P. Bharathiraja

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P. Bharathiraja
Born Chinnasaamy Periyamayathevar[1]
(1941-07-17) 17 July 1941 (age 73)[2]
Alli Nagaram, Theni, Madras Presidency, India
Occupation film director, film producer,actor
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Chandraleela
Children Manoj K bharathi, Janani Raaja Kumar
  • Periyamayathevar
  • Meenakshiyammal
Awards Padma Shri award for his contribution to Cinema in 2004

P. Bharathiraja (Tamil: பி. பாரதிராஜா; born 17 July 1941) is a South Indian filmmaker who works mainly in the Tamil film industry. Bharathiraja displayed a story-teller's potential from an early age. He is known for his realistic and sensitive portrayal of village-life in his movies.

He is well known for his work in 16 Vayathinile, Muthal Mariyathai, Vedham Pudhithu, Karuththamma, Kizhakku Cheemayile and Anthimanthaarai. He has won six National Film Awards, two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and is also a recipient of other awards such as Filmfare Awards South, Cinema Express Awards and Nandi Awards.

Film career[edit]

Bharathiraja started his film career as an assistant to director and Actors P. Pullaiya, Malayalam filmmaker Krishnan Nair[4] and Kannada filmmaker Puttanna Kanagal.[5] He also worked with Krishnan Nair, Avinasi Mani and A. Jaganathan, he learned the grammar of film-making and got his first directorial opportunity in 1977. His first film 16 Vayathinile for which he wrote the script broke the then existing convention to create a new genre of village cinema. The movie is now regarded as a game-changer and a mile-stone in the modern history of Tamil Cinema. About the movie, said Bharathiraja in his own words, "This movie was meant to be a Black & White art film produced with the help of National Film Development Corporation", but turned out to be a commercially successful color film and a starting point for several important careers. [6]

His next film Kizhake Pogum Rail produced similar results and eventually brought in criticisms that Bharathiraja was capable of catering only to village audiences. This led him to make Sigappu Rojakkal, about a psychopathic woman hater that was totally Westernized in terms of both conception and production. [7] But contrary to what several observers expected, this film met with box office success and everyone agreed that Bharathiraja was here to stay.

Bharathiraja confirmed his versatility and refusal to be tied down to one particular genre with an experimental film Nizhalgal and an action thriller Tik Tik Tik. But, undoubtedly rural themes proved to be his forte as his biggest hits in the 1980s Alaigal Oivadhillai, Mann Vasanai and Muthal Mariyathai were strong love stories in a village backdrop. Muthal Mariyathai starred veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan in the lead, playing a middle-aged village head. Radha is a poor young woman who moves into his village for a living. The love that bonds these two humans separated not just by age but also by caste and class, is told by Bharathiraja with poetic touches.[8]

Vedham Pudhithu dealt with the caste issue in a stronger manner.[9] The film's narrative was seamless and starred Sathyaraj as Balu Thevar. It contains some of Bharathiraja's trademark touches as well as several ground-breaking scenes. However, it does follow the anti-Brahmin trend common in Tamil films – in this respect it departed from his earlier success, Alaigal Oiyvadhillai, where the caste and religion factor was given a more balanced treatment. Bharathiraja has successfully managed to modernise his film making techniques for the 1990s. The commercial success of Kizhakku Cheemaiyile and the awards Karuththamma garnered stand as testimony for his ability to thrill the younger generation as well. Bharathiraja was on the same stage in 1996 to receive another National Award for Anthimanthaarai.

He has plans of making short films with varying themes to attract the international audience and has currently completed his latest venture Kadal Pookal and picked up a national award for the best screenplay writer for the same film. The well-known Tamil film director Bhagyaraj was one of his assistant directors. He has also directed movies in Telugu, Kannada and Hindi.

Personal life[edit]

Bharathiraja was born as Chinnasamy to Periyamayathevar and Karuthammal. He is married to Chandra Leelavathi and has two children Manoj Bharathiraja and Janani. Manoj is an actor who was introduced in Tajmahal, he is married to actress Nandana.[10][11] Janani is married to Rajkumar Nambiraja.[12] Bharathiraja's brother-in-law Manojkumar has directed films like Mannukkul Vairam, Vandicholai Chinraasu, Vaanavil and Guru Paarvai.[13] His brother Jayaraj has made his acting debut with Kaththukkutti.[14] His relative Stalin is a television actor who acted in serials like Saravanan Meenatchi and 7C.[15]


