S. Shankar

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In this Indian name, the name Shanmugamm is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Shankar.
Shankar (director).jpg
Born Shankar
(1963-08-17) 17 August 1963 (age 51)
Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India
Residence Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter, actor , Lyricist
Years active 1993-present
Spouse(s) Easwari
Children 3
Official website

Shankar Shanmugham, commonly known as Shankar, is an Indian film director and producer who predominantly works in Tamil cinema. Recognized for directing high budget films, he is also a pioneer of vigilante movies in Tamil.[1] He made his directional debut in Gentleman (1993) produced by K. T. Kunjumon, for which he was awarded the Filmfare Best Director Award and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director. He is the highest paid film-maker in India among his contemporaries.[2]

Two of his films, Indian (1996) and Jeans (1998), were submitted by India for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2007, he was awarded an Honorary doctorate by M. G. R. University.

Early life[edit]

Shankar was born on 17 August 1963 in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu to Muthulakshmi and Shanmugam. He had completed a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Central Polytechnic Chennai, before entering film industry.[3] He was roped into film industry by S. A. Chandrasekhar for scriptwriting, who accidentally saw the drama stage shows made by Shankar and his team.[citation needed]


Shankar began his career as an assistant to film directors like S. A. Chandrasekhar and Pavithran.[3] His first break in Hindi films was as an assistant director to S. A. Chandrasekhar in Jai Shiv Shankar produced by Rajesh Khanna. In 1993, he made his directional debut through Gentleman. Starring Arjun Sarja in the lead role, the film was made with a higher budget in Tamil cinema during that time, won positive response and became a blockbuster.[4] A. R. Rahman, the film's composer continued to work with Shankar in his following 6 directorial ventures.

His second film Kadhalan, a romantic-action film was released in the following year, had Prabhu Deva in the lead role. Kadhalan too earned positive response and subsequently went on to become a magnificent venture at the box office. In 1996, he collaborated with Kamal Haasan for Indian. The film was both critically acclaimed as well as a commercial success. The film was selected as the country's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Following the success of Indian, Shankar began to work on Jeans, which released in 1998 and became the most expensive film in Indian cinema at that time with a budget of INR 200 million. Upon release, it became one of the highest grossing Tamil films of the 1990s. He made his production debut through Mudhalvan (1999), was launched with Rajini Kanth playing the lead. After the actor cited schedule conflicts, Arjun Sarja joined the project. Mudhalvan brought immense box office success to Shankar on his debut as a producer. At the same time, Shankar started to work on his next film which was supposed to be a science fiction film titled Robot, but the project could not move forward due to an immensely large budget. Instead, he opted to remake Mudhalvan in Hindi as Nayak, thus making his Bollywood debut.

His musical entertainer film Boys was released in 2003, which received mixed response from the critics and audience, prompting it to do only average business. His psychological thriller Anniyan, featuring Vikram in three distinct characters (Ambi, Remo & Anniyan) was released in 2005 with Harris Jayaraj as the composer for his film. Anniyan turned out to become the second highest grossing Tamil film of 2005. Shortly after the release of Anniyan, it was reported that Shankar had teamed up with Rajinikanth and AVM Productions for a film. He renewed his association with A. R. Rahman with the film. Sivaji was made at a budget of INR 600 million,[5] the most expensive Indian film at that time.He was paid with a record salary of 3 crores for the film.After two years of filming, the film released in 2007 with much fanfare and hype across the globe. Ultimately it went on to become the highest grossing Tamil film of that time.[6]

Following Sivaji, Shankar revisited the possibility of beginning his shelved science fiction venture. After initial discussions Shahrukh Khan and their subsequent differences of opinion regarding the script, he later decided to make the project in Tamil with Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai. The film was produced by South Indian media proprietor, Kalanithi Maran, was renamed as Enthiran and was made on a budget of INR 1.32 billion, the most expensive Indian film. Some reports also make it the highest grossing Indian film, although this cannot be independently verified.[7][8] After initial reports indicating that Shankar's next film is entitled to be with Siddharth, Shankar started to work on Nanban, the Tamil remake of the 2009 Hindi film 3 Idiots starring Vijay, Jeeva and Srikanth. The film opened to highly positive reviews in January 2012 and emerged yet another financial success.[9] After Nanban, it was wrongly reported that Shankar's next film would be called Therdal.[10][11] On 21 June 2012, Shankar announced the name and crew for his next film named I.[12] Vikram, after the successful Anniyan (2005), again joins with Shankar while Amy Jackson is the female lead. The movie is expected to be produced and released on a mega scale on 9th January 2015.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Shankar's family includes his father Shanmugam, mother Muthulakshmi, his wife and two daughters.


