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.
Born Shankar
(1963-08-17) 17 August 1963 (age 52)
Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India
Residence Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) S.Easwari
Children 3

Shankar Shanmugam, 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] 2010, in the Entertainment category.

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 diploma Mechanical Engineering from central polytechnic college, 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.Wanted to be an actor initially,he chose to be a director instead.[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 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. 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.It was dubbed in Hindi as £Hindustani which also had a great run at box office which according to some sources to have grossed ₹11crores(₹80crores adjusted for inflation) 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 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. 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 negative 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,[5] 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 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 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] On 21 June 2012, Shankar announced his next film named I.[11] 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 emerged a blockbuster hit earned Rs.200 crores in 19 days.[12] His next project is touted to be Endhiran 2 once again joing hands with Rajnikanth. Amy Jackson has been roped in to play the female lead in this project.The film's pre-production is going on and the official announcement is to be made soon.A.R.Rahman is reported to score for the film whilst the other cast and crew are yet to be finalized.The principal photography for the film is to begin after Rajnikanth completes his film with Pa. Ranjith.It is likely to be the highest budgeted Indian film made at ₹300 crores and Lyca productions(who produced Kaththi) are producing the film.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Shankar's family includes his father Shanmugam, mother Muthulakshmi, his wife Easwari and two daughters and a son. Shankar resides in T.Nagar, Chennai.


Year Film Credited as Language Notes
Director Producer Story
1993 Gentleman Yes Yes Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
1994 Kadhalan Yes Yes Tamil Cameo appearance in "Kadhalikkum Pennin" song
Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
The Gentleman Yes Hindi Remake of Gentleman
1996 Indian Yes Yes Tamil
1998 Jeans Yes Yes Tamil
1999 Mudhalvan Yes Yes Yes Tamil
2001 Nayak Yes Yes Hindi Remake of Mudhalvan
2003 Boys Yes Yes Tamil
2004 Kaadhal Yes Tamil
2005 Anniyan Yes Yes Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
2006 Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi Yes Tamil
Veyil Yes Tamil National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil
2007 Sivaji Yes Yes Tamil Cameo appearance in "Balleilakka" song
Nominated — Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director
Kalloori Yes Tamil
2008 Arai Enn 305-il Kadavul Yes Tamil
2009 Eeram Yes Tamil
2010 Rettaisuzhi Yes Tamil
Anandhapurathu Veedu Yes Tamil
Enthiran Yes Yes Tamil Vijay Award for Favourite Director
Nominated — Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Cameo Appearance as Military Soldier
2012 Nanban Yes Tamil Cameo appearance in "Aska Laska" song
2014 Kappal Yes Tamil
2015 I Yes Yes Tamil
2017 Enthiran 2 Yes Yes Tamil


Year Awards Category For
1993 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil Gentleman
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director Gentleman
1994 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil Kadhalan
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director Kadhalan
2005 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil Anniyan
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director Anniyan
2010 Vijay Awards Vijay Award for Favourite Director Enthiran


  • Shankar acted as a comedian in the film Seetha directed by S.A Chandrasekhar. Shankar was the assistant director for few of director S.A Chandrasekhar's film.
  • He is the one who introduced tag lines for the films in India with his movie Gentleman taglined "something special".
  • He has shown all the seven wonders of the world at that time in a single song in the movie "Jeans".
  • Shankar is the one who has first shown corruption of Government officials on the screen with his movie "Indian" which went on to become a blockbuster and was an Oscar nominee sent from India.
  • He became the first Indian director to use animatronics method in the movie called "endhiran"


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