Balu Mahendra in a screenshot from "Thalaimuraigal" trailer (YouTube)
Balu Mahendra in a screenshot from "Thalaimuraigal" trailer (YouTube)YouTube

Veteran director Balu Mahendra passed away at a hospital in Chennai on Thursday (13 February). He was 74. [Read: Vijay, Suriya, Dhanush and Other Celebrities Pay Homage to Balu Mahendra]

The ace filmmaker was admitted to the Vijaya Hospitals after he suffered a heart attack and underwent emergency care treatment. However, he breathed his last in the hospital at around 11 a.m. 

Balu Mahendra, a multi-faceted personality, has worked as a filmmaker, screenwriter, editor and cinematographer. The veteran director made his directorial debut with Kannada film "Kokila" in 1977. He received the National Film Award for Best Cinematography (Black and White) for the film, which he not only directed but also handled the cinematography. He also won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay for "Kokila."

Mahendra has worked in several films in various industries including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. Some of his critically-acclaimed films include "Moodu Pani", "Moondram Pirai", "Marupadiyum", "Sathi Leelavathi" and "Sadma" among others.

For the first time in his four-decade long career,  Mahendra starred in a pivotal role in a Tamil film that released last year. The film "Thalaimuraigal" revolves around the bond between a grandfather and his grandson. Mahendra, who appeared as the grandfather, was lauded for his performance in the film, which has been deemed as one of the veteran's best creations.

His death has come as a shock to his fans and film personalities. Many of them have expressed their condolences on the micro-blogging site Twitter

Varalakshmi Sarathkumar: "May ur soul rest peace.. U were a legend to cinema.. U will live on through ur work..we will miss u Balu Mahendra sir."

Dhananjayan Govind: "Shocked & very sad to know the most admired guru Balu Mahendra sir is no more. He is a guru to many in Tamil cinema & we will all miss him."

Dhaya Alagiri: "RIP Balu Mahendra sir !!! big loss to tamil cinema... have always admired his speeches on tamil cinema !"

Nitinsathyaa: "Another icon passes away RIP balu Mahendra sir the legend...."

Siddharth: "An inspiration,  teacher from a distance,  everlasting hero for most of us...The great Balu Mahendra sir has left us. Massive loss! Prayers."

Shruti Haasan: "What a loss to cinema - may you rest in peace balu mahendra sir :( ur wonderful words and advice will always stay with me - fly with angels"

Director Gaurav: "One of the greatest film maker and an honest human being. The legend Balumahendra sir passed away.May his soul rest in peace."

G.V.Prakash Kumar: "#RIP balu mahendra sir ... One of the greatest teacher of indian cinema ..."