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K Balachander: The man who created strong women characters onscreen

Veteran director K Balachander passed away on Tuesday but he will always be remembered for mentoring superstar like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

He had straddled multiple disciplines and genres of Tamil cinema for nearly fifty years and won nine national awards, countless Filmfare awards, Padma Shri and Dada Saheb Phalke award.

Besides introducing both superstar Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Balachander also gave us musician AR Rahman and it speaks a lot about his stature as a doyen of Indian cinema.

Balachander was a successful commercial film maker, who also wrote films for superstars like MG Ramachandran and Shivaji Ganeshan. He had also directed some films which included the socio-politically sensitive films in India. Balachander started his film career in 1964 and went on to write and direct till 2006.

His best films came in the 1970s and the 80s and it was the time when the Indian film industry o witnessed the emergence of a new form of contemporary cinema.

In 1973, Balachander's Arangetram left everyone shocked and made him a big name at the regional and national levels.

The movie's story was about a Brahmin girl who got into prostitution to support her family. It was social drama which was bold in terms of content and picturisation. The movie became a commercial success too. This movie also saw the debut of adult Kamal Haasan.

Balachander produced another strongly woman-centric film Aval Oru Thodarkathai in 1974. This film was about a working woman who struggles to support her thankless family.