K Balachander- A trendsetter who nurtured talent

K Balachander- A trendsetter who nurtured talent

Ace director K Balachander had a knack of championing social causes without being obvious. The man behind the upliftment of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan’s film careers, Balachander made an instant impact upon his entry into films with his first film, “Neerkumizhi”.

Balachander went on to produce more than 150 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi languages, of which he directed 53, including “Aval Ora Thodar Kathai”, “Avargal", “Varumayin Niram Sigappu”, “Moondrum Mudichu”, “47 Natkal,” “Benkiyalli Aralida Hoovu”, “Thappida Tala”, “Eradu Rekhegalu”, “Sundara Swapnagalu”, “Kallki” etc.

Called “Iyakumar Sigaram”, Balachander was also instrumental in bringing talents including Ramesh Aravind, Prakash Rai, Sarita, Sujata, Prameela, Sumitra, Jayachitra, Jayasudha, Shruthi and others in into the South Indian film industry, who portrayed his sensitive middle class characters with aplomb under his guidance.

Though working in mainstream commercial cinema, Balachander’s films were seen as uncompromisingly unique, thought provoking and varied in structure. His courage and conviction in his subjects and his ability to get the best out of people explains the phenomenal success of his films, both in artistic as well as in commercial terms. The director’s “Arangetram” movie revolved around a Brahmin girl’s poverty and her getting into prostitution to sustain her family. Kamal Hassan appeared in his first adult role in this film.

During Balachander’s career, he introduced more than 50 actors and technicians including Oscar award winner A R Rahman.  Born into a Tamil Brahmin family in 1930 in Thanjavur district, he was attracted towards theatre and drama and participated in stage plays.  For the last few years, Balachander had turned his attention to the small screen, bringing the same perfection and intensity that he exhibited on the large screen.

Recently, Balachander’s son Kailasam, an engineering graduate, died from lung infection.

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