J. Mahendran

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J. Mahendran
Born J. Alexander
(1939-07-25) 25 July 1939 (age 74)
Ilaiyangudi, Madras Presidency, British India
Residence Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Other names Mahendran
Occupation Literary editor, director, screenwriter
Years active 1966–2006
Children John Mahendran

J. Mahendran (born 25 July 1939 as Alexander)[1] is an Indian film director in the Tamil film industry, who is best known for his true narration of screenplay and making. Though largely ignored during his times, Mahendran is regarded as one of the greatest film makers of Tamil cinema and has inspired many upcoming directors.

Mahendran entered the film industry as a screenwriter, writing scripts for nearly 26 films. He made an immediate impact with his first directional venture Mullum Malarum (1978). Mahendran's next film Uthiripookkal, based on a short story written by Pudumaipithan, firmly established him as an important film maker in Tamil cinema. His Nenjathai Killathe won three National Film Awards including the award for the best regional film.


Mahendran was born in 1939 to Joseph Chelliah, a teacher and Manonmani.[2] Mahendran did his schooling in Ilayangudi and completed his intermediate at American College, Madurai.[2] Later he joined Alagappa Government Arts College to do a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. During his college days, he was very active in stage plays. It was during that time when M. G. Ramachandran (M.G.R) was invited as the chief guest for the college day during which Mahendran gave a speech that directly criticized the commercial elements that existed in cinema.[2] Impressed by his speech M.G.R praised Mahendran and said that he could become a good critic.[2] After completing his degree, he went to Madras to study law. Seven months after joining the course he had to discontinue due to financial concerns.[2] He then decided to go back to Ilayangudi. However, on the insistence of Karaikudi Kannappa Valliappan he joined Inamuzhakkam, a periodical as a journalist.[2] It was during this time he met M.G.R again and he was asked to write the screenplay of Ponniyin Selvan after the former decided to make a film based on the story.[2] The idea of developing the screenplay into a film got delayed, and M.G.R asked Mahendran to write a story for his drama troupe.[2] Mahendran wrote a script titled Anaadhaigal.[2] M.G.R decided to make a film based in the play. He named the film Vaazhve Vaa and acted in the lead role alongside Savitri.[2] The project got shelved after three days of shooting. Soon M.G.R acted in a film called Kanchi Thalaivan and he recommended Mahendran to the director make him an assistant.[2]

Mahendran made his breakthrough as a screenwriter for the film Naam Moovar in 1966.[3] After the success of the film he got more offers from the same banner and worked in films like Sabaash Thambi and Panakkara Pillai, both released in the subsequent years.[3] He also wrote the script for Nirakudam starring Sivaji Ganesan.[3] He announced that he was working on a new film in 2014 starring newcomers, for which Ilaiyaraaja would score music.[4]


Year Film Director Story Screenplay Dialogues Notes
1966 Naam Moovar Yes
1967 Sabaash Thambi Yes
1968 Panakkara Pillai Yes
1969 Niraikudam Yes
1972 Ganga Yes
1974 Thirudi Yes
1974 Thangapathakkam Yes Yes
1975 Thottadhellam Ponnagum Yes
1975 Nambikkai Natchathiram Yes Yes
1975 Vaazhndhu Kaatukiren Yes Yes
1975 Avalukku Aayiram Kangal Yes Yes
1976 Vaazhvu En Pakkam Yes Yes
1976 Mogam Muppadhu Varusham Yes Yes
1977 Sonthamadi Nee Enakku Yes Yes
1977 Chakravarthi Yes Yes
1977 Sonnathai Seiven Yes Yes
1977 Aadu Puli Attam Yes Yes
1978 Mullum Malarum Yes Yes Yes
1978 Pagalil Oru Iravu Yes
1979 Paruvamazhai Yes Tamil Dubbed version of Madanolsavam
1979 Uthiripookkal Yes Yes Yes Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director
1980 Challenge Ramudu Yes
1980 Rishi Moolam Yes Yes
1980 Pootatha Pootukkal Yes Yes Yes
1980 Jhonny Yes Yes Yes
1980 Kaali Yes Yes
1980 Nenjathai Killathe Yes Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1981 Nandu Yes Yes Yes Yes
1982 Hitler Umanath Yes
1982 Metti Yes Yes Yes Yes
1982 Azhagiya Kanney Yes Yes Yes Yes
1984 Kai Kodukkum Kai Yes Yes Yes
1986 Kannukku Mai Ezhuthu Yes Yes Yes
1991 Thaiyalkaaran Yes Yes
1992 Naangal Yes
1992 Oor Panjayathu Yes Yes Yes Yes
1999 Kallazhagar Yes
2006 Sasanam Yes Yes Yes


  1. ^ Bibekananda Ray; Naveen Joshi; India. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Publications Division (1 January 2005). Conscience of the race: India's offbeat cinema. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 122. ISBN 978-81-230-1298-8. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "எம்.ஜி.ஆர். மூலமாக திரை உலகில் நுழைந்த மகேந்திரன்". Maalai Malar. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "முள்ளும் மலரும் படத்தின் மூலம் இயக்குனர் ஆனார் மகேந்திரன்". Maalai Malar. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.sify.com/movies/illayaraja-s-music-has-been-my-films-soul-filmmaker-mahendran-news-kollywood-oczqumjfjjd.html

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