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Legendary filmmaker K Balachander passes away

Eminent filmmaker, Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient and guru to such stalwarts like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Prakash Raj, K Balachander died in Chennai on Tuesday at a private hospital after prolonged illness

Chennai: Eminent filmmaker and Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient K Balachander died in Chennai on Tuesday at a private hospital after prolonged illness.

Hailed as "Iyakunar Sigaram" (Peak among directors) in Tamil film industry Balachander, 84, was hospitalised following age related ailments on December 3. He breathed his last at 7.02 pm, hospital authorities said.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter. His other son, Kailasam died on August 15 this year.

His manager confirmed the news. "Balachander sir passed away. He was recovering well over the last few days but his condition deteriorated this morning," he said.

A multi-lingual filmmaker, Balachander debuted with his Tamil film 'Neerkumizhi' (by adapting his play of the same title) in 1965. He has directed films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi and has written, directed and produced more than 100 films.

He launched more than 65 actors, actresses and technicians in the Tamil film industry.

His blockbuster movies include 'Aval Oru Thodarkathai', (Tamil) which was remade as 'Anthulaney Katha' in Telugu, 'Maro Charitra' (Telugu), 'Ek Dhuje Ke Liye' (Hindi), and 'Thillu Mullu' (remake of Golmaal in Hindi).

The filmmaker introduced several top stars including Rajinikanth ('Aboorva Ragangal'), Kamal Haasan ('Arangetram'), Prakash Raj ('Duet'), comedian Vivek ('Manadhil Urudhi Vendum') and character artist Nazar ('Kalyana Agathigal'). While Kamal Haasan appeared in Balachander's 1973 film 'Arangetram', his first serious role was in Balachander's 'Aval Oru Thodar Kathai' (1974).

He has received several accolades including Dadasaheb Phalke award (2010), Padma Shri (1987), Kalaimamani Award (Tamil Nadu) Nandi and Golden Nandi (Andhra Pradesh) besides many film awards like Filmfare among others.

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