Balu Mahendra aka Balanathan Benjamin Mahendran (20 May 1939 – 13 February 2014), a pioneer cinematographer-turned-director feted for his use of natural lighting and film-maker who explored offbeat subjects using realistic portrayals has inspired and mentored a generation of directors.
Born to a Tamil-speaking family in Srilanka, Balu Mahendra was drawan towards the Cinema after watching The Bridge On The River Kwai and that inspired him to pursue the course in Cinematography. After completing the course, he got the first break as cinematographer with Malayalam film Nellu. He had the knack of letting his visuals speak several emotions. His visuals could create more impact than any lines in a film. He worked as cinematographer for several landmark films before graduating into an auteur with Kannada film Kokila which fetched him the National Award for best cinematography and the Karnataka state film award for best screenplay.
Some of Balu Mahendra’s best movies as a director include Kokila, Nireekshana, Sadma, Sathi Leelavathi, and Yathra.