The passing of the cinematographer, whose masterpieces including Azhiyatha Kolangal, Veedu, Santhiya Ragam, Moontram Pirai and Vanna Vanna Pookal left an indelible mark on the Indian film industry, shocked the industry.
Everyone in the industry from Kamal Haasan to Rajinikant (with whom he worked in Mullum Malarum) were anxious to pay their final respects. Bharathiraaja and K Balachander, who are possibly among the few who can be called ‘senior’ contemporaries were inconsolable when they saw Mahendra’s body. So grieved was Bharathiraaja, that he needed help to leave Mahendra’s body.
Kamal and composer Ilaiyaraaja — a permanent fixture in all of Mahendra’s films — paid their respects in the evening. However, directors Bala, Thankar Bachhan and Sasikumar, who were close to him and had passed through his gurukulam, were with him at the hospital and stayed on throughout. Though his house is in Saligramam, his family seemed inclined to have people pay their respects to Mahendra at his acting school Cinema Pattarai in Dasarathapuram.