As we celebrate Teachers' Day today (September 5), IndiaGlitz salutes the gurus of Tamil cinema for their mentoring has blessed Kollywood with several talents who are now ace or leading stars themselves.
Balachander - Rajini, Kamal & others
Ace director K Balachander definitely tops this list. Apart from directing cult films and several blockbusters, he introduced hundreds of actors and technicians to the Tamil film industry, notable of which are Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Prakash Raj and Vivek. Although he didn't introduce Kamal, he has worked with him in 36 films, almost shaping the Ulaganayagan's career. AR Rahman's debut 'Roja' was produced by Balachander. He also worked with top actors from other industries including Chiranjeevi and Mammootty apart from introducing YG Mahendran, Radha Ravi, Nasser, Jayapradha and several others. Ramesh Aravind was introduced by him in three south languages! Saritha has worked with him in more than 20 films!
Bharathiraja - Goundamani, Karthik & others
The rural film specialist who has bagged 6 National Awards and several accolades is known for introducing several actors and technicians. Bharathiraja was the one who introduced ace comedian Goundamani in 16 Vayathiniley! He introduced Raadhika through Kizhake Pogum Rail and Bhagyaraj, another top director cum actor, through Puthiya Vaarpugal. His 'Nizhalgal' introduced Nizhalgal Ravi, Rajasekar, Rohini and Vairamuthu as a lyricist! His 'Alaigal Oivathilai' introduced Karthik and Radha apart from Manivannan! Apart from introducing ace talents Revathi, Rekha, Napolean, he's also helmed the debuts of Priyamani and Kajal Aggarwal.
Bhagyaraj - Pandirajan & Parthiepan
Bhagyaraj who considers Bharathiraja as his mentor, has made it big as both a director and an actor. He is considered as a mentor to both Pandiarajan and Parthiepan as he launched the duo. What's interesting is that Bhagyaraj, Pandiarajan and Parthiepan are all known for their sense of comedy and the duo have followed their mentor in being successful directors and actors as well.
Cheran - Pandiraj
Cheran who has earlier worked as an assistant to director KS Ravikumar, is the mentor of National Award winning director Pandiraj. Pandiraj who hails from the Pudukottai district, started his innings in cinema as an AD to director Cheran and debuted as a director with Pasanga that won two National Awards. He also has his own production house, Pasanga Productions now.
SA Chandrasekhar - Shankar
Shankar has delivered nothing less than blockbusters in Tamil cinema in his decade long career as a director turned producer; he began working as an assistant to Vijay's father, SA Chandrasekhar and debuted through Gentleman. There has been no looking back ever since. Recently, SAC's Sattam Oru Irutarai (Thozhan) remake's promo event was graced by Shankar.
Manivannan - Sunder C
Sunder C began his career working as an AD to Manivannan and debuted as a director with Murai Maman. However, he has never missed a chance to cast his mentor, Manivannan in character roles in films. Both Manivannan and Sunder C are actors cum directors.
Bala - Vikram, Suriya
Although Vikram debuted in films way back in 1990, he didn't get any recognition or good films that he deserved till 1999, until Bala's Sethu, a romantic tragedy. The film also earned him the name Chiyaan and there has been no looking back ever since. Similarly, although Suriya was a part of almost 6 films before Nandha, it was only after 'Nandha' with Bala that he was considered as a serious actor. Both the actors consider Bala as their mentor and the trio came together in Pithamagan. Rumors have it that Vikram might be soon working on a film with Bala.
Gautham Menon - Samantha
Referring to Samantha as the most wanted actress in Tamil - Telugu cinema wouldn't be wrong considering the demand for the actress in here. However, she never misses a chance to thank her mentor Gautham Menon who seems to find her as his lucky charm. He cast her in cameos in VTV and Nadunisi Naaygal and as the main female lead in the film's Telugu version and the actress is currently working with him on Neethanae En Ponvasantham.
The Dance Gurus - Sundar, Prabhu Deva, Raghuram
Calling them as the dance gurus of south cinema will be an understatement. Mugur Sundar who has directed more than 10000 dance sequences in south is the father of Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram and Nagendra Prasad. Prabhu Deva, often referred to as the Michael Jackson of India, is one of the top most choreographers in our country and the father and son are gurus to most of the budding and established choreographers. Meanwhile, Raghuram Master has contributed immensely to the film industry for more than five decades!
Here's wishing a Happy Teachers' Day to those in the film industry and our viewers!