Year Film Credited as Language Budget genre Notes
Director Producer Story
1993 Gentleman Yes Yes Tamil INR 5C action-vigilante Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
Dubbed in Telugu as Gentleman
1994 Kadhalan Yes Yes Tamil INR 8C action-romance Cameo appearance
Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
Dubbed in Telugu as Premikudu
Dubbed in Hindi as Humse Hai Muqabla
The Gentleman Yes Hindi action-vigilante Remake of Gentleman
1996 Indian Yes Yes Tamil INR12C action-vigilante Dubbed in Telugu as Bharateeyudu
Dubbed in Hindi as Hindustani
1998 Jeans Yes Yes Tamil INR20C romantic-comedy Dubbed in Telugu and Hindi as Jeans
1999 Mudhalvan Yes Yes Yes Tamil INR20C political thriller Dubbed in Telugu as Oke Okkadu
2001 Nayak Yes Yes Hindi INR25C political thriller Remake of Mudhalvan
2003 Boys Yes Yes Tamil INR18C coming-of-age Dubbed in Telugu as Boys
2004 Kaadhal Yes Tamil INR50L romantic drama Dubbed in Telugu as Premisthe
2005 Anniyan Yes Yes Tamil INR 26.3C psychological thriller Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
Dubbed in Telugu as Aparichitudu
Dubbed in Hindi as Aparichit: The Stranger
2006 Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi Yes Tamil INR 4C historical comedy Dubbed in Telugu as Himsinche 23Va Raju Pulikesi
Veyil Yes Tamil INR 3C drama National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil
Dubbed in Telugu as Vesavi
2007 Sivaji Yes Yes Tamil INR 60C action thriller Cameo appearance
Nominated — Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director
Dubbed in Telugu and Hindi as Sivaji
Kalloori Yes Tamil INR 3C coming-of-age Dubbed in Telugu as Kalasala
2008 Arai Enn 305-il Kadavul Yes Tamil INR 4C fantasy comedy Dubbed in Telugu as Gadi No - 305 Lo Devudu
2009 Eeram Yes Tamil INR 6C Horror Dubbed in Telugu as Vaishali
2010 Rettaisuzhi Yes Tamil INR 6C comedy-drama
Anandhapurathu Veedu Yes Tamil INR 5C supernatural mystery
Enthiran Yes Yes Tamil INR 132C science fiction-thriller Vijay Award for Favourite Director
Nominated — Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Dubbed in Telugu as Robo
Dubbed in Hindi as Robot
2012 Nanban Yes Tamil INR 50C coming-of-age-comedy Remake of Hindi film "3Idiots" and dubbed into Telugu as Snehitudu
2014 Kappal Yes Tamil
2015 I Yes Yes Tamil INR 180C romantic-thriller "Will be dubbed in Telugu and Hindi as "I"


  1. ^ Demystifying India's highest paid film-maker - the elusive S Shankar
  2. ^ "Demystifying India's highest paid film-maker — the elusive S Shankar — Economic Times". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Director Shankar — Director, Producer, Writer, picture, biography, profile, info and favourites". Nilacharal.com. 17 August 1963. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Director Shankar's Interview". Behindwoods. 20 January 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Sivaji – The Boss (Now Playing)". Indiatimes. 18 June 2007. Made on a budget of about Rs 75 Crores... 
  6. ^ Business Standard (13 July 2007). "Eros buys Tamil film distributor". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Rajinikanth's 'Robot' biggest grosser of all time". IBN Live. 
  8. ^ "Rajinikanth adds 30% to Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network revenue". The Economic Times. 31 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Vijay — Tamil Movie News — Vijay’s next titled Rascal? - Vijay | Shankar | 3 Idiots | Rascal | Kaavalan". Behindwoods.com. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Samantha bags Shankar's next Therdal". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Samantha Bags the Big Role in Shankar next movie 'I'". Dailomo: Complete Tamil Cinema Portal. Dailomo.com. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "‘I’ will be produced on a mega scale". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. 

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