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Jayarajan Rajasekharan Nair, professionally credited as Jayaraj, is an Indian filmmaker, who predominantly works in Malayalam film industry. He is the founder of the Birds Club International and is actively involved in philanthropic work. Jayaraj is a recipient of the Crystal Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Peacock award at the IFFI , the Golden Crow Pheasant award at the IFFK , the FIPRESCI Award from the International Federation of Film Critics, the Don Quijote Award from the International Federation of Film Societies, The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) award and a special mention award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. He is also a 7 time recipient of the National Film Award and several Kerala State Film Awards. His notable films include, Desadanam (1996), Kaliyattam (1997), Karunam (2000), Shantham (2001), Daivanamathil (2005), Vellapokkathil (2007), Ottaal (2015), Veeram (2017) and Bhayanakam (2018).

Jayarajan Rajasekharan Nair
Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair

(1960-08-04) 4 August 1960 (age 59)
OccupationDirector, screenwriter, producer
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Sabitha Jayaraj

Early lifeEdit

Jayaraj was born on 4 August 1960 to a middle-class family in Kottayam, Kerala, India. His father was N. Rajasekharan Nair and mother, Savithri R. Nair. He completed his Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communication from College of Engineering Trivandrum [CET]. During his stay at Thiruvananthapuram, he attended film festivals including the International Film Festival of Kerala and watched many world classics.[1] Kurosawa's Rashomon and DeSica's Bicycle Thieves were among them, and they influenced him immensely.[2] After his studies in Thiruvananthapuram, he met noted director Bharathan who was a neighbour of his sister in Madras, Tamil Nadu.


Bharathan was impressed by Jayaraj and made him his assistant director for Chilambu(1986). Jayaraj then went on to be the assistant to Bharathan in six more films including the critically acclaimed Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam (1987) and Vaishali (1988). Jayaraj debuted as director with Vidyarambham (1990). His early career mainly produced commercially oriented films like Aakasha Kottayile Sultan (1991), Johnnie Walker (1992), High Way (1995), Thumboli Kadappuram (1995) and Arabia (1995).

Notable in his early career were Kudumbasametham (1992), Paithrukam (1993) and Sopanam (1993). Paithrukam was critically acclaimed but was subject to criticism for its conservative, religious philosophy. Desadanam (1997) was a milestone in his career. With the film, he was considered a serious film-maker by the critics. It was followed by another critically acclaimed film, Kaliyattam (1997) which was an adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. It won him the National Film Award for Best Direction.

In 1999 Jayaraj started his nine-film series project Navarasa with Karunam, followed by Shantham(2001). Shantham won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. The third in the Navarasa series was Bheebhatsa, a Hindi film followed by Adbutham and Veeram. In 2018, the sixth film in the series Bhayanakam was released and had won awards for Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the 2017 National Film Awards. On 10 June 2019, Tovino Thomas officially announced and shared the poster of Roudram 2018, the seventh film in the series. While sharing the poster on Facebook Tovino wrote, "The movie is based on real-life incidents that occurred in central Travancore, during the devastating floods that Kerala survived. Roudram 2018 portrays the tempestuous ferocity of nature, and the utter helplessness of humankind before that might."

Of late he has been doing commercial and art films and is successful in both genres. While Thilakkam (2003) and 4 The People (2004) were huge commercial successes Kannaki (2002), Makalkku (2005), Daivanamathil (2005) and Ottaal (2015) were critically acclaimed. Ottaal made history, becoming the first ever Malayalam movie to have swept all the top awards in the 20-year history of the International Film Festival of Kerala. The film was one of four Malayalam films selected to be a part of the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India in Goa in November 2015.

Personal lifeEdit

Jayaraj is married to Sabitha Jayaraj, a Kerala State Film Award winning costume designer and actress. They have two children together.


