Shaji Kailas

Last updated

Shaji Kailas
Shaji Kailas.jpg
Shaji in 2022
Born (1965-02-08) 8 February 1965 (age 59) [1]
Years active1989–present
(m. 1996)

Shaji Kailas (born 8 February 1965) is an Indian film director and screenwriter known for his works in Malayalam cinema. [2] Shaji got a breakthrough with the comedy film Dr. Pasupathy (1990). [3]


He is best known for his action films with mainly focusing on political thriller and crime genres such as Thalastaanam (1992), Sthalathe Pradhana Payyans (1993), Ekalavyan (1993), Mafia (1993), Commissioner (1994), The King (1995), Aaraam Thampuran (1997), Narasimham (2000), Valliettan (2000), Kaduva and Kaapa (2022). [4]

Early and personal life

Shaji was born to Shivaraman Nair who was an executive engineer in the Kerala Public Works Department and Janakiyamma on 8 February 1965. [1]

He is married to former actress Annie. They currently reside at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India and have three sons Jagan, Sharon, and Rushin. [5]


1984–1991: Early career

Shaji Kailas started his film career as assistant director under renowned writer director Balu Kiriyath in 1984. Shaji Kailas' debut as a director was in 1989 with TheNews, starring Suresh Gopi in the lead role. Scripted by Jagadish, this investigative thriller was a hit at the box office. With the film, Shaji succeeded in gaining attention of film viewers. But his second release Sunday 7 PM, came out in 1990 was a failure. Later in the same year, he directed Dr. Pasupathy , a political satire, with Innocent in a leading role. Dr. Pashupathi, written by Renji Panicker, ended up as one of the biggest grosser of the year. This film also marked the beginning of Shaji Kailas- Renji Panicker combo, which later went into making of several super hits. But, the success of Dr. Pashupathy was followed by Souhrudam , a romantic comedy starring Mukesh and Sai Kumar in the leading roles. His next film, Kilukkampetti , with Jayaram in the lead role was hit. After this in 1992 he switched to action films with the blockbuster Thalastaanam, which would go on to become his trademark genre.

1992–2000: Breakthrough

In the year 1992 Shaji Kailas got his first real career break. His association with Renji Panicker brought out Thalastaanam , with Suresh Gopi in the leading role. Revolved around student politics, Thalastaanam also marked the rebirth of Renji Panicker as a scriptwriter. This film also marked Suresh Gopi's first step to super stardom. The cinematography of the film was done by Ravi K. Chandran. This film also saw the rise of Narendra Prasad, who later became one of the most acclaimed villains in the Malayalam industry. In the same year Shaji Kailas tried out a comedy flick, Neelakurukkan, which was above average grosser. But in the beginning of 1993 Shaji Kailas landed up again with another blockbuster, Sthalathe Pradhana Payyans . In the same year, Ekalavyan completed a run of 150 days in the theatres & played a crucial role in elevating lead actor Suresh Gopi to superstardom. [2] [6] Again in the same year, the Shaji Kailas-Renji Panicker-Suresh Gopi team returned with Mafia , a gangster film completely shot in Bangalore. It was still known for its well-choreographed action sequences that pitted against an upcoming crime boss Ravishankar portrayed by Suresh Gopi against the ever-threatening Gowda brothers portrayed by Tiger Prabhakar and Babu Antony. [2]

In 1994 Commissioner , (again with Suresh Gopi in title role) broke several box office records and went on to become the highest grossing film of the year. In 1995, he collaborated with Mammootty for the first time in The King which was the highest grossing Malayalam film at the time and ran successfully for 200 days in several centers. A turning point in his career, the success of the film made him one of the most commercially successful and sought after directors in Malayalam film industry. In the next year, in 1997 Shaji Kailas again joined with Ranjith for a low-budget action film titled Asuravamsam , with Manoj K. Jayan, Siddique and Biju Menon in leading roles. This film was criticized by many for its gory violence. He also done some cinematography for action sequences of the film. Asuravamsam was also an average grosser. In the same year, he again joined with Ranjith to make Aaram Thamburan , a turning point in his film career. In this film, he joined with Mohanlal for the first time. This film was the highest-grossing Malayalam film at the time and was able to complete 250 days in theatres. Then came The Truth , in 1998, with Mammooty in the lead role. It was an investigative thriller. In 1999, he directed F. I. R , another action flick with his friend Suresh Gopi as the lead actor scripted by Dennis Joseph. F. I. R emerged one of the top grossers of the year.

2000–2012: Commercial stardom, decline and hiatus

In 2000, he directed two films. Narasimham , released in the first weeks of the year, with Mohanlal in the lead came Thandavam , though evoked one of the biggest initial pulls in the history of Malayalam cinema, Thandavam failed at the box office. He took a break for one year. It was at this time, Shaji again tried out his luck in Tamil with Jana in (2004).

In the year 2004 Shaji Kailas made a comeback in Malayalam with Natturajavu . With Mohanlal in lead role and, scripted by T. A. Shahid, Natturajavu was a commercial success Chinthamani Kolacase , a vigilante action thriller with Suresh Gopi in leading role and Baba Kalyani with Mohanlal released. Both were hits at the box office. However, his first film with Dileep, The Don , turned into a huge flop in 2006. The next film, But things again got lost in the same year itself. His first film with Dileep, The Don , turned into a huge flop. The next film Baba Kalyani, starring Mohanlal, was an average hit. But then came a series of flops. Time (2007), Alibhai (2007), Sound of Boots (2008), all bombed. Alibhai, was a big budget film with all leading stars in a row appeasing, but still bombed at box office. Even hard core Mohanlal fans couldn't digest the film. Then came Red Chilliess in 2009, it was a moderate success at box-office. In January 2010, Shaji Kailas directed Drona 2010, which received mixed reviews. Beginning of 2011 showcased his attempt to reclaim his position within Malayalam industry with the sequel of yesteryear mega hit "August 1", 15 August which garnered heavy negative reviews from critics and audiences alike and was finally declared as another flop by Shaji Kailas. His next movie was with Mammotty and Suresh Gopi named The King and the Commissioner the movie was the next part of the yesteryear films The King and Commissioner . This movie was a hit in the box office but this movie also received a good amount of positive reviews from both the critic and the audiences.

