Balu Mahendra, director of acclaimed Tamil film Moondram Pirai and its Hindi version Sadma, died in a Chennai hospital today. He was 74.Mr Mahendra, a veritable one-man industry, was also an accomplished screenwriter, editor and cinematographer. He graduated from Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India and began his career as a cameraman on the Malayalam film Nellu in 1971.
Mr Mahendra’s first film as director was the Kannada language Kokila (1977). He also made its Hindi version Ek Aur Prem Kahani. Mr Mahendra directed some of Indian cinema’s most talented actors – Kamal Haasan and Sridevi in Moondram Piraiand Sadma, Amol Palekar in Olangal, and Mammootty and Shobhana in Yathra.Balu Mahendra won five National Awards, two of them for cinematography. He also won three Filmfare South trophies, two Nandi awards and three state film awards.