Tamil Features

11 Artistes Who Passed Away in 2014

Tamil cinema lost some precious artistes in 2014. In addition to audio launches and press meets, we had to attend a few memorial meetings, too. From Rudhraiya and K Balachander to cinematographer Ashok Kumar and musician and actor Meesai Murugesan, here are 11 artistes – some famous, and the others little known – who passed away last year:

1. Uday Kiran:

The Telugu actor took his own life in January after a brief battle with depression. Uday, who was 33, reckoned that he had been waiting too long for opportunities. Politics in Telugu cinema industry was speculated as the main reason for Uday’s depression. In Tamil, he was seen in K Balachander’s Poi, Vambu Sandai, and Pen Singam.
Image courtesy: The Hindu


2. Anjali Devi:

Veteran actress Anjali Devi died of cardiac arrest last January. She was 86.

At a time when it was taboo for married women to act in films, Anjali Devi debuted as a lead actress after the birth of her second son. The year was 1946. She worked with leading heroes back then – Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Gemini Ganesan, NT Rama Rao and Nageswara Rao – and was revered for being bold and breaking stereotypes.


Some of her popular movies were Sarvadhigari, Marmayogi, Alavudheenum Arputha Villakkum, Manalane Mangayin Baghyam, Chakravarthi Thirumagal, Mannadhi Mannan, Adutha Veettu Penn and Lava Kusha.

Image courtesy: The Hindu

3. Balu Mahendra:

The legendary filmmaker passed away in February 2014 from cardiac arrest. He was 74. His last film – Thalaimuraigal – in which he played an integral role, released in December 2013. While the flick received lukewarm response at home, it nevertheless bagged the National Award for Best Film on National Integration.
The director-cum-cinematographer, who has made more than 20 films, was one of the pioneers of parallel cinema. Some of his acclaimed works include Moodu Pani, Moondram Pirai, Veedu, and Marupadiyum.

Image courtesy: The Hindu

4. Rama Narayanan:

Director Ramanarayanan passed away in June at a hospital in Singapore. The producer-director holds the world record for having directed the most number of films (125). Under his banner, Sri Devipriya Films, he produced many successful movies in Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Gujarati and Kannada.
His 125th film, Arya Surya, released last year. The director is well known for making movies in which animals played pivotal roles.

Image courtesy: Wikipedia


5. Kadhal Dhandapani:

The actor died last July from cardiac arrest. Dhandapani shot to fame after his debut in Balaji Sakthivel’s Kadhal. He appeared in over 25 films in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, including Chithiram Pesuthadi in 2006, Velayutham in 2011 and Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam in 2013.
Image courtesy: The Hindu


6. Suruli Manohar:

Popular TV and film actor Suruli Manohar succumbed to cancer in August. Suruli Manohar directed a film called Iyakkunar last year, but it is yet to release. He played important roles in E, Padikkadavan, Thoranai, and Sura.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia


7. Ashok Kumar:

Cinematographer Ashok Kumar died in October after a long illness. More than 125 films old, his popular works include Nenjathai Killathe, Ullasa Paravaigal, Johnny, Metti, Nadigan, Suriyan and Jeans. In 1980, he bagged the National Award for Nenjathai Killathe starring Suhasini, Mohan and Pratap Pothen. He also directed about six films.

8. SS Rajendran:

Yesteryear actor SS Rajendran passed away in October. Having debuted in Tamil cinema with the iconic  Parasakthi, he was also best known for his performances in Manohara, Poombugar, Raththa Kanneer, Rangoon Radha and Kula Dheivam. The actor was particularly lauded for his impeccable Tamil pronunciation and dialogue delivery.
According to Ananda Vikatan, he was also the first Indian actor to be elected as an MLA when he contested as a DMK candidate in Theni in 1962. SSR was also known as Latchiya Nadigar, for he was a staunch follower of Periyar and Anna’s principles.

Our tribute to the actor.


Image courtesy: Wikipedia

9. Meesai Murugesan:

Musician and actor Meesai Murugesan passed away at his home in November, due to multiple-organ failure. The 87-year-old became popular by creating a lot of offbeat musical instruments using uncommon things like coconut shells. One of his popular contributions was the sound of horse hooves which he created for the song, Rajavin Paarvai Raniyin Pakkam.

According to The New Indian Express, Murugesan was bedridden the last 10 years of his life, after being severely injured in a road accident in South Africa. He has acted in 25 films.

10. C Rudhraiya:

Director Rudhraiya, whose directorial debut was the cult classic Aval Appadithan, passed away in November. He was 67. Aval Appadithan, which released in 1978, had Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Sripriya in the lead.
His second film, Gramathu Athiyayam, failed to do well at the box office. Aval Appadithan was hailed as being ‘ahead of its time’ and is still considered one of the best movies in Tamil cinema. Rudhraiya was one among the very few to explore feminism during those days.

Our tribute to the director.

Image courtesy: The Hindu

11. K Balachander:

Legendary filmmaker K Balachander passed away in Chennai due to age-related ailments. He was 84. The director’s health is said to have been poor since his son passed away in August, and he had avoided public appearances since then. Popularly known as Iyakkunar Sigaram, Balachander debuted as a director in 1965 with Neerkumizhi starring Nagesh and Sowcar Janaki in the lead. During a four-decade long career, he worked on nearly 100 films in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. His last directorial venture was the 2006 release, Poi. His films explored offbeat premises – feminism, social taboos and familial complications.
Beyond a stellar body of work, Balachander was also known for introducing and mentoring several of Tamil cinema’s top actors and directors. Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan are Balachander’s proteges, and both actors have revealed in a number of interviews that they owe their success to him. Actors Vivekh, Ramesh Arvind, Prakash Raj, Geetha, Sri Priya and Sujatha are some of the other actors who were introduced by Balachander.