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Mysskin, Tamil filmmaker.jpg
Shanmugha Raja

(1971-09-20) 20 September 1971 (age 49)[1]
Other namesMysskin
OccupationDirector, writer, actor, producer, singer , lyricist
Years active2007–present

Shanmugha Raja (born 20 September 1971), known professionally as Mysskin is an Indian film director, screenwriter, actor, singer and producer.[2][3][4] He made his directorial debut in 2006 with Chithiram Pesuthadi. His subsequent films Anjathe (2008), Nandalala (2010) and Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (2013) and Pisasu have received critical acclaim. He made his acting debut with Nandalala (2010), where he played a mentally-challenged man.


He chose Mysskin or Myshkin as his assumed name inspired by Prince Myshkin, the protagonist in Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot.[4][3] His schooling was in Tamil and he is an avid book reader[5] He was working in a book store when director Kathir first asked him to join him. He was with him for nearly 8 months but did not work in any movie. It was under director Vincent Selva that he did his first movie Youth, followed by Jithan, again under Vincent Selva.[5] Mysskin made his directorial debut with the low -budget film Chithiram Pesudhadi which went to become one of the biggest hits of the year. A simple love story, it became a hit owing to the unique style the film was written in. Narain and Bhavana debuted as leads in the film became popular faces. He then moved on to Anjathe which became one of the biggest blockbusters in Tamil Cinema. The film received critical acclaim for all departments of film making. The film was also noted for its narrative style and mise en scene which marked an example of Tamil new wave cinema.[6] It starred Narain, Prasanna, Vijayalakshmi Ahathian and yesteryears actor Pandiarajan in a never before seen role. Both the Mysskin films had item songs which became big hits and has captured the hearts of the young and old alike.

Anjathe catapulted Mysskin into the big league. He is touted to be one of the best young directors in Tamil cinema. In autumn 2009, Kamal Haasan confirmed a high-budget historical project directed by Mysskin was in the works.[7] But the film did not get adequate funding (70 crore in 2009) and failed to take off.

Nevertheless, Mysskin came back with Nandalala a film loosely based on Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro was completely different from his first two ventures. A film which dealt with a young boy and a mentally challenged person going in search of their respective mothers. He chose to play the mentally challenged character after the script was turned down by many established actors. The film went on to become his most critically acclaimed film with some critics calling it one of the best Tamil films ever made.[8] Nandalala won the people's choice award at the Norway Film Festival. His next film, Yuddham Sei, a dark thriller was a hit at the box office as well. His visual style and directing prowess was appreciated and talked about by everybody.[9] His next film, Mugamoodi has received negative responses from the public and media. His next film Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The Wolf and the lamb) was a fast-paced thriller released on 27 September 2013. It received superlative reviews from all corners. Audience and critics praised the film as a trendsetter and the changing face of Tamil cinema. Once again Mysskin proved that he is a director of high standards. In Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum, Mysskin acted as one among the two lead characters.

Pisasu released on December 19, 2014 and turned out to be a super hit. It also got high critical acclaim. It was one of the biggest commercial hits of 2014 in Tamil Cinema and proved to be the most profitable Tamil film of 2014. His film Thupparivaalan released on 14 September 2017. In the film Savarakathi, which was released in 2018, he played as an antagonist. The film was commercial success.

Film-making style[edit]

Mysskin is known for his peculiar combat sequences using elaborate storyboard[10][11] and real unarmed martial strikes and stances;[12] unconventional shots (like close-ups of feet); diegetic sound, light, silhouette and shadow; stage techniques (like monologue, face-floor, motion-freeze); staccato background score; meticulous scene and set construction; irony-laden dialogues; ellipses; minimalism; deep characterisation (with archetypal hairdo, dress, accent, posture, gesture, locale, furniture); limited use of song choreography; and neo-noir renditions where the lead role is not infallible.

Mysskin is known to start film shoot only after a bound script is ready. He rigorously annotates his scripts with cues and camera lens focal lengths for each scene.[13][14] He says that his films are influenced by the works of Akira Kurosawa.[15] His plots predominantly deal with the urban poor and middle class. His films also have a recurring theme of compassion and redemption. His favorite directors are Robert Bresson, Melville, and Takeshi Kitano.


  • All films are in Tamil, unless otherwise noted.
dagger Denotes films that have not yet been released

As director, writer & actor[edit]

Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Director Writer Actor Producer
2002 Youth Green tickY Vincent Selva's assistant
2002 Kadhal Virus Green tickY Kathir's assistant
2006 Chithiram Pesuthadi Green tickY Green tickY
2008 Anjathe Green tickY Green tickY Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Nominated, Vijay Award for Best Director
2010 Nandalala Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Bhaskar Mani
2011 Yuddham Sei Green tickY Green tickY
2012 Mugamoodi Green tickY Green tickY
2013 Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Wolf / Edward
2014 Pisasu Green tickY Green tickY
2017 Thupparivaalan Green tickY Green tickY
2018 Savarakkaththi Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Mangeswaran
2019 Super Deluxe Green tickY Green tickY Arputham
2019 Suttu Pidikka Utharavu Green tickY Ibrahim
2020 Psycho Green tickY Green tickY
TBA Thupparivaalan 2 Green tickY Pre-Production[16]

As singer[edit]

Year Song(s) Film Composer Notes
2008 "Kannadhasan Karaikudi" & "Acham Thavir" Anjathe Sundar C Babu
2008 "Sutta Pazhama" Dindigul Sarathy Dhina
2011 "Aararo" & "Vedham Pudhumai" Yuddham Sei K
2012 "Bar Anthem" Mugamoodi
2013 "Ammadi Aathadi" Thulli Vilayadu Srikanth Deva
2015 "Vellakaara Rani" Kallappadam K
2016 "Kathi Edukkuthaan" Savarakkaththi Arrol Corelli
2017 "Ivan Thupparivaalan" Thupparivaalan Arrol Corelli

As lyricist[edit]

Year Song(s) Film Composer Notes
2006 "Aaahayam Aaahayam" & "Idhu Enna Pudhu Kanavo (M)" Chithiram Pesuthadi Sundar C Babu
2012 "Bar Anthem" Mugamoodi K
2017 "Ivan Thupparivaalan" Thupparivaalan Arrol Corelli
2020 "Thaai Madiyil" Psycho Ilaiyaraaja


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Mysskin — Missing the forest for the trees | FCCI". Journal of Indian Cinema. 20 September 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Ahead of Psycho's Release, Delving Into Mysskin's Unique Craft". The Quint. 21 January 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Shanmugha Raja is the real name of director Mysskin - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Director Mysskin". Behindwoods. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  6. ^ Kalorth, Nithin (September 2013). "Identification and Analysis of Images in Anjathey". 4 (3). Media Watch. ISSN 0976-0911. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Kamal confirms Mysskin project
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mysskin choreographs fights with storyboard
  11. ^ Mysskin says storyboarding helps cut costs
  12. ^ Mysskin storyboarding combat sequence for Thupparivaalan
  13. ^ Films can be made without songs or heroines, says Mysskin
  14. ^ Cuss words are needed for realism, says Mysskin
  15. ^ Mysskin admits Kurosawa influence
  16. ^ "Mysskin's next with Andrea, officially announced". 20 September 2020.

External links[edit]