S. Shankar

Shankar Shanmugam (born 17 August 1963), credited as S. Shankar or his mononym Shankar, is an Indian filmmaker who predominantly works in Tamil cinema. He made his debut as a director in the film Gentleman (1993), for which he won the Filmfare Best Director Award and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director. He is one of the highest paid film directors of India,[2] particularly known for extensive use of visual effects, prosthetic makeup and state-of-art technology in songs.

S. Shankar
Shankar at the 2.0 Audio launch.jpg
Shankar at the 2.0 Audio Launch
Born (1963-08-17) 17 August 1963 (age 57)[1]
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1993–present
Spouse(s)Easwari Shankar

Shankar's films typically deal with the contemporary social issues and vigilante themes. He usually collaborates with composer A. R. Rahman, both having done over 10 films together. 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. His movie 2.0 (2018) is the fourth highest-grossing film in India and is the sixth highest-grossing Indian film worldwide.[3][4]

Early lifeEdit

Shankar was born on 17 August 1963 in Kumbakonam, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu to Muthulakshmi and Shanmugam. He completed his diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Central Polytechnic College before entering the film industry.[1] 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. Though he wanted to be an actor, he chose to be a director instead and became one of the leading directors in Indian Cinema.[5]



Shankar began his career as an assistant to film directors like S. A. Chandrasekhar and Pavithran.[1][5] His first break in Hindi films was as an assistant director to S. A. Chandrasekhar in Jai Shiv Shankar (1990) produced by Rajesh Khanna. His final movie with S. A. Chandrasekhar was Nanbargal.

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.[6] 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 and Telugu as Bharateeyudu. 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). Arjun Sarja joined the project.


Shankar opted to remake Mudhalvan in Hindi as Nayak, thus making his Bollywood debut. Nayak, released in September 2001, was declared a "Flop" by Box Office India due to the poor marketing, its high budget and distribution price. It went on to gain a cult status despite not doing well at the box office.[7][8][9] Shankar started to work on his next film which was supposed to be a science fiction film titled Robot that was slated to have Kamal Haasan in the lead, the project was stalled since Kamal Haasan was busy with other projects. Later, the project could not move forward due to budgeting problems.[10]

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,[11] the most expensive Indian film at that time. He was paid with a record salary of 100 million for the film. After two years of filming, the film released in 2007. Ultimately it went on to become one of the highest grossing Tamil films of that time.[12]


Following Sivaji, Shankar revisited the possibilities of opinion regarding the script of Robot, 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 one of the highest grossing Tamil films of the time.[13][14] 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, Jiiva and Srikanth. The film opened in January 2012. After Nanban, it was wrongly reported that Shankar's next film would be called Therdal.[15] On 21 June 2012, Shankar announced his next film named I.[16] A romantic ting 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 positive reviews earned almost 2 billion in 19 days.[17] Then he started working on 2.0, a sequel to Enthiran which is released on 29 November 2018 and received mixed reviews. He is currently working on the pre-production of Indian 2, a sequel to Indian with Kamal Haasan.

Personal lifeEdit

S.Shankar family includes his father Shanmugam, mother Muthulakshmi and his wife Easwari. The couple have three children, a son Arjith and two daughters, Aishwarya and Aditi.[18][unreliable source?]


  Denotes films / dramas that are not yet released

As director, writer and producerEdit

Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1993 Gentleman Yes Yes
1994 Kadhalan Yes Yes
1996 Indian Yes Yes
1998 Jeans Yes Yes
1999 Mudhalvan Yes Yes Yes
2001 Nayak Yes Yes Hindi film; Remake of Mudhalvan
2003 Boys Yes Yes
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 Yes Yes
2012 Nanban Yes
2015 I Yes Yes
2018 2.0 Yes Yes
2021 Indian 2 Yes Yes

As an actorEdit

Year Film Role Notes
1986 Poovum Puyalum Uncredited role
Vasantha Raagam Printing press worker Uncredited role
1990 Seetha Japan Uncredited role
1994 Kadhalan Lyricist for "Pettai Rap"
Special appearance in the song "Kadhalikum Pennin"
1996 Indian Policeman special appearance
2002 Kadhal Virus Himself Special appearance
2007 Sivaji: The Boss Special appearance in the song "Balleilakka"
2010 Enthiran Special appearance
2012 Nanban Special appearance in the song "Asku Laska"


Year Product/brand Language Actors Notes Ref.
2003 Income Tax Department Tamil Kamal Haasan, Sneha [19][unreliable source?]


National Film AwardEdit

Year Films Category Result
2006 Veyil National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil Won

Filmfare Awards SouthEdit

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 AwardsEdit

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 AwardsEdit

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


  1. ^ a b c "Director Shankar — Director, Producer, Writer, picture, biography, profile, info and favourites". Nilacharal.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Demystifying India's highest paid film-maker - the elusive S Shankar". Mumbai Mirror. The Economic Times. 3 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Top All Time India Grossers All Formats - 2.0 Second". Archived from the original on 1 March 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  4. ^ "2.0 All India Update - Crosses 400 Crore NETT". Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b Pavithra Srinivasan (4 April 1997). "Rediff On The Net, Movies:An interview with Shankar". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Director Shankar's Interview". Behindwoods. 20 January 2005. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Nayak - Movie - Box Office India". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  8. ^ Devika Sahni (7 September 2016). "15 Years On, Nayak Remains As Relevant To India's Political Scenario As It Was Back Then". scoopwhoop.com. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Baahubali writer gets busy with Nayak sequel". The New Indian Express. 5 August 2017. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  10. ^ Rajitha (5 November 2001). "Movies:Shankar and Rajnikanth team up". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Sivaji – The Boss (Now Playing)". Indiatimes. 18 June 2007. Archived from the original on 4 January 2010. Made on a budget of about Rs. 75 Crores...
  12. ^ "Eros buys Tamil film distributor". Business Standard. 13 July 2007. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Rajinikanth's 'Robot' biggest grosser of all time". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  14. ^ "Rajinikanth adds 30% to Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network revenue". The Economic Times. 31 January 2011. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Samantha bags Shankar's next Therdal". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 16 June 2012. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  16. ^ "'I' will be produced on a mega scale". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  17. ^ Prakash, Upadhyaya (3 February 2015). "'I' Box Office Collection: Vikram's Flick Grosses ₹200 Crore Worldwide in 19 Days". IB Times. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Easwari Shankar (Director Shankar Wife) Wiki, Biography, Age, Images". 27 April 2018. Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  19. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/jeevakalaignani/status/1169221343411236864

External linksEdit