Veteran director K. Balachander, who was known in the South Indian film circles as ‘Iyakkunar Sigaram’ (a peak among directors), breathed his last on Tuesday evening, leaving behind a rich legacy of not just film and television work but a long list of technicians and actors he introduced in a career spanning nearly five decades.
The two biggest stars of the Indian film industry — Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth — are among those whom he mentored.
The 84-year-old, who was suffering from age-related ailments and admitted to a private hospital here last week, was declared dead around 7. 30 p.m.
According to sources, the final rites are to be performed on Thursday. The mortal remains would be taken to his house on Wednesday morning, where it would be kept for the people to pay their tributes. One of the doctors who treated him said the director showed a fighting spirit against his ailments just like the hero of his classic Ethir Neechal.
Mr. Balachander was the recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2010. He has directed over 100 films in all major South Indian languages. His most prolific decades in cinema were the 1970s and the 1980s, while in the 1990s he focussed on television serials. Among the first to visit Kauvery Hospital, where Mr. Balachander was undergoing treatment, was DMK president M. Karunanidhi, along with Rajathi Ammal and Kanimozhi. Prominent directors, including R. Partheban, Ameer, S.P. Jhanannathan and Cheran, all rushed to the hospital. Actor Rajinikanth reached his residence around 10 p.m.
The former Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, has condoled the death.
U know few mean a lot to u but u realize how much only when they leave us..KB sir has left us completely heartbroken..— khushbusundar (@khushsundar) >December 23, 2014
My mentor gone!My radical lion with a brave heart is gone! I lost my Dad again.My guru KB gone. >pic.twitter.com/qtKsFXDiTu— Vivekh actor (@Actor_Vivek) >December 23, 2014
RIP legend director KB sir ... A great director with a variety of work no one can match . And one of the best producers I've worked with— G.V.Prakash Kumar (@gvprakash) >December 23, 2014
This time bad news is for true...KB sir no more... The legendary KB sir left us. RIP— Prasanna (@Prasanna_actor) >December 23, 2014
My Guru , the legend , is now immortal. RIP KB Sir . ...— Mohan Raman (@actormohanraman) >December 23, 2014
Dear KB sir, your vision and creations have inspired 3 generations Really grateful for intro'ing me thru your co Kavithaalaya in Roja RIP!— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) >December 23, 2014
RIP >#KB sir .... Deeply saddened— Vidyu (Vidyullekha) (@VidyuRaman) >December 23, 2014
RIP K Balachander sir— Srinivas singer (@singersrinivas) >December 23, 2014
Veteran Director K.Balachander Sir passes away... RIP KB sir— Chiyaan Vikram (@chiyaanvikram) >December 23, 2014
Dismayed at the demise of one of the most loving and legendary Directors of Indian Cinema.— Ranganathan Madhavan (@ActorMadhavan) >December 23, 2014