Call it an irony of life. Even as superstar Rajinikanth is celebrating the humungous success of Lingaa, his mentor and the man behind his first brush with cinema, director K Balachander, is in hospital.
He was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai following 'fever' and other 'age-related ailments' issues.
"Veteran director K Balachander has developed certain age-related ailments over the past few days. He is being treated at our hospital now. At present he is stable and necessary treatment is being given," director of medical services, Cauvery Hospital, said in a statement.
According to a source close to the family, Balachander, 84, "is recovering well to the treatment".
The 84-year-old legendary auteur - who gave Rajinikanth a small role in the 1975 Apoorva Raagangal as an abusive husband (arguably one of the star's best ever performance, a role that put him firmly on the path of movies) - has been facing indifferent health ever since his son, Kailasam's death a few months ago.
In a career that stretched over 45 years, Balachander helmed 80 films, shaping the careers of actors like Kamal Hassan. His first reputed role was in Balachander's Aval Oru Thodar Kathai in 1974.
The most unique thing about Balachander was his ability to make cinema with extraordinary social relevance. It was also very bold and much ahead of the times.
And language was never a barrier. He made movies in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi - movies like Thillu Mullu, Maro Charitra, Moondru Mudichu, Duet, Avargal, Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu, Achamillai Achamillai and Sindhu Bairavi. These were also popular; films that had the right mix of authenticity and entertainment. They asked searching questions, and gave women the pride of place. Balachander did not believe in making dolls out of them.
Aval Ora Thodar Kathai, Apoorva Raagangal, Avargal, Varumayin Niram Sigappu and 47 Natkal are often regarded as some of his best works.
Balachander won many National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards as well as the Padma Shri and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
(With inputs from IANS)