Balanathan "Balu" Mahendran is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter, and cinematographer widely regarded as part of the first in a wave of directors and screenwriters from the Chennai film industry who revitalised Tamil cinema. He initially developed an early interest in photography.
A cinematography graduate and a gold medalist from the FTII in Pune. He started his film career as a cameraman for the Malayalam film Nellu in 1974, which earned him the best cinematographer award from the Government of India. He has been chosen as the best cinematographer for as many as ten films. He pioneered innovative camera style for colour in South India.
Being a Tamilian, his first film as a director was Kokila, a Kannada film, which earned him a National Film Award. Azhiyatha Kolanagl (1979) was his first directorial venture in Tamil. He is considered as one of the few film makers in Tamil who can tell a story visually. He writes the script for his films, handles the camera and edits the film himself, thus retaining a firm control over his creative output.
He worked mainly in Malayalam for directors like K. S. Sethumadhavan and P. N. Menon, before making his first film in Kannada, and then moving on to direct films in Tamil and Malayalam languages.
He made his first Hindi Film Sadma,which is a remake of his own Tamil film Moondram Pirai with Kamal Hasan and Sridevi. This film is supposed to be one of the finest films made by him. The film superbly captures the emotions involved in the relationship between the two main characters. He made another Hindi film, Aur Ek Prem Kahani which was about the love affair between a young man and his maid told in a realistic and simple manner. He has directed a malayalam movie Yatra which was remade in Tamil.
Mahendra is said to have witnessed the shooting of David Leans The Bridge on the River Kwai and was so impressed that he decided to become a filmmaker.The film director Mani Ratnam approached Mahendra to work on the cinematography of his first Kannada film, Pallavi Anu Pallavi. It has been reported that he almost refused to work with Ratnam whom he perceived as a novice at that time. He has since been quoted as admiring Ratnam for his infectious enthusiasm.He never hesitated to work with Ratnam when Ratnam approached him. Instead he agreed to do the film enthusiastically when Ratnam met him and narrated the story to him.
Mahendras strength as a cinematographer has helped him use visuals as an effective vehicle to carry the story forward.he has revolutionized cinematography in Tamil cinema, He has handled social issues like red tapism, corruption and old age in films like Sandhya Raagam. The women in his films come out strongly as can be seen in Veedu (Tamilzh).
Balu Mahendra is very good Directory, i like hes all film particularly moonram pirai & vanna vanna pookkal.kajen, srilanka on 12-11-2011
good photop.manivannan, phot g on 09-05-2012
hai my guru plz make with new filmof this generation then i like ningal kettavai and i become a future director i remake with ningal kettavai. . .karthi, chennai on 26-08-2011
When tamil &telugu cinema are doing dramaspradeep shakthi, on 04-04-2014
respected please you can come now and give good filimsfor the young genaration ..Rajaselvam Ramalingam, Chennai Tamilnadu on 24-08-2012
My ambition was I cant able to live without him(great balu mahendra sir)...thats itRamesh Maruthanayagam, Chennai on 29-01-2013
legendinindiancinemasanthoshkumar.r, denkanikotta on 09-02-2014
want new flim illyaraja,femiler actorskarthike, coimbatore on 04-04-2011
Legent of indian film industry. Heartly wish 4 ur long life....!K. RAJKUMAR, Salem on 06-09-2012
i want a film from u pairing with ilayaraja. the upcoming film of yours should be in such a manner how a film should be, photography, dialogue deliveries,casting,bgm etc... world should realise a living legend " balu magendra " is back after 6 years from "adhu oro kanakalam "surender, on 12-05-2011
Its a very bad time of cinema of losing such a director!!!!!taralyasasha, karur on 15-02-2014
Balu Mahendra was a legend in the Indian film world. The film world has lost a great personality.Thilliar Varnakulasingham, New Zealand on 06-03-2014
Balu Mahendra was a legend. He was a great achiever. He created history. He lived ahead of time. He was an outstanding director and a cinematographer. His death is a great loss to the film industry in India. May his soul rest in peace.Thilliar Varnakulasingham, New Zealand on 17-02-2014