Chennai: Renowned Tamil filmmaker Balu Mahendra died at the Vijaya Hospital here Thursday. He was 74.
"Following a heart attack, he was admitted to the hospital this morning. He was later shifted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where he passed away an hour later," a hospital source said.
His body has been shifted to his residence for his fans to pay their last respects.
Balu started his career as a cinematographer on the 1974 Malayalam film 'Nellu'. He worked as a cinematographer in nearly 20 films before wielding the megaphone for 1976 National Award winning Kannada film 'Kokila'.
One of the pioneers of Tamil cinema, he is known for his visually inspiring work such as 'Moondram Pirai', 'Sandhya Raagam' and 'Veedu'.
His last directorial was the 2013 critically acclaimed Tamil film 'Thalaimuraigal', which was produced by his student actor-filmmaker M. Sasi Kumar.
He has also directed Hindi films such as 'Sadma' and 'Aur Ek Prem Kahani'.
Sridevi wrote on the microblogging site, "Deeply saddened on the demise of Balu Mahendra.The legacy of his creations Sadma and Moondaram Pirai will live on. My condolences to the family."
Musician A R Rahman tweeted, "Dear Balu Mahendra Sir, thank you for being an inspiring visual poet, for directing such life changing Tamil movies. You have certainly been an inspiring stepping stone of creativity for many others who came later... May God bless your soul!"
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted, "Sad to hear the demise of master of innovative camera style, natural lighting, maker of my favourite hindi film Sadma. Balu Mahendra, RIP."
Filmmaker, Sanjay Gupta wrote, "RIP Balu Mahendra… One of the first true visionary directors from the South. Better known here for the heart breaking Sadma."