P. Bharathiraja

P. Bharathiraja
Born Chinnasaamy Periyamayathevar[1]
(1941-07-17) 17 July 1941[1]
Alli Nagaram, Theni, Madras Presidency, India
Occupation film director, film producer,actor
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Chandraleela
Children Manoj K bharathi, Janani Raaja Kumar
  • Periyamayathevar
  • Meenakshiyammal


Awards Padma Shri award for his contribution to Cinema in 2004

Periyamayathevar Bharathiraja (born 17 July 1941) is an Indian filmmaker who works mainly in the Tamil film industry. He made his debut in 16 Vayathinile (1977) and is known for realistic and sensitive portrayal of village-life in his films. As of 2015, he has won six National Film Awards, two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and is also a recipient of other awards such as Filmfare Awards South, Cinema Express Awards, and Nandi Awards.

Film career

Bharathiraja started his film career as an assistant to Kannada's greatest film maker ever Puttanna Kanagal.[3] Later, he assisted P. Pullaiya, Krishnan Nair,[4] Avinasi Mani, and A. Jaganathan. His first film 16 Vayathinile for which he wrote the script broke the then existing convention to create a new genre of village cinema. The movie is now regarded as a game-changer and a mile-stone in the modern history of Tamil Cinema. About the movie, said Bharathiraja in his own words, "This movie was meant to be a Black & White art film produced with the help of National Film Development Corporation", but turned out to be a commercially successful color film and a starting point for several important careers.[5]

His next film Kizhake Pogum Rail produced similar results and eventually brought in criticisms that Bharathiraja was capable of catering only to village audiences. This led him to make Sigappu Rojakkal, about a psychopathic woman hater that was totally Westernized in terms of both conception and production.[6] But contrary to what several observers expected, this film met with box office success and everyone agreed that Bharathiraja was here to stay.

Bharathiraja confirmed his versatility and refusal to be tied down to one particular genre with an experimental film Nizhalgal and an action thriller Tik Tik Tik. But, undoubtedly rural themes proved to be his forte as his biggest hits in the 1980s Alaigal Oivathillai, Mann Vasanai and Muthal Mariyathai were strong love stories in a village backdrop. Muthal Mariyathai starred veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan in the lead, playing a middle-aged village head. Radha is a poor young woman who moves into his village for a living. The love that bonds these two humans separated not just by age but also by caste and class, is told by Bharathiraja with poetic touches.[7]

Vedham Pudhithu dealt with the caste issue in a stronger manner.[8] The film's narrative was seamless and starred Sathyaraj as Balu Thevar. It contains some of Bharathiraja's trademark touches as well as several ground-breaking scenes. However, it does follow the anti-Brahmin trend common in Tamil films – in this respect it departed from his earlier success, Alaigal Oiyvadhillai, where the caste and religion factor was given a more balanced treatment. Bharathiraja has successfully managed to modernise his film making techniques for the 1990s. The commercial success of Kizhakku Cheemaiyile and the awards Karuththamma garnered stand as testimony for his ability to thrill the younger generation as well. Bharathiraja was on the same stage in 1996 to receive another National Award for Anthimanthaarai.

In late 1996, Bharathiraja was signed on to direct two films, with the Sarathkumar-starrer Vaakkapatta Bhoomi announced in October. The following month, he began work on a film titled Siragugal Murivadhillai with Napolean, Heera Rajgopal and Prakash Raj in the leading roles. Both films were later shelved.[9]

He has plans of making short films with varying themes to attract the international audience and has currently completed his latest venture Kadal Pookal and picked up a national award for the best screenplay writer for the same film. The well-known Tamil film director Bhagyaraj was one of his assistant directors. He has also directed movies in Telugu, Kannada and Hindi.

In 2016, P Bharathiraja received a Distinguished Director honor from the Rocheston Accreditation Institute, New York.[10]

Personal life

Bharathiraja was born as Chinnasamy to Periyamayakallar and Karuthammal. He is married to Chandra Leelavathi and has two children Manoj Bharathiraja and Janani. Manoj is an actor who was introduced in Tajmahal, he is married to actress Nandana.[11][12] Janani is married to Malaysian Rajkumar Thambiraja.[11] Bharathiraja's brother-in-law Manojkumar has directed films like Mannukkul Vairam, Vandicholai Chinraasu, Vaanavil and Guru Paarvai.[13] His brother Jayaraj has made his acting debut with Kaththukkutti.[14] His relative Stalin is a television actor who acted in serials like Saravanan Meenatchi and 7C.[15]


