25 July 1939
Ilaiyangudi, Madras Presidency, British India
|Residence||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Occupation||Literary editor, director, screenwriter|
J. Mahendran (born 25 July 1939 as Alexander) 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. Mahendran did his schooling in Ilayangudi and completed his intermediate at American College, Madurai. 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. Impressed by his speech M.G.R praised Mahendran and said that he could become a good critic. 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. He then decided to go back to Ilayangudi. However, on the insistence of Karaikudi Kannappa Valliappan he joined Inamuzhakkam, a periodical as a journalist. 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. 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. Mahendran wrote a script titled Anaadhaigal. 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. 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.
Mahendran made his breakthrough as a screenwriter for the film Naam Moovar in 1966. 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. He also wrote the script for Nirakudam starring Sivaji Ganesan. He announced that he was working on a new film in 2014 starring newcomers, for which Ilaiyaraaja would score music.
- 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.
- "எம்.ஜி.ஆர். மூலமாக திரை உலகில் நுழைந்த மகேந்திரன்". Maalai Malar. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
- "முள்ளும் மலரும் படத்தின் மூலம் இயக்குனர் ஆனார் மகேந்திரன்". Maalai Malar. Retrieved 6 August 2013.