Shaji N. Karun
|Shaji N. Karun|
|Born||Shaji Neelakantan Karunakaran
January 1, 1952
Kollam, Kerala State, India
|Occupation||Film director, Cinematographer|
|Awards||1989, Special Mention, Caméra d'Or, Cannes Film Festival (Piravi), Charlie Chaplin Award 1989 (Piravi), Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence (Cinematography), Padmashree by Govt of India 2011 |
Shaji Neelakantan Karun (born 1 January 1952) is a National Award-winning Indian film director and cinematographer. His debut film Piravi (1988) won the Caméra d'Or - Mention d'honneur at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. He was the Premiere Chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, the first academy for film and TV in India and was also the Executive Chairman of International Film Festival of Kerala from 1998 to 2001. He is best known for his award winning films Piravi (1989), Vanaprastham (1999) and Kutty Srank (2009).
Shaji N. Karun was born on New Year's Day, 1952 as the eldest son of Mr. N. Karunakaran and Mrs. Chandramati in present day Kollam district in the former state of Travancore state (now Kerala), India. The family moved to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the state in 1963. He did his schooling in Palkulangara H.S. and took a Bachelor's degree from University College, Thiruvananthapuram. In 1971 he entered the Film and Television Institute of India where he took his diploma in Cinematography. His Diploma film Genesis (1974) directed by Rahul Dasgupta got many awards and he started his career. He won the President's medal on graduation in 1975.
Shaji is married to Anasuya Warrier on 1 January 1975, daughter of P. K. R. Warrier, who was his neighbour in Trivandrum for quite some time. After a brief stint in the south Indian city of Madras, he returned to Thiruvananthapuram in 1976 where he got an appointment as film officer in the newly formed state Film Development Corporation. They have 2 sons, Anil and Appu. His association with the legendary Malayalam film maker G. Aravindan began at this time. Then he continued working with notable directors like G. Aravindan, K. G. George and M. T. Vasudevan Nair as a cinematographer. His career also spreads to many activities by Government of India and Kerala where he served in the capacities of advisory status on policy decisions. 20th International film festival of Kerala conducted by the government of Kerala, in 2015 December 4-11, under his advisory capacity is marked by the Press and film lovers as the best of the festivals held so far.
Career in film direction
Shaji made his directorial debut with the Malayalam film Piravi ("The Birth", 1988), which won him the prestigious Caméra d'Or - Mention d'honneur at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. While Piravi was about the grief of a father who loses his son, Shaji's second film, Swaham (1994) continued with the theme of grief. Swaham was selected to compete at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Vaanaprastham ("The Final Dance", 1999) dealt with the identity crisis faced by an actor. Mohanlal played the lead role in this film. He directed the film Nishad, made in Hindi, which was completed in May 2002, and premiered in the Fukuoka International Film Festival held in September 2002 in Japan. His latest film is titled Kutty Srank with Mammootty playing the lead role. The film was released theatrically in Kerala on July 2010. His latest project Gaadha was announced in September 2012, and is expected to commence shooting by November 2014. Music will be composed by the Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner. His new film SWAPAANAM with Jayaram and Kadambari in lead roles has premiered at Dubai International Film Festival on 08 Dec 2013, a rare recognition for Malayalam Cinema as the World premier screening outside India.
He has also made around a dozen short films and documentaries. Besides making films, Shaji Karun has been active as a juror at many international film festivals and an active participant in governmental and academic arenas. He was the Premiere Chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, the first academy for film and TV in India and was also the Executive Chairman of International Film Festival of Kerala from 1998 to 2001.
Awards and milestones
National and international honors
- Life Time Achievement- Tyrol:IFFI Prize 2014 Innsbruck Film Festival, AUSTRIA
- Padma Shri in 2011 INDIA
- Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1999) FRANCE
- The first Sir Charles Chaplin Award to commemorate the centenary of Chaplin's birth (1989) Edinburgh Film Festival. UNITED KINGDOM
As a cinematographer
- Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence, Hawaii International Film Festival (1989)
- National Film Award: Thampu (Circus Tent) (1979)
- Awards from the Government of Kerala: Kanchana Sita (1977), Esthappan (1981), Onnumuthal Poojayam Vare (1986)
As a director
- Cannes Film Festival, nominated for Palme d'Or (Best Film): Swaham (1994)
- Cannes Film Festival, Caméra d'Or (Special Mention): Piravi (1989)
- London Film Festival, Outstanding Film: Piravi (1989)
- Locarno International Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize (Silver Leopard): Piravi (1989)
- 1999 Cannes Film Festival: Vanaprastham was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival (1999)
- 2009 - Best Film - Kutty Srank
- 1999 - Best Film - Vanaprastham
- 1997 - Best Non-Feature Film - Sham's Vision (English)
- 1995 - Special Jury Award - Swaham
- 1989 - Best Film - (Producer) Piravi
- 1989 - Best Director - Piravi
- 1979 - Best Cinematographer (Black & White) - Thampu
- 1999 - Best Director - Vanaprastham
- 1994 - Second Best Film - Swaham
- 1988 - Second Best Film - Piravi
- 1986 - Best Cinematographer - Oridathu
- 1979 - Best Cinematographer - Esthappan
- 1977 - Best Cinematographer - Kanchana Sita
Filmography as director
- Oolu (2016- 2017)
- Gaadha (under production)
- Swapaanam (2013)
- Kutty Shranku (2009)
- Nishad (2002)
- Vanaprastham (1999)
- Swaham (1994)
- Piravi (1988)
- Wild Life of Kerala (1979)
- Kerala Carnival (1980)
- Kannikal (1986)
- Sham's Vision (1996)
- Bhavam (1998)
- G. Aravindan (2000)
- Big Man & Small World (2002)
- AKG (2007)
- "Fine Balance" (2010)
- "Waiting" (2011)
- Signature film- INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA (2012)
- "Artist Namboodiri-'NERUVARA'/'trueline' " (2015)
As a cinematographer
- Genesis (1974)
- Kanchana Sita (1977)
- Thampu (1978)
- Kummatty (1979)
- Esthappan (1979)
- Pokkuveyil (1981)
- Koodevide (1983)
- Panchavadi Palam (1984)
- Chidambaram (1985)
- Meenamasathile Sooryan (1985)
- Nakhakshathangal (1986)
- Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil (1986)
- Meenamasathile Sooryan (1986)
- Ek Chadar Maili Si (1986)
- Onnu Muthal Poojyam Vare (1986)
- Oridathu (1987)
- Marattam (1988)
- Sargam (1992)
- "Press Information Bureau". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- ""Panchavadi Palam"".
- "Festival de Cannes: Swaham". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Indian Entertainment News, Movie News, Movie Features - Bollywood - Tamil - Telugu - Malayalam - Kannada Movies". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Festival de Cannes: Piravi". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
- "Festival de Cannes: Vanaprastham". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
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