Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan (born 8 April 1977) is an Indian film director[1] and poet.[2]

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan.jpg
Born (1977-04-08) 8 April 1977 (age 42)
Years active2001 – present
Parent(s)Sasidharan, Sarojam

Personal lifeEdit

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan was born in Perumkadavila village, Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala on 8 April 1977.[3] He graduated in Zoology from VTM NSS College Dhanuvachapuram,Trivandrum and law, then started his job as a lawyer.[4] He was associated with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organization associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and was the unit secretary of the ABVP during his days at the Law College. He later left ABVP over political differences, and became a critic of the BJP-controlled Central government.[5] In 2001, he formed a film society, Kazhcha Chalachithra Vedi[6] with his colleagues, for making independent movies through crowd funding.[7] He has directed three short films and one feature film through crowd funding. He was awarded as the Best Director[8] in the Kerala State Film Awards 2014. He got internationally reputed Tiger Award in the International Film Festival Rotterdam for his film Sexy Durga.

Prakash Raj with sanalkumar sasidharan at KLF 18

Film careerEdit

His film career started in 2000 as an Art Assistant in the malayalam film Mankolangal.[9] After that he made his first short movie Wonder world in 2001. The cinematography was by Sunny Joseph and editing by Beena Paul. The short fiction was produced by Kazhcha Chalachithra Vedi by way of crowd funding. There was a long gap after his first short movie. In 2008 he directed Parole produced by a group of friends from Malayalam blog community. His third short film Frog,[10] won a Kerala State Television Award for best short film in 2008. In 2014 Kazhcha Chalachithra Vedi produced his first feature-length movie Oraalppokkam for which he had been awarded the Best Director. The film has got fipresci and Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema awards for the best Malayalam film in the International Film Festival of Kerala 2014. He has also bagged the Kerala State Film Award for Best Director in 2014. His second movie Ozhivudivasathe Kali (An Off-Day Game), which was completed in 2015 has been officially selected to International Film Festival of Kerala and Mumbai Film Festival. It has also bagged the Kerala State Film Awards for best film in 2015. The film was in the Film Basar Recommends in the Film Basar in Goa.[11]

International recognitionEdit

His 2017 film Sexy Durga, later re-named as S Durga following a controversy regarding the title and a ban by Central Board of Film Certification in India, has received Hivos Tiger Award in International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017.[12] Sexy Durga is the first ever Indian film to bag the coveted prize.[13] The film, cinematographed by Prathap Joseph also has bagged eight more international awards including the Award for Professional Achievement in the Tarkovsky Film Festival in Russia for the excellence in cinematography,[14], the Golden Apricot Award in the International Feature Competition category in Yerevan International Film Festival 2017,[15] Best International Feature Narrative in Guanajuato International Film Festival, Mexico Expresión en Corto International Film Festival 2017,[16] Best International Feature award Reflet d’Or in the Geneva International Film Festival,[17], The Young Jury award and a Special mention from the official Jury in the 53rd Pesaro Film Festival in Italy,[18] Jury Mention for Direction and Original Music track in Cinema Jove - International Film Festival of Valencia, Spain, Special Jury mention in the 19th Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). The work in progress project of the film had also received NFDC FILM BAZAAR – DI Award 2016.[19] The film had to face huge controversy with regard to its title and made headlines following the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India) has denied the permission to screen the film in the International Film Festival of India after the Jury selection.[20]

His next feature after Sexy Durga, Unmadiyude Maranam produced in 2018 has not been censored and released. The film also has not been screened in any major film festivals.[21]

His next feature film Chola has been premiered in the 76th Venice International Film Festival in the Orizzonti Competition section.[22] The main actors, Nimisha Sajayan has received the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress and actor Joju George has won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Character Actor and Kerala State Film Award – Special Mention for Direction and Sound design to Sanal Kumar Sasidharan.[23]

His latest feature film project Ah'r (Kayattam), announced in 2019 has been noted for the presence of acclaimed Malayalam actress Manju Warrier as protagonist and a co-producer.[24]


