Dadasaheb Phalke awardee K Balachander, an ace Tamil director who launched popular actors like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, passed away in Chennai on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was 84.
Balachander had been admitted to a city hospital after he fell unconscious at his residence last week. Hospital sources said he was also undergoing treatment for urinary tract infection.
His condition had deteriorated after a surgery early last month to remove a brain tumour. “Around 7 pm following a massive heart attack, KB was declared dead. His condition was already in a deteriorated state after he developed infection and fever and that he had been under dialysis for the last five days following the failure of his kidneys did not help,” said an official at the hospital.
Balachander, whose entry into the world of cinema was accidental, had penned and directed over 100 movies and a dozen TV serials in the 1990s. He honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke award in 2010, besides winning nine national awards during his 49-year association with filmmaking.
(See PHOTOS: Filmmaker K Balachander passes away)
It all began when he was approached to write dialogues for Dheiva Thaai (1965) by M G Ramachandran when he was an employee at the accountant general’s office in Chennai. A reluctant Balachander, who was more interested in theatre, agreed to take up the project.
He became a celebrity among his colleagues at AG’s office after he wrote a play, Major Chandrakanth, for the felicitation of a new accountant general in 1963. The play was a big hit and later adopted into celluloid in three languages – Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.
In 2009, he went back to the world of theatre with his play, Pournami.
While many of his movies as well as television serials were noted for portrayal of bold woman characters, he was also remembered for introducing actors like Rajinikanth (Aboorva Ragangal), Kamal Haasan (Arangetram) and Prakash Raj (Duet).
Balachander is survived by his wife Rajam, son Prasanna and a daughter Pushpa Kandaswamy. His another son Kailasam, who was also a director, had passed away recently.