Veteran director and actor J Mahendran, who is credited for making Rajinikanth the Superstar that he is today, has taken ill and his health condition is said to be critical. He is 79 years old.
Mahendran's son, John Mahendran, also a director, posted the news on his social media pages, asking supporters to pray for his father.
Born in 1939, Mahendran was first noticed by none other than MG Ramachandran. In his college days, the fiery Mahendran gave a bold speech criticising the commercial elements in cinema, in the presence of MGR who told him that he would make a fine critic.
Mahendran went on to make his film debut with Mullum Malarum, starring Rajinikanth, Sharath Babu, Fatafat Jayalakshmi, and Shoba. The film brought Rajinikanth to the limelight as a brilliant performer. In fact, in recent times, director Pa Ranjith had said that he wished to bring back the Mullum Malarum Rajinikanth in his film Kabali.
Mahendran went on to make many more landmark films, including Nenjathai Killathe which won three National Awards. His role as the villain in Vijay's Theri in recent times, won him high praise and he was also a part of the cast in Rajinikanth's last release Petta.
Ever since news of Mahendran's illness broke, fans and well-wishers have been anxiously praying for his speedy recovery.