S. Shankar

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In this Indian name, the name Shanmugam is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Shankar.
Shankar S.jpg
Born Shankar Shanmugam
(1963-08-17) 17 August 1963 (age 53)
Kumbakonam , Tamil Nadu, India
Residence Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) Easwari
Children 3

Shankar Shanmugam (born 17 August 1963), credited mononymously 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. He made his directorial 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.[1]

Two of his films, Indian (1996) and Jeans (1998), were submitted by India for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 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 completed his diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Central Polytechnic College before entering the film industry.[2] He was roped into the film industry as a screenwriter by S. A. Chandrasekhar, who accidentally saw the drama stage shows made by Shankar and his team. Wanting to be an actor initially, he chose to be a director instead.


Shankar began his career as an assistant to film directors like S. A. Chandrasekhar and Pavithran.[2] 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.[3] A. R. Rahman, the film's music 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. In 1996, he collaborated with Kamal Haasan for Indian. It was dubbed in Hindi as Hindustani. The film was selected as the country's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Following Indian, Shankar began work on Jeans, which released in 1998 and became the most expensive film in Indian cinema at that time with a budget of 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 Rajinikanth playing the lead. After the actor cited schedule conflicts, Arjun Sarja joined the project. 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 budgeting problems. 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 600 million,[4] the most expensive Indian film at that time. He was paid with a record salary of 10 crores for the film. After two years of filming, the film released in 2007. Ultimately it went on to become the highest grossing Tamil film of that time.[5]

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 1.32 billion, the most expensive Indian film. Some reports also make it the highest grossing Indian film, although this cannot be independently verified.[6][7] 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 in January 2012. After Nanban, it was wrongly reported that Shankar's next film would be called Therdal.[8] On 21 June 2012, Shankar announced his next film named I.[9] A romantic thriller, the film revolved around a former body builder and model exacting revenge upon the people who turned him into a hunchback. Vikram played the lead role, collaborating with Shankar again after Anniyan (2005), while Amy Jackson was the female lead. The film, made over a period of two and half years, released on 14 January 2015 to mixed reviews but earned Rs.200 crores in 19 days.[10] He is currently working on the production of 2.0, a sequel to Enthiran (2010).

Personal life[edit]

Shankar family includes his father Shanmugam, mother Muthulakshmi, his wife Easwari and two daughters and a son.Shankar resides in T.Nagar, Chennai.


Directorial works[edit]

Year Film Credited as Language Notes
Director Producer Writer
1993 Gentleman Yes Yes Tamil
1994 Kadhalan Yes Yes
The Gentleman Yes Hindi
1996 Indian Yes Yes Tamil
1998 Jeans Yes Yes
1999 Mudhalvan Yes Yes Yes
2001 Nayak Yes Yes Hindu Remake of Mudhalvan
2003 Boys Yes Yes Tamil
2004 Kaadhal Yes
2005 Anniyan Yes Yes
2006 Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi Yes
Veyil Yes
2007 Sivaji: The.Boss Yes Yes
Kalloori Yes
2008 Arai Enn 305-il Kadavul Yes
2009 Eeram Yes
2010 Rettaisuzhi Yes
Anandhapurathu Veedu Yes
Enthiran: The Robot Yes Yes
2012 Nanban Yes Yes(Dialogues in Tamil)
2015 I Yes Yes
2017 2.0 Yes Yes Post-production

Other credited works[edit]

Year Film Category Notes
1986 Vasantha Raagam Actor as Printing press worker
Poovum Puyalum as Shankar
1990 Seetha as Japan
1994 Kadhalan Lyricist "Pettai Rap"
Special Appearance in the song "Kadhalikum Pennin"
2007 Sivaji: The Boss in the song "Balleilakka"
2012 Nanban in the song "Asku Laska"
2010 Enthiran "As a Soldier carrying the weapon box"


Submissions for the Academy Award[edit]

Year Films Category Result
1996 Indian Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
1998 Jeans

National Film Award[edit]

Year Films Category Result
2008 Veyil Best Feature Film in Tamil Won

Filmfare Awards South[edit]

Year Films Category Result
1994 Gentleman Best Director Won
1995 Kadhalan
2006 Anniyan
2007 Veyil Best Film – Tamil
2008 Sivaji: The.Boss Best Director Nominated
2011 Enthiran: The Robot
2016 I

Tamil Nadu State Film Awards[edit]

Year Films Category Result
1993 Gentleman Best Director Won
1996 Indian Best Feature Film (First prize)
2005 Anniyan Best Feature Film (Second prize)
Best Director
2006 Veyil Best Feature Film (First prize)
2007 Sivaji: The.Boss

Vijay Awards[edit]

Year Films Category Result
2010 Enthiran: The Robot Favourite Director Won
2013 Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award for Excellence in Indian Cinema


  1. ^ "Demystifying India's highest paid film-maker - the elusive S Shankar". Mumbai Mirror. The Economic Times. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Director Shankar — Director, Producer, Writer, picture, biography, profile, info and favourites". Nilacharal.com. 17 August 1963. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Director Shankar's Interview". Behindwoods. 20 January 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Sivaji – The Boss (Now Playing)". Indiatimes. 18 June 2007. Made on a budget of about Rs. 75 Crores... 
  5. ^ "Eros buys Tamil film distributor". Business Standard. 13 July 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Rajinikanth's 'Robot' biggest grosser of all time". IBN Live. 
  7. ^ "Rajinikanth adds 30% to Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network revenue". The Economic Times. 31 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Samantha bags Shankar's next Therdal". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "'I' will be produced on a mega scale". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Prakash, Upadhyaya (3 February 2015). "'I' Box Office Collection: Vikram's Flick Grosses ₹200 Crore Worldwide in 19 Days". IB Times. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 

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