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K. Balachander
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K. Balachander

K. Balachander (; born July 9, 1930) is an Indian film director, screenwriter and producer. Balachander is known for his distinct film-making style. His films analyse unusual or complicated interpersonal relationships and social themes.[1][2] He has directed nearly 80 films and has worked in 100 films either as director or writer. In his career, he has mainly contributed to the Tamil film industry and is credited with having introduced hundreds of actors and technicians in Tamil Cinema including Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Prakash Raj and Vivek.[2][3][4] He also owns a production house named Kavithalaya Productions. Besides Tamil cinema, he has directed films in Telugu, Hindi and Kannada languages and occasionally worked as an actor and in television as well.

Balachander has won multiple awards at the National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards South. He was honored with the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award in 1987, and is also a recipient of the ANR National Award from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.[5][6] In 2011, Balachander was conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema for his contribution to arts.[7] He also holds an Honorary doctorate. He is popularly referred to as Iyakkunar Sikaram () in Kollywood.[3]


Early life

K. Balachander was born on 9 July 1930 to Saraswati and Dhandapani at Nannilam in the then Tanjore district (now Tiruvarur District), India. He completed his B. Sc., (Zoology) in 1949 at Annamalai University. While working in the Accountant General s Office as a Superintendent in the 1960s, he came to prominence as an amateur playwright with his dynamic plays like Major Chandrakanth, Server Sundaram, Neerkumizhi, Mezhuguvarthi, Naanal and Navagraham. The plays, which were produced and directed by him, were an instant success and enjoyed both popular and critical acclaim. His films always carried a message for the society, with his personal directorial touch.


K. Balachander is known among actors as a tough taskmaster. He was able to extract from these actors some of their finest acting performances for his films. Before his work in Indian cinema, he was a school teacher in Muthupet, Tiruvarur District, and a playwright.

M. G. Ramachandran asked him to write dialogues for the film Dheiva Thaai. His films include Tamil productions such as Apoorva Raagangal (1975), which deals with a father-son relationship and inter-generational romance that culminates in a complex quandary. Avargal (1977), which follows the life of a divorc e as she traverses relationships in reverse, from divorce, to marriage, to falling in love. Varumayin Niram Sigappu (1980), a drama that charts the travails and conflict of being unemployed in a bombastic and harsh city. 47 Natkal (1981), which traces the adversities of a newly-wed Indian woman living with an scurrilous, expatriate husband in a Parisian suburb; and Sindhu Bhairavi (1985), about the intellectual collision and subsequent romance between a lofty Carnatic musician and his ardent female critic. Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981, Hindi), about cross-cultural romance in India, for which he received two Filmfare nominations: direction and best story.[8][9]

His Telugu films include Maro Charithra and Rudraveena. He directed the story about a woman breadwinner taking care of her family in several languages: the Tamil film Aval Oru Thodar Kathai (1974), the Telugu film Anthuleni Katha (1976), and produced the Kannada film Benkiyalli Aralida Hoovu (1983).[10]

His later films include Parthale Paravasam (2001) and Poi (2006).[11] He is credited with discovering new talent in acting, direction, and other technical areas, many of whom have made a mark in their fields. Rajnikanth, a discovery of Balachandar's, and Kamal Hassan, whom he moulded into a great actor, prove this.

His serials, Kai Alavu Manasu, Rayil Sneham, Kadhal Pagadai, Premi, Jannal, Anni and others have been successful. "This medium helps to reach out to the public. That's why I am into making serials," says Balachandar. He strongly feels that the three medium of entertainment theatre, cinema, and television are bound to co-exist. One cannot destroy the other and the public will see what it wants.[12]

After nearly 40 years, and as a homage to his friend Nagesh, Balachander recently returned (and was "reborn" as he claims) to theatre through the play Pournami. Starring Renuka and Poovilangu Mohan, among others, the story is about a homemaker whose husband gets caught in Pakistan under the suspicion of being a terrorist.

Personal life

Balachander is married to Rajam. The couple has 3 children, two sons Kailasam, Prasanna and one daughter Pushpa Kandaswamy, Chief Executive Officer, Kavithalaya Productions.[13]


K. Balachander is a nine-time winner of National Film Awards. He has received Filmfare Awards South on more than 12 occasions. He was bestowed upon Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in Indian cinema in 2011. He also served as the chairman of the Jury of National Film Awards in the year 1983.[14]


Television serials

  • Rayil Sneham (Doordarshan)
  • Marmadesam (Sun TV)
  • Kasalavu Nesam (Sun TV/Raj TV)
  • Premi (Sun TV)
  • Kaasu Alavu Nesam (Sun TV)
  • Kadhal Pagadai (Sun TV)
  • Kai Alavu Manasu (Sun TV/ Raj TV)
  • Sahana (Jaya TV)
  • Shanthi Nilayam (Jaya TV)
  • Anni (Jaya TV)
  • Engirrundho Vandhaal (Jaya TV)
  • Nilavai pidippom (Raj TV)
  • Jannal-1 (Raj TV)
  • Jannal-2 (Raj TV)
  • Kadhal ondru Vangivandhean (Sun TV)
  • Comedy Colony (Jaya TV)
  • Chhoti Si Asha (Hindi) (Sony Entertainment Television)

Film artists associated with K. Balachander

K. Balachander is known for introducing new faces to the film industry. He has introduced over 100 actors in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages. Balachander also had long associations with some senior artists in the South Indian film industry like Gemini Ganesan, Sowcar Janaki, Nagesh and Muthuraman. Even though he was not the one to discover them, he played a prominent role in shaping their career. The following refers to a limited number of film personnel who were either discovered by him or enacted their first major role in a film directed by him.[15]

Name Debut film Major role Notes
Kamal Hassan Worked in 36 films
A.R.Rahman Roja was produced by Balachander
Y. G. Mahendran
Radha Ravi
Prakash Raj Mentored by K.B
Also acted in some Television serials of Balachander
Sarath Babu
S. V. Shekhar
Ramesh Aravind Introduced by K.B in 3 languages
Rahman The only actor from Malayalam to be nurtured by K.B
Jayaprada Her first starring role was in Anthuleni Katha
Saritha Worked in 22 films under Balachander, the most for any actress
Vimala Raman

Directors who worked under him


External links

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