Malayalam director I V Sasi passes away

Malayalam director I V Sasi passes away
Acclaimed Malayalam film director I V Sasi, whose work defined popular cinema for decades, died in Chennai on Tuesday. He was 69.

A prolific filmmaker who peaked in the 1970s and 1980s with films across genres, Sasi was arguably the only director of his time who enjoyed a box-office stature on a par with or greater than stars who appeared in his films.

Sasi directed about 150 films in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi and was reported to be in talks for a return, with a big film based on the Gulf War.

Sasi started out as an art director in the late 1960s and directed his debut feature, Utsavam, in 1975.

He worked repeatedly, and successfully, with second-rung stars before making the big league with Avalude Ravukal (1978), a super-hit, also noted for its bold theme.

In the 1980s, he delivered a series of multi-starrer blockbusters, most of them featuring Mohanlal and Mammootty.

In 1981, Sasi picked Mammootty for Trishna, a film which marked the actor’s transition to leading roles.

A state-award winner, his prominent films include Ithaa Ivide Vare (1977), Angaadi (1980), Ee Naadu (1982), Aalkoottathil Thaniye (1984), Vaartha (1986), Aavanazhi (1986), Mrigaya (1989) and Devasuram (1993).

Aaroodham (1982) won the national award for the best feature film for national integration. His last film was Vellathooval, released in 2009.

Sasi worked with writers on diverse themes and had a prolific collaboration with writers, including the Jnanpith Award winner M T Vasudevan Nair. It was with the late T Damodaran that he formed a template for angry, and at times anti-establishment, political films.

He brought Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan together for the Malayalam-Tamil bilingual Alavudeenum Athbhuthavilakkum (1979).

Later, he directed them in separate films in 1980, Kaali and Guru, respectively. His Hindi films include Anokha Rishta (1986) with Rajesh Khanna.

Sasi is survived by his wife Seema, a popular actress who featured in many of his films, and a son and daughter.
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