CHENNAI: Almost exactly a month to day that he underwent a gruelling neuro surgery, reportedly to remove a large tumour in his brain, veteran filmmaker K Balachander was rushed to Kauvery Hospital after he fainted at his residence.
The Thillu Mullu Director, who had been looking frail over the last year, is extremely critical, according to hospital sources. “He was very weak after he underwent brain surgery but he recovered enough to be allowed to return home. This afternoon his assistant found him unconscious and immediately brought him to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he has been stabilized. However, given his age and physical condition he is very much critical,” said a well informed hospital source.
The 84-year-old director, screenwriter and playwright, one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed in the film industry, has nearly a 100 feature films in his kitty, including some immensely memorable ones like Moondru Muduchu, Manmadha Leelai with Kamal Haasan in the lead and Apoorva Raagangal, which marked the debut of Rajinikanth. He is also the recipient of the Padma Shri and nine national awards.
Adding credence to this news was the fact that superstar Rajinikanth visited him at the hospital. The actor who was introduced to the film industry and given the name Rajinikanth by Balachander has always acknowledged him as his mentor and godfather, on and off screen.
Industry sources said that the actor had most recently wanted to invite KB for a special screening of his latest release Lingaa but was unable to have him watch the film because of his ailments.
KB’s other great find Kamal Haasan, currently in the US, is also believed to be making a beeline for the hospital.
When contacted, a spokesperson from Kauvery Hospital confirmed that KB was indeed in the ICU but maintained that “he was improving gradually”. At 5 pm the hospital issued a very bland statement: “veteran film director K Balachander, age 84, has developed fever and sudden age related ailments over the past few days. He is being treated at a hospital and at present he is stable”.
A substantial police cover has been provided to the private hospital in Alwarpet, which would have seen so much attention only when DMK M chief Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi was admitted earlier this year.
At 6 pm, hospital sources said that his condition was looking up, but that he was still “critical”. This was reinforced by compelling statements made up actors who came to visit the ailing filmmaker.
Rajinikanth, arrived at the hospital at 5.45 pm and spent a little less than half-an-hour in the ICU. Though the actor looked worried and bleary-eyed when he arrived, he didn’t look any the worse as he stepped out of the ICU. Between patients and media mobbing the actor, he said, “I went in to see KB sir and I’m happy to say that he recognised me. He is fine and he will get better.”
There was a spot of theatrics when actor-turned-politician Khushbu arrived in tears, running all the way down the ramp and into the hospital’s emergency entrance.
A while later, she reappeared calm and slightly irate, as she said, “He is perfectly fine. Don’t spread rumours about such a great man. He is old and these are the reasons why he is in hospital. He is fine, fine, fine,” she said and left in a huff.