Civilian honours[edit]

National Film Awards[edit]

Filmfare Awards South[edit]

Tamil Nadu State Film Awards[edit]

Nandi Awards[edit]

Other awards[edit]

  • South Indian Film Technicians : Best Technician Award for Kallukkul Eeram


  • He attended the Heroes Day conference at Jaffna and appreciated its heroism and valour.[17] Tamil Nadu Congress president Krishnasamy claimed he met the LTTE's leader, Prabhakaran, accused of planning the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and banned in India.
  • He organised a protest by Tamil Nadu artistes against the Indian state of Karnataka for not releasing Cauvery water at Neyveli. During a SUN TV interview, co-film stars like Sarath Kumar and Radhika who attended the conference accused him of using that opportunity to eulogise current Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha and launching attacks on Rajinikanth's ethnicity.[18][19]
  • In the month of June 2013, it was claimed that Bharathiraja was responsible for the death of Manivannan. Bharathiraja made harsh comments against Manivannan in a leading Tamil magazine.[20]


  1. K. Bhagyaraj
  2. Manivannan
  3. Manobala
  4. Chitra Lakshmanan
  5. K.Rangaraj
  6. Chandrasekar
  7. Manojkumar
  8. Ponvannan
  9. Ratnakumar
  10. Seeman
  11. Leena Manimekalai
  12. Premnath
  13. Veerasingham
  14. Vetrimahalingam
  15. Nirmal Kumar
  16. Vinubharathy


As director


Year Film Language Cast Writer Composer Notes
1977 16 Vayathinile Tamil Kamal Haasan, Sridevi himself Ilaiyaraaja Remade in Telugu as Padaharella Vayasu
Remade in Hindi as Solva Sawan
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
1978 Kizhake Pogum Rail Tamil Sudhakar, Raadhika Sarathkumar R. Selvaraj Ilayaraja Remade in Telugu as Toorpu Velle Railu
1978 Sigappu Rojakkal Tamil Kamal Haasan, Sridevi himself Ilayaraja Remade in Hindi as Red Rose
Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director
1979 Solva Sawan Hindi Sridevi, Amol Palekar himself Jaidev Varma
1979 Puthiya Vaarpugal Tamil K. Bhagyaraj R. Selvaraj Ilayaraja Remade in Telugu as Kotha Jeevithalu
1979 Niram Maaratha Pookkal Tamil Sudhakar, Radhika Ilayaraja
1980 Nizhalgal Tamil Nizhalgal Ravi, Rohini/Radica Giri Manivannan Ilayaraja
1980 Kotha Jeevithalu Telugu himself Ilayaraja
1980 Red Rose Hindi Rajesh Khanna, Poonam Dhillon himself R. D. Burman
1981 Alaigal Oivathillai Tamil Karthik, Radha Manivannan Ilayaraja Remade in Telugu as Seethakoka Chiluka
Remade in Hindi as Lovers
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
1981 Tik Tik Tik Tamil Kamal Haasan, Madhavi himself Ilayaraja Remade in Hindi as Karishma
1981 Seethakoka Chiluka Telugu Karthik Muthuraman, Aruna Mucherla Manivannan Ilayaraja National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1982 Kaadhal Oviyam Tamil Kannan, Radha Kalaimani Ilayaraja
1982 Valibamey Vaa Vaa Tamil Karthik, Radha Kalaimani Ilayaraja
1983 Man Vasanai Tamil Pandiyan, Revathi Kalaimani Ilayaraja Remade in Telugu as Mangammagari Manavadu
1983 Lovers Hindi Manivannan RD Burman
1984 Pudhumai Penn Tamil Pandiyan, Revathi Kalaimani Ilayaraja
1985 Oru Kaidhiyin Diary Tamil Kamal Hassan, Radha K. Bhagyaraj Ilayaraja Remade in Hindi as Aakhree Raasta
1985 Yuvadharam Pilicindi Telugu
1985 Mudhal Mariyathai Tamil Sivaji Ganesan, Radha Selvaraj Ilayaraja National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1985 Ee Tharam Illalu Telugu
1986 Saveray Wali Gaadi Hindi Sunny Deol Selvaraj RD Burman
1986 Kadalora Kavithaigal Tamil Sathyaraj, Rekha K. Somasundareshwar Ilayaraja Remade in Telugu as Aradhana
1988 Jamadagni Telugu
1987 Vedham Pudhithu Tamil Sathyaraj, Master Dasarathi K. Kannan Devendran National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues
1987 Aradhana Telugu Chiranjeevi, Radhika Somasundareswar Ilayaraja
1988 Kodi Parakuthu Tamil Rajinikanth, Sujatha Selvaraj Hamsalekha
1990 En Uyir Thozhan Tamil Babu, Thennavan himself Ilayaraja
1991 Pudhu Nellu Pudhu Naathu Tamil Rahul, Sukanya Selvaraj Ilayaraja
1991 Garuda Dhwaja Kannada Ambareesh, Ramesh Aravind Hamsalekha
1992 Nadodi Thendral Tamil Karthik, Ranjitha Sujatha Rangarajan Ilayaraja
1993 Captain Magal Tamil Raja, Kushboo Selvaraj Hamsalekha
1993 Kizhakku Cheemayile Tamil Vijayakumar, Radhika Rathnakumar A. R. Rahman Remade in Telugu as Palnati Pourusham
1994 Karuthamma Tamil Raja, Rajashree Rathnakumar AR Rahman National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare
1995 Pasum Ponn Tamil Prabhu, Sivaji Ganesan Seemaan Vidyasagar
1996 Tamizh Selvan Tamil Vijayakanth, Roja Rathnakumar Deva
1996 Anthimanthaarai Tamil Jayasudha, Vijayakumar Selvaraj AR Rahman National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1999 Taj Mahal Tamil Manoj, Riya Sen Mani Ratnam, Rajiv Menon AR Rahman
2001 Kadal Pookkal Tamil Murali, Manoj himself Deva National Film Award for Best Screenplay
2003 Eera Nilam Tamil Manoj Bharathiraja, Nanditha Sirpy
2004 Kangalal Kaidhu Sei Tamil Vaseegaran, Priyamani Premnath AR Rahman
2008 Bommalattam Tamil Arjun Sarja, Nana Patekar himself Himesh Reshammiya
2013 Annakodi Tamil Karthika Nair, Lakshman Narayan himself G. V. Prakash Kumar


