production houses that made films and television shows respectively.
He produced several television mega serials including ‘Rail Sneham’ and ‘Kai Alavu Manasu’. Recently, he acted in ‘Rettaisuzhi’ which was produced by film director Shankar