Priyadarshan Soman Nair
Priyadarshan Soman Nair is an Indian film director, producer, and screenwriter. In a career spanning almost three decades, Priyadarshan has directed over 80 films in several Indian languages including Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Though he began his career in Malayalam cinema in 1984, Priyadarshan has been mainly active in Hindi cinema for 2001-2010. However, in 2013, he announced Rangrezz would be his last Hindi film for a while; and he is shifting focus to Malayalam Cinema.
Best known for his comedy films, Priyadrshan has also tried his hand at action and thriller films from time to time. His collaborations with Mohanlal were highly popular in Malayalam cinema during the 1980s and 1990s, with films such as Poochakkoru Mookkuthi, Mazha Peyyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu, Thalavattam, Vellanakalude Nadu, Chithram, Vandanam, Kilukkam, ;Abhimanyu, Mithunam, Thenmavin Kombath, and Kala Pani.
Priyadarshan was one of the first directors in India to introduce rich color grading, clear sound and quality dubbing through his early Malayalam films. Upon entering Bollywood, he has mostly adapted stories from popular comedy films from Malayalam cinema, some from his own work and some from others. These include Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchul, Garam Masala, Bhagam Bhag, Chup Chup Ke, Dhol, and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Actors he has worked with multiple times in Hindi cinema include Tabu, Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, and Suniel Shetty.
In 2007, his Tamil film Kanchivaram won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. The government of India honoured him by giving the Padma Shri in 2012 for his contribution towards the arts.
Born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Priyadarshan received his education at Government Model School and obtained an M.A. in Psychology from University College, Thiruvananthapuram. As the son of a college librarian, he was a voracious reader during his teenage years, and he started writing short plays and skits for Akashavani during his college days. His friends in those days included Mohanlal, M. G. Sreekumar, Suresh Kumar, Sanal Kumar, Jagadish, Maniyanpilla Raju and Ashok Kumar. It was then that Mohanlal got into movies. His friends followed him to Chennai, looking for a chance in movies. Priyadarshan, with the help of Mohanlal, got a few chances to work as assistant scriptwriter in a couple of movies and started writing scripts, with some turning into hits. Eventually, he had to come back to Kerala. In 1984, Priyadarshan, along with his close friends Suresh Kumar and Sanal Kumar, decided to produce a film. Mohanlal, who was by then a commercially viable star, was selected as the hero along with Shankar, the saleable hero. Thus in 1984, Priyadarshan made his debut as director with Poochakkoru Mookkuthi, which was a surprise hit. A slapstick comedy film shot on a low budget, it completed a successful run of 100 days in Kerala theatres.