  • Thekkathi Ponnu
  • Appanum Aathaalum
  • Mudhal Mariyadhai

As actor[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1980 Kallukkul Eeram
1983 Dhavani Kanavugal Guest appearance
1991 Idhayam Guest appearance
1991 Thanthu Vitten Ennai Guest appearance
2004 Aayutha Ezhuthu
2010 Rettaisuzhi
2013 Pandianadu Kalyanasundaram Vijay Award for Best Supporting Actor
2014 Ninaithathu Yaaro Himself Guest appearance

As Writer only[edit]


  1. ^ Director Bharathiraja – Director, Producer, Writer, picture, profile, info and favourites
  2. ^ Director Bharathiraja – Director, Producer, Writer, picture, profile, info and favourites
  3. ^ இயக்குனர் இமயம் பாரதிராஜா! | Lakshman Sruthi – 100% Manual Orchestra |
  4. ^ [1] on YouTube
  5. ^ http://entertainment.oneindia.in/celebs/puttanna-kanagal/biography.html
  6. ^ http://www.frontline.in/arts-and-culture/cinema/man-behind-the-1970s-wave/article5189324.ece
  7. ^ http://www.sylvianism.com/2011/06/24/50-tamil-movies-to-watch-before-you-die-18-sigappu-rojakkal-1978/
  8. ^ http://www.bbthots.com/reviews/rewind/mmariyaadhai.html
  9. ^ http://shankyyanky.blogspot.in/2010/01/brahmin-in-tamil-cinema.html
  10. ^ http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/41186.html
  11. ^ http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/27027.html
  12. ^ http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/41186.html
  13. ^ http://www.behindwoods.com/features/News/News28/29-8-05/tamil-movies-news-bharathiraja.html
  14. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/etcetera/article6299055.ece
  15. ^ http://cdtvindia-short-film-insight.weebly.com/39/post/2012/07/stalin-vijay-tv-serial-artist-character-artist.html
  16. ^ "Padma Awardees". Government of India. National Informatics Centre. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  17. ^ AllIndianSite.com – Cinema scidhigal – It's All About movie
  18. ^ The Hindu : Bharatiraaja `misdirected' Neyveli show
  19. ^ The Hindu : Rally exposes politicised film industry
  20. ^ http://tamil.oneindia.in/movies/news/2013/06/bharathirajaa-s-abusive-comments-kills-manivannan-177193.html

External links[edit]