Shankar Shanmugam (born 17 August 1963), credited as S. Shankar or his mononym Shankar, is an Indian film maker 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.

Shankar Shanmugham
Shankar at the 2.0 Trailer Launch.jpg
Shankar at the 2.0 Trailer Launch
Shankar Shanmugam

(1963-08-17) 17 August 1963 (age 56)[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 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.

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] He is presently sponsoring for the MBA qualification of his protege Archish Kalyanaraman, who he calls his most favorite assistant and the one who made the award-winning Short Film, "Eppo Varuvaro" which was specially screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2015 . Archish is said to take over the legacy of Shankar upon the latter's retirement from Cinema.



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, Jeeva 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 leaving many fans disappointed after the long wait. 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]


  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 Dubbed in Telugu as Gentleman
1994 Kadhalan Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Premikudu,
Dubbed in Hindi as Humse Hai Muqabla
1996 Indian Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Bharateeyudu,
Dubbed in Hindi as Hindustani
1998 Jeans Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu and Hindi as Jeans
1999 Mudhalvan Yes Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Oke Okkadu
2001 Nayak Yes Yes Hindi film; Remake of Mudhalvan
2003 Boys Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Boys
2004 Kaadhal Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Premisthe
2005 Anniyan Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Aparichitudu,
Dubbed in Hindi as Aparichit
2006 Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Himsinche 23va Raju Pulikesi
Veyil Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Vesavi
2007 Sivaji The boss Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu and Hindi as Sivaji
Kalloori Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Kalasala
2008 Arai Enn 305-il Kadavul Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Gadi No.305 Lo Devudu
2009 Eeram Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Vaishali
2010 Rettaisuzhi Yes
Anandhapurathu Veedu Yes
Enthiran Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu as Robo,
Dubbed in Hindi as Robot
2012 Nanban Yes Remake of the Hindi Film 3 Idiots,
Dubbed in Telugu as Snehitudu
2015 I Yes Yes Dubbed in Telugu and Hindi as I
2018 2.0 Yes Yes Dubbed in Hindi and Telugu as 2.0
2021 Indian 2 Yes Yes

As an actorEdit

Year Film Notes
1986 Poovum Puyalum Uncredited role
Vasantha Raagam Uncredited role as a printing press worker
1990 Seetha Uncredited role as Japan
1994 Kadhalan Lyricist for "Pettai Rap"
Special appearance in the song "Kadhalikum Pennin"
2002 Kadhal Virus Special appearance as himself
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 Crew Notes Ref.
2003 Income Tax Department Tamil Kamal Haasan, Sneha Jeeva (cinematography), K. V. Anand (cinematography), V. T. Vijayan (editing), Sabu Cyril (production design) [19]

Shankar is known to favor certain actors and actresses in the industry, and has often worked with them on multiple films. This list includes Cochin Haneefa four times, Kalabhavan Mani, Nedumudi venu and Rajinikanth - three times, each. Like Mani Ratnam, he is also known for collaborating with A. R. Rahman only, and in his absence, Harris Jayaraj, however he has exempted this by working with Anirudh Ravichander for Indian 2.


Submissions for the Academy AwardEdit

Year Films Category Result
1996 Indian Best Foreign Language Film Submitted
1998 Jeans

National Film AwardEdit

Year Films Category Result
2006 Veyil
(As producer)
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". 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. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Top All Time India Grossers All Formats - 2.0 Second".
  4. ^ "2.0 All India Update - Crosses 400 Crore NETT".
  5. ^ a b Pavithra Srinivasan (4 April 1997). "Rediff On The Net, Movies:An interview with Shankar". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Director Shankar's Interview". Behindwoods. 20 January 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Nayak - Movie - Box Office India". Box Office India. 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". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Baahubali writer gets busy with Nayak sequel". The New Indian Express. 5 August 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  10. ^ Rajitha (5 November 2001). "Movies:Shankar and Rajnikanth team up". 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.
  14. ^ "Rajinikanth adds 30% to Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network revenue". The Economic Times. 31 January 2011.
  15. ^ "Samantha bags Shankar's next Therdal". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  16. ^ "'I' will be produced on a mega scale". The Times of India. 26 June 2012.
  17. ^ Prakash, Upadhyaya (3 February 2015). "'I' Box Office Collection: Vikram's Flick Grosses ₹200 Crore Worldwide in 19 Days". IB Times. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Easwari Shankar (Director Shankar Wife) Wiki, Biography, Age, Images". 27 April 2018.
  19. ^

External linksEdit