Civilian honours

National Film Awards

Filmfare Awards South

Tamil Nadu State Film Awards

Nandi Awards

Vijay Awards

Other awards



  1. K. Bhagyaraj
  2. Manivannan
  3. Manobala
  4. Chitra Lakshmanan
  5. Manojkumar
  6. Ponvannan
  7. Seeman
  8. Leena Manimekalai
  9. N.V.Nirmal Kumar
  10. K.Dhandapani



Year Title Language Credited as Role Notes
Director Writer Actor
1977 16 Vayathinile Tamil Green tick Green tick Remade in Telugu as Padaharella Vayasu
Remade in Hindi as Solva Sawan
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
1978 Kizhake Pogum Rail Tamil Green tick Remade in Telugu as Toorpu Velle Railu
1978 Sigappu Rojakkal Tamil Green tick Green tick Remade in Hindi as Red Rose
Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director
1979 Solva Sawan Hindi Green tick Green tick
1979 Puthiya Vaarpugal Tamil Green tick Remade in Telugu as Kotha Jeevithalu
1979 Niram Maaratha Pookkal Tamil Green tick
1980 Nizhalgal Tamil Green tick
1980 Kotha Jeevithalu Telugu Green tick Green tick
1980 Red Rose Hindi Green tick Green tick
1980 Kallukkul Eeram Tamil Green tick
1981 Alaigal Oivathillai Tamil Green tick Remade in Telugu as Seethakoka Chiluka
Remade in Hindi as Lovers
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
1981 Tik Tik Tik Tamil Green tick Green tick Remade in Hindi as Karishma
1981 Seethakoka Chiluka Telugu Green tick National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1982 Kaadhal Oviyam Tamil Green tick
1982 Valibamey Vaa Vaa Tamil Green tick
1983 Man Vasanai Tamil Green tick Remade in Telugu as Mangammagari Manavadu
1983 Lovers Hindi Green tick
1983 Dhavani Kanavugal Tamil Green tick Guest appearance
1984 Pudhumai Penn Tamil Green tick
1985 Oru Kaidhiyin Diary Tamil Green tick Remade in Hindi as Aakhree Raasta
1985 Yuvadharam Pilicindi Telugu Green tick
1985 Mudhal Mariyathai Tamil Green tick National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1985 Ee Tharam Illalu Telugu Green tick
1986 Saveray Wali Gaadi Hindi Green tick
1986 Kadalora Kavithaigal Tamil Green tick Remade in Telugu as Aradhana
1988 Jamadagni Telugu Green tick
1987 Vedham Pudhithu Tamil Green tick National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues
1987 Aradhana Telugu Green tick
1988 Kodi Parakuthu Tamil Green tick
1990 En Uyir Thozhan Tamil Green tick Green tick
1991 Pudhu Nellu Pudhu Naathu Tamil Green tick
1991 Idhayam Tamil Green tick Guest appearance
1991 Thanthu Vitten Ennai Tamil Green tick Guest appearance
1992 Nadodi Thendral Tamil Green tick
1993 Captain Magal Tamil Green tick
1993 Kizhakku Cheemayile Tamil Green tick Remade in Telugu as Palnati Pourusham
1994 Karuthamma Tamil Green tick National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare
1995 Pasum Ponn Tamil Green tick
1996 Tamizh Selvan Tamil Green tick
1996 Anthimanthaarai Tamil Green tick National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1999 Taj Mahal Tamil Green tick
2001 Kadal Pookkal Tamil Green tick Green tick National Film Award for Best Screenplay
2003 Eera Nilam Tamil Green tick
2004 Kangalal Kaidhu Sei Tamil Green tick
2004 Aayutha Ezhuthu Tamil Green tick Selvanayagam
2008 Bommalattam Tamil Green tick Green tick
2010 Rettaisuzhi Tamil Green tick Singaravelan
2013 Annakodi Tamil Green tick Green tick
2013 Pandianadu Tamil Green tick Kalyanasundaram Vijay Award for Best Supporting Actor
2014 Ninaithathu Yaaro Tamil Green tick Himself Guest appearance
2016 Padai Veeran Tamil Green tick Filming
2016 Kurangu Bommai Tamil Green tick Filming
2016 Om Tamil Green tick Filming


Dubbing artist



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