Who are the most successful Kollywood directors?


Kollywood, commonly referred to as Tamil cinema, is a subset of Indian cinema that specializes in the creation of Tamil-language films. Based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s Kodambakkam neighborhood, it is known as Kollywood—a combination of the phrases Kodambakkam and Hollywood. 

Kollywood produced many movies all through out. R Nataraja Mudaliar directed the first silent film in Tamil, Keechaka Vadham, in 1918. Less than a year after India’s first talking motion picture Alam Ara, H M Reddy’s multilingual Kalidas, the first Tamil talking feature film, was released on October 31, 1931.

Without the directors, these movies would undoubtedly not be possible, right? Let’s find out which directors in this article are well-known and successful. 

Successful directors in Kollywood

Kailasam Balachander

He was born on July 9, 1930, and died on December 23, 2014. He was an Indian dramatist and director best known for his work in Tamil cinema. The Indian film industry acknowledged him as a master of unorthodox subjects and hard-hitting modern subject matter. He was highly renowned for his distinctive filmmaking technique. Women are frequently portrayed as strong individuals and leading roles in Balachander’s films commonly known as Iyakkunar Sigaram. His films typically focus on social issues and uncommon or complex interpersonal interactions. With Neerkumizhi (1965), he advanced to becoming a director after beginning his film career in 1964 as a screenwriter. 

He was one of the most productive filmmakers in the nation after a 50-year career that saw him contribute as a screenwriter or director to approximately 100 feature pictures. Nagesh, Sujatha, Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Jaya Prada, Sridevi, Jayasudha, Saritha, Renuka, Nassar, Prakash Raj, Ramesh Aravind, and Vivek are just a few of the actors he is recognized with having developed. He was also known among his peers as a strict taskmaster. Balachander has garnered 13 Filmfare Awards and nine National Film Awards throughout his film career. He received the Dadasaheb Phalke accolade, India’s highest film accolade, as well as the Padma Shri (1987), the country’s fourth-highest civilian honor.

Sudha Kongara

Sudha Kongara was born into a Telugu-speaking family in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Sudha was raised in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai. She graduated from the Women’s Christian College in Chennai with a degree in History and Mass Communication. She is an Indian film director and screenwriter with a strong focus on Tamil cinema is Sudha Kongara Prasad, also known professionally as Sudha Kongara. In 2008, she made her acting debut in a Telugu movie called Andhra Andagadu. She went on to direct the Tamil movie Drohi. She got the Filmfare Award for Best Director in 2016 for her work on the multilingual film Irudhi Suttru. The Telugu version of the movie, Guru (2017), was afterwards directed by her. 

She has worked in three languages throughout the course of her 15-year career and has won two national awards, two filmfare awards from the south, and two siima awards. She wrote the narrative and directed the 2020 film Soorarai Pottru, which received a Best Foreign Film nomination at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. At the Shanghai International Film Festival, Soorarai Pottru was shown in the Panorama section. It received five awards at the 68th National Film Awards, including Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay for Sudha Kongara. 

Shankar Shanmugam

Filmmaker Shankar Shanmugam, who was born on August 17, 1963, is also known by his pen name, Shankar, and is primarily known for his work in Tamil cinema. He is one of India’s most successful and well-paid film directors. His films frequently feature cutting-edge VFX and technology, modern societal issues, and vigilante themes. He made his directing debut with the 1993 movie Gentleman, for which he was also recognized with the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director and the Filmfare Best Director Award. He frequently works with composer A. R. Rahman, with whom they have collaborated on over 11 films. 

Both of his films that tackle social and political concerns, Indian (1996) and Mudhalvan (1998), were commercially highly successful and were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film by India, although neither received a nomination. MGR University awarded an honorary doctorate upon him. His psychological thriller Anniyan, which starred Vikram in three different roles—Ambi, Remo, and Anniyan—was released in 2005 to acclaim from critics and audiences alike. After Anniyan, Shankar and Rajinikanth collaborated on Sivaji (2007), the highest-budget Indian movie at the time. For the movie, he received a record remuneration of $100,000,000. Later, it rose to become the highest-grossing movie of the year and one of the highest-grossing Tamil films at the time. 


Born on July 17, 1941, Bharathiraja is an Indian actor and film director who primarily works in the Tamil cinema industry. He made his acting debut in 1977 with 16 Vayathinile, and since then, he has become renowned for his sensitive and realistic depictions of rural life. He has received a Nandi Award, two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards South, and six National Film Awards as of 2017. Additionally, he has directed movies in Hindi and Telugu. He was given the Padma Shri award in 2004 by the Indian government in recognition of his contributions to the film industry, which is the country’s fourth-highest civilian honor. 

Mani Ratnam

Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam, better known by his stage name Mani Ratnam, was born in India on June 2, 1956. He is an Indian film producer, screenwriter, and director who primarily produces Tamil films, with a small number of Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada films. Ratnam has won numerous awards at international film festivals as well as six National Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards, and six Filmfare Awards South. He received the Padma Shri award from the Indian government in 2002 in recognition of his contributions to cinema. He became a well-known director in Tamil cinema with his fifth film, Mouna Ragam (1986). He was the filmmaker of the highly acclaimed, nationally recognized films Nayakan (1987) and Anjali (1990), both of which were eligible for India’s official entry in The Academy Awards.


Kollywood has created several amazing films with talented directors, making these creators well-known and prosperous. The story, cinematography, and incredible directories of Indian films have made them popular around the world to this day.

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