K Balachander’s work shaped Telugu cinema

DC | SURESH KAVIRAYANI
Published Dec 25, 2014, 10:22 am IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
The legendary filmmaker also started the trend of shooting films in Vizag
Popular director, producer and writer K. Balachander
 Popular director, producer and writer K. Balachander
Chennai: Popular director, producer and writer K. Balachander has left an  indelible mark on Telugu cinema with some memorable classics.
 
Many of his Tamil films were also remade and dubbed into Telugu. Bhale Kodallu, Sattekalapu Satteyya, Bomma Borusa, Akali Rajyam, Antuleni Katha, Maro Charitra, Rudraveena, Aadavallu Meeku Joharlu, Andamaina Anubhavam, Guppedu Manasu and Idi Katha Kaadu are the memorable ones.
 
Actress Jayasudha, who had worked with the late filmmaker in four films, says, “He is the only director, I think, who made many female-centric films.” She adds that Balachander had guided her in the initial stages of her career. “He introduced many actors to the film industry,” says the actress who won a Nandi Award for her work in Balachander’s Idi Katha Kaadu.
 
Talking about her work in Antuleni Katha, she says, “We didn’t know acting and he taught all of us how to act. It’s a great loss to the film industry,” she says, adding, “He projected women powerfully in his films.”
 
Director K. Viswanath remembers Balachander as a legendary director. “I would have liked to work as an assistant to Balachander for at least a week to observe his work. But that wish didn’t come true. But I worked with him in his last film Uttama Villain,” says Viswanath. The film, which is  produced by Balachander’s protégée Kamal Haasan, is not yet released.
 
Writer, director and actor Thanikella Bharani had recently met Balachander at his home in Chennai. “He watched my movie Midhunam and wrote to me appreciating the film. It’s a great honour and that letter is equal to a big award,” says Bharani, adding that Balachander’s demise is a great loss to Indian cinema.
 
“He introduced me as an actor in Tamil cinema and  introduced me as a playback singer in  Hindi cinema. At that time they had objected to me singing Hindi songs, but Balachander insisted that I should sing. I won a National Award too for the song,” says S.P. Balasubramanyam, playback singer. 
 
Balachander’s last Telugu film was Abaddam with late Uday Kiran as the lead actor. It had released in 2006. In his 50-year career, he had directed 101 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi.
 
He had also directed and produced many TV serials. He also received top awards including the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest award in Indian cinema. He has also received the ANR International Award. He was one of the first to explore Vizag in Maro Charitra, and that paved the way for other directors to shoot in Vizag. 
 
He was instrumental in introducing A.R. Rahman in Roja which he produced and also Telugu music director M.M. Keeravani to the Tamil film industry. Balachander also introduced superstars like Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Prakash Raj, Mammootty and others.
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