K. Balachander is the filmmaker who raised the status of the director in the eyes of Tamil cine goers. He had complete control over his films and refused to bow down to the norms of the star system and in his own exceptional style made a series of memorable and flourishing films. K. Balachander has left behind his signature films not only in Tamil, but also in Kannada, Telugu and Hindi. K. Balachander had a close association with Kamal Hasssan, since his growing period and trained him to a level of acting that probably the veterans also envy.
Kamal Hassan was only eighteen when K. Balachander offered him a small role in Arangetram. The role was that of the heroine`s brother and Balachander required someone with a good physique. Kamal had the kind of looks he wanted and additionally a strong training in dancing behind him. Kamal Hassan instinctively understood that he was in the midst of a great talent. Eventually, Balachander also gave him the role of a villain in another film Sollathan Ninaikkiren.
K. Balachander knew the very method of extracting the best from his actors and thus enjoyed this reputation of being a strict as well as understanding director. K. Balachander saw a rough diamond in Kamal Hassan and was sure of his popularity and intensity, once polished. Kamal Hassan eventually proved himself to be a priceless gem for his mentor K. Balachander. Balachander trained his actors and made sure he got more than a 100 percent from them. Irrespective of how many hours or days it took, the director never stopped trying his shots until he got exactly what he wanted. Kamal Hassan benefited immensely from having such a rigid taskmaster as his guide. More and more roles followed in films such as Paruvakalam and Naan Avanillai.
Maro Charithra is a Telugu film, featuring Balu (Kamal Haasan) who loves a Telugu woman, Swapna (Saritha). Kamal Hassan again gave his best shot under the supervision of K. Balachandar. He next directed its Hindi re-make for LV Prasad, Ek Duje ke Liye (1981), where Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri were introduced to Hindi audiences. This film too was a huge success at the box office. Balachandar also made the political dramas Thanneer...Thanneer (1981).
K. Balachander cast Kamal Hassan again in a small but very interesting part of a lover fallen for a widow in Aval Oru Thodarkathai. It was a character role that the young Kamal acted beyond everyone`s expectations. He also played in Balachander`s Manmathaleelai and other films. Kamal Hassan`s performance was called to be finesse and polished that even veterans envied. At the tender age of twenty-one, Kamalahasan began to be described by the film industry as `the actor with an incredible range` and `dynamic upcoming talent`, probably only because of K. Balachander and his personal efforts.
K. Balachander was Kamal Hassan`s guru and mentor in more ways than just one. He put in the entire time and effort required to make Kamal Hassan the actor he ultimately became. Balachander work on Kamal Hassan`s skills by casting him in a series of diverse roles. Kamal Hassan was made to act in both lead roles and character roles too. His efforts went a long way in shaping Kamal Hassan`s future identity as a superb actor. K. Balachander almost used Kamal Hassan as a product placement of a brand in different premeditated positions.
K Balachandar`s impeccable sense of judgment was never questioned and he introduced artistes who went on to make quite a name for them in Indian Cinema. The artists are Kamal Haasan
, Sujatha and SV Shekhar among some.