In an earnest effort towards conserving nature and strengthening people’s welfare, Jayaraj founded the Jayaraj Foundation in 2010 and officially launched it on 6 June 2014. World Organisation of Hope’s (WOH) ambitious programme 'SMART'[Sports, Music, Art and Recreation Therapy (Yoga and Meditation)]and "Birds Club international" are the two projects initiated by the foundation.

Word Organisation of Hope (WOH) is an organisation aimed at building children’s awareness of their rights and to protect them. The programme SMART [Sports, Music, Art and Recreation Therapy (Yoga and Meditation)] is an offshoot of WOH. It supports children and adolescents in their own struggle to secure and defend their dreams.

Birds Club International (BCI) aims at creating miniature rain forests in schools and colleges, to make a better environment both for birds and humans. It plans to bring together the future generation and integrating more of society towards nature conservation activities. Several units of BCI have been started in many schools and colleges in Kerala, with the help of the Government of Kerala, to achieve this.


International awards
Film Year Award (s)
Ottaal 2015 Crystal Bear, Suvarna Chakoram, FIPRESCI award, NETPAC award, Rajatha Chakoram
Daivanamathil 2005 Best Film Award in Spain, Madrid International Film Festival
Karunam 2000 Golden Peacock Award, International Film Festival of India- Awards from Federation of International Film Societies, Berlin International Film Fest, Special Mention in Kerala International Film Festival.
Shantham 2001 Best Cinematography in Festival De 3 Continents, France
Desadanam 1996 Special Mention at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in competition section.
National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
V. Shantharam Awards
John Abraham Awards
  • 2000 : Karunam
  • 2012 : Vellapokkathil - The Deluge
Asianet Film Awards
  • 2002: Asianet Film Award for Best Director for Kannaki
Ramu Karyatt Awards
P. Padmarajan Awards


Title Year Language Notes Ref(s)
Roudram 2018 2019 Malayalam Part 7, Navarasa series. Also writer
Bhayanakam 2017 Malayalam Part 6, Navarasa series. Also writer
Veeram 2016 Malayalam
Part 5, Navarasa series. Also writer
Ottaal 2015 Malayalam [3]
Camel Safari 2013 [4]
Pakarnnattam 2012 [5]
Naayika 2011 [6]
The Train 2011 Writer credits [7]
Loudspeaker 2009 Writer and producer credits
Gulmohar 2008
Vellapokkathil 2008
Of The People 2008 Writer and producer credits
Sila Nerangalil 2008 Tamil
Anandabhairavi 2007 Malayalam
Aanachandam 2006
Adbutham 2006 Part 4, Navarasa series
Ashwaroodan 2006
Daivanamathil 2005
By the People 2005
Makalkku 2005
Rain Rain Come Again 2004
4 the People 2004
Thilakkam 2003
Kannaki 2002
Bhibatsa 2002 Hindi Part 3, Navarasa series
Millennium Stars 2000 Malayalam
Karunam 2000 Part 2, Navarasa series. Also producer
Shantham 2000 Part 1, Navarasa series
Sneham 1998
Thalolam 1998
Kaliyattam 1997
Desadanam 1997 Producer credits
Arabia 1995
High Way 1995
Thumboli Kadappuram 1995
Paithrukam 1993
Sopanam 1993
Johnnie Walker 1992
Kudumbasametham 1992
Aakasha Kottayile Sultan 1991 Story credits
Vidhyarambham 1990


  1. ^ Profile
  2. ^ "Jayaraj: A director's profile". movies. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  3. ^ "'Ottal' is more than an environmental film: Jayaraj". Manorama Online.
  4. ^ "Love in the sands of Pushkar". The New Indian Express.
  5. ^ P.K.Ajith Kumar (14 January 2011). "Lambs to the sacrifice". The Hindu.
  6. ^ "Another new film on Shrividhya". The Indian Express. 21 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Jayaraj ropes in Mammootty for Track With Rahman". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2010.

External linksEdit