Hariharan is an Indian film director who has directed over 50 Malayalam films. His movies mainly revolve around the cultural and relational aspects of a typical Keralite society. His most notable works include Sharapancharam (1979), Panchagni (1986), Idavazhiyile Poocha Mindappoocha (1979), Amrutham Gamaya (1987), Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989), Sargam (1992), Parinayam (1994) and Pazhassi Raja (2009) which has won him wide critical acclaim. In 2019, he was awarded the J. C. Daniel Award, Kerala government's highest honour for contributions to Malayalam cinema.
Hariharan studied at St. Thomas College, Thrissur and Universal Arts College, Kozhikode. He entered the Malayalam film industry in 1965 working as an assistant director under film director M. Krishnan Nair. His first film Ladies Hostel was released in 1973, following which a lot of films with Prem Nazir and Madhu were released. Babumon was one of his box office hit movies of the black and white era. He directed two major films in Actor Jayan's career. His 1976 movie Panchami gave first major break to Jayan as an actor in malayalam cinema. In 1979 another movie Sarapanjaram was released with Jayan and Sheela. His films such as Valarthumrugangal, Panchagni, Nakhakshathangal, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, Sargam, Parinayam and Ennu Swantham Janakikutty have entered the Indian Panorama of International Film Festival. He has also been honored with a Diploma by the Pyongyang Film Festival of North Korea for Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha. In 1993, Sargam won him the Kerala State Award for Best Director and also National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The film also received special honor at the Fukuoka and Swiss film festivals. His next film, Parinayam, won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues and took part in about seven film festivals across the world. Ennu Swantham Janakikutty was the inaugural film at the Korean film festival (2000), and it also took part in the London film festival (2000).
Apart from these recognitions he has also won Filmfare and Ramu Kariat Awards for his works on multiple occasions. In 2009, he made Pazhassi Raja. It is based on the life of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, the first revolter against the British East India Company. It was written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair. Later in 2011, he announced another historical film titled Randamoozham with Mohanlal in the lead role and written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair, which was an adaptation of his novel of the same name. It was to be produced by Gokulam Gopalan, but the project was later shelved.
- 2009 - National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam - Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja
- 1995 - National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues - Parinayam
- 1993 - National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment - Sargam
- 2009 - Kerala State Film Award for Best Director - Pazhassi Raja
- 1994 - Kerala State Film Award for Best Film - Parinayam
- 1992 - Kerala State Film Award for Best Director - Sargam
- 1989 - Kerala State Film Award for Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value - Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha
- 1979 - Kerala State Film Award for Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value - Idavazhiyile Poocha Mindappoocha
- 2009 - Best Director - Pazhassi Raja
- 1994 - Best Director - Parinayam
- 1986 - Best Director - Panchagni
- 2019 - Filmfare Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 2019 - J. C. Daniel award
- 2012 - Prem Nazir Award
- 1993 - V. Shantaram Award
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