Balanathan "Balu" Mahendran
() (born 20 May 1946 in Batticaloa
, Sri Lanka
) is an Indian filmmaker
, and cinematographer
widely regarded as part of the first in a wave of directors and screenwriters from the Chennai film industry
who revitalised Tamil cinema. He initially developed an early interest in photography
A cinematography graduate and a gold medalist from the FTII
in Pune. He started his film career as a cameraman for the Malayalam film Nellu
in 1974, which earned him the best cinematographer award from the Government of Kerala. He has been chosen as the best cinematographer for as many as ten films. He pioneered innovative camera style for colour in South India.
His first film as a director was Kokila
, a Kannada
film, which earned him a National Film Award. Azhiyatha Kolanagl
(1979) was his first directorial venture in Tamil
. He is considered as one of the few film makers in Tamil who can tell a story visually. He writes the script for his films, handles the camera and edits the film himself, thus retaining a firm control over his creative output.
He worked mainly in Malayalam
for directors like K. S. Sethumadhavan
and P. N. Menon
, before making his first film in Kannada
, and then moving on to direct films in Tamil and Malayalam languages.
He made his first Hindi Film Sadma
,which is a remake of his own Tamil film Moondram Pirai
with Kamal Hasan
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