Year Title Notes
2001 Athisayalokam Short film
Crowd funded by Kazhcha Chalachithra Vedi[25]
2008 Parole Short film
Blog cinema from Malayalam blogosphere [26]
2012 Frog Short film
Awarded as the best short film in the Kerala State Television Awards 2012 [27][28]
2014 Oraalppokkam First feature film
First online crowd funded feature film in Malayalam[29][30]
2015 Ozhivudivasathe Kali Feature film
2015 Kerala State Film Award for Best Film
2017 Sexy Durga Feature film
2017 Hivos Tiger Award International Film Festival Rotterdam[32]
2018 Unmadiyude Maranam Feature film
2019 Chola Feature film



  1. ^ "KSFDC Body Blow to Noted Filmmaker Sanal Kumary". The New Indian Express. 8 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Neenaal Vazhatte Maunam". Epathram. 27 November 2009.
  3. ^ "About Me".
  4. ^ "I was surprised that Oraalppokkam captured the hearts of the majority". 4 January 2015.
  5. ^ Rajeev Ramachandran (19 November 2017). "Unprecedented, Unconstitutional Action by I&B Ministry to Remove Two Films From IFFI List: 'S Durga' Director". The Wire. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  6. ^ "In-A-Dialogue with Sanal Kumar Sasidharan". filmmakersfans. 14 October 2015.
  7. ^ "One Man's Soul-Searching Journey". The New Indian Express.
  8. ^ "45th KERALA STATE FILM AWARDS-2014" (PDF). Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.
  9. ^ "A Taxing Journey to Glory". The New Indian Express. 13 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Frog". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Film Bazaar Recommends: Selection" (PDF). Filmbazaarindia.
  12. ^ "Sexy Durga wins at International Film Festival of Rotterdam". 26 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Sexy Durga wins at International Film Festival of Rotterdam". The Hindu. 10 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's Sexy Durga Continues To Win Big Awards".
  16. ^ "Guanajuato 2017 Dispatch: Film Awards Go To SEXY DURGA, LOS AÑOS AZULES, And More".
  17. ^ "Sanal Sasidharan's Sexy Durga takes home the Reflet d'Or from Geneva".
  19. ^ "Facebook Launches Film Bazaar Awards". Variety. 25 November 2016.
  20. ^ "IFFI Jury Head Sujoy Ghosh Resigns After S Durga, Nude Dropped from Festival". News18. 14 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Malayalam film 'Chola' selected for Venice Film Festival". The Hindu. 25 July 2019.
  23. ^ "When awards come calling for Sanal Kumar Sasidharan". The Hindu. 1 March 2019.
  24. ^ "First look poster of Manju Warrier's 'Ahr' (kayattam) is out". Asianet. 31 August 2019.
  25. ^ "Our Projects". Kazhcha Film Forum.
  26. ^ "Parole:Blogger's Film On Children". 12 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "കേരള സംസ്ഥാന ടെലിവിഷൻ അവാർഡ്‌" (PDF). keralafilm.
  28. ^ "Matter of life and death". The Hindu. 22 November 2012.
  29. ^ "A guerrilla attempt in film financing". Business Line. 19 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Malayalam film 'Oraalpokkam' to be launched through crowd funding". The Economic Times. 13 November 2013.
  31. ^ Bhaskaran, Gautaman (23 February 2016). "Sexy Durga, a new film by Kerala director". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Sexy Durga wins tiger award".
  33. ^ "Sanal's ready with Death of Insane".
  34. ^ "Malayalam film 'Sexy Durga' wins Hivos Tiger Award". Indian Express.
  36. ^ "Guanajuato 2017 Dispatch: Film Awards Go To SEXY DURGA, LOS AÑOS AZULES, And More".
  37. ^ "La sudafricana 'The Wound' obtiene la Luna de Valencia en Cinema Jove 2017". cineytele.
  38. ^ "State Film Award 2014". Keralafilm.
  39. ^ "Winners of video film fete". The Hindu.
  40. ^ "Wins Aravindan Puraskaram". The New Indian Express.
  41. ^ "Oraalppokkam wins Mohan Raghavan award". ytalkies.

External linksEdit