Remembering K Balachander : A stellar filmmaker

Remembering K Balachander on his death anniversary: 5 reasons why he was an integeral part of Indian cinema

K Balanchander was the 'guru' of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan

K Balachander was a filmmaker par excellence. Credit: DH File Photo

There's no denying the fact that K Balachander was one of the most respected and sought-after filmmakers in Indian cinema. The maverick storyteller enjoyed a strong fan following due to his unique brand of storytelling, which was ahead of the times. On Wednesday, as movie buffs remember 'KB sir' on his death anniversary, here is a look at why he is irreplaceable.

Mentor par excellence: Balachander was the 'guru' of actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. 'Thalaivar' made his big-screen debut with the 1975 release Apoorva Raagangal, the Sadma actor's first film in a lead role. He went on to collaborate with them on several occasions, helping the then up-and-coming stars make an impact. Actors Prakash Raj, Vivek and Nassar too owe a large part of their success to 'Margdarshi'. 

His films had strong female characters: It is no secret that his movies featured strong female protagonists, who got equal importance as the male characters. Hema Malini's character for example was the pivot of Ek Nai Paheli, especially in the first half. KB also helped a young Sridevi push her limits with Moondru Mudichu, which saw her play the role of Rajinikanth's step-mother

Striking a balance: Balachander was one of the few filmmakers who touched upon sensitive issues with his films without diluting their commercial appeal. Ek Duuje Ke Liye, touched upon the 'North-South divide' while focussing on a typical love story. The film featured chartbusters, which are popular even today. 

Pan-India storyteller: Balachander directed critically-acclaimed films in multiple languages emerging as a pan-India storyteller. He impressed the Telugu audience with films such as Idi Katha Kadu and Maro Charitra. The filmmaker made an impact in Hindi cinema with Mumtaz's Ainaa and the blockbuster Ek Duuje Ke Liye. KB directed notable Kannada movies like Mugila Mallige and Eradu Rekhegalu. He produced the Malayalam movie Idanilangal, which hit the screens in 1985. 

He was an actor too: While most fans know about Balachander's abilities as a director, not many might be aware of the fact that he acted in a few movies as well. The ace filmmaker played supporting roles in Rettaisuzhi and Kamal Haasan's Uttama Villain