2022: Resurgence

On 16 October 2019, it was announced that Shaji Kailas will be coming back from his hiatus with Kaduva starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead. Kaduva was released on 7 July 2022. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The film grossed around ₹50 crore and became a commercial success. He again directed 3rd time with Kaapa starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead role. Kaapa received positive to mixed reviews from critics and became an average grosser. His next directorial project, Alone, starring Mohanlal in the lead role was released to mixed reviews and turned out to be a box-office-failure. [7]



Denotes films that have not yet been released
1989 The News MalayalamAlso story writer
1990Sunday 7 PMMalayalam
Dr. Pasupathy Malayalam
1991 Souhrudam Malayalam
Kilukkampetti MalayalamAlso story writer
1992 Thalasthanam Malayalam
Neelakurukkan Malayalam
1993 Sthalathe Pradhana Payyans Malayalam
Ekalavyan Malayalam
Mafia Malayalam
1994 Commissioner Malayalam
Rudraksham Malayalam
1995 The King Malayalam
1996 Mahathma Malayalam
1997 Asuravamsam Malayalam
Aaram Thamburan Malayalam
1998 The Truth Malayalam
1999 F.I.R Malayalam
2000 Narasimham Malayalam
Valliettan Malayalam
2001 Vaanchinathan Tamil
2002 Shivam Malayalam
Thandavam Malayalam
2003 Vishnu Telugu
2004 Janaa Tamil
Natturajavu Malayalam
2005 The Tiger Malayalam
2006 Chinthamani Kolacase Malayalam
The Don Malayalam
Baba Kalyani Malayalam
2007 Time Malayalam
Alibhai Malayalam
2008 Sound of Boot Malayalam
Ellam Avan Seyal TamilRemake of Chinthamani Kolacase
2009 Red Chillies Malayalam
Lalitham Hiranmayam Malayalam Anthology film
2010 Dhrona 2010 Malayalam
2012 The King and the Commissioner MalayalamCrossover spiritual sequel to The King (1995) and Commissioner (1994)
Madirasi Malayalam
2013 Ginger Malayalam
2015 En Vazhi Thani Vazhi Tamil
2017 Vaigai Express Tamil
2022 Kaduva Malayalam
Kaapa Malayalam
2023 Alone Malayalam
2024 HuntMalayalam [8]
Pink PoliceMalayalam

Other credits

1984 Onnum Mindatha Bharya Assistant director
1984 Thathamme Poocha Poocha Assistant director
1985 Naayakan Assistant director
Pattabhishekam Assistant director
1986 Geetham Assistant director
Snehamulla Simham Assistant director
1988 Padamudra Associate director
1989 News Story writerAlso director
1991 Kilukkampetti Story writerAlso director
1999 Ustaad Co-producer
2006 Baba Kalyani Also director
2012 Simhasanam Story writerAlso director
2019JananayakanJudge Reality TV show on Amrita TV
Thakkol Producer


Filmfare Awards South

Asianet Film Awards

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suresh Gopi</span> Indian actor and politician

Suresh Gopi is an Indian actor, playback singer, television presenter and politician who is currently serving as the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Tourism since June 2024. He was elected as a Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha in the 2024 General elections from Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, becoming the first BJP MP from Kerala, marking the party’s first-ever victory in a Lok Sabha election in the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joshiy</span> Indian filmmaker

Joshiy is an Indian film director and screenwriter who works predominantly in Malayalam cinema and also directed Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada-language films. Joshiy is a pioneer of action thriller films in Malayalam cinema and his films are known for its stylized imagery, color grading and film noir.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ranjith (director)</span> Indian film director, screenwriter, producer, actor

Ranjith Balakrishnan is an Indian film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor who works in Malayalam cinema. Ranjith made his directorial debut in 2001 with Ravanaprabhu, the sequel to Devaasuram. His films Thirakkatha and Indian Rupee won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam in 2008 and 2011 respectively. He is also the current chairman of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sai Kumar (Malayalam actor)</span> Indian actor

Sai Kumar, also credited as Saikumar, is an Indian actor who appears in Malayalam films. He is the son of Malayalam actor late Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair. He appears in both positive and negative roles. He notably plays the hero role in Ramji Rao Speaking, and the villain in Makkal Mahatmyam.

Renji Panicker is an Indian actor, scriptwriter, director, film producer, and journalist best known for his Malayalam films. He made his debut as a director with Bharatchandran IPS in 2005.

<i>Commissioner</i> (film) 1994 Indian film

Commissioner is a 1994 Indian Malayalam-language neo-noir action thriller film directed by Shaji Kailas, written by Ranji Panicker, and produced by M. Mani. It stars Suresh Gopi as police commissioner Bharathchandran IPS, and also features Ratheesh, Shobana, Vijayaraghavan, M. G. Soman, Rajan P. Dev, K. B. Ganesh Kumar, N. F. Varghese, Karamana Janardanan Nair, and Maniyanpilla Raju in pivotal roles. The background score was composed by Rajamani.

<i>Lelam</i> 1997 Indian film

Lelam (transl. Auction) is a 1997 Indian Malayalam-language action thriller film directed by Joshiy and written by Renji Panicker. It stars Suresh Gopi and M. G. Soman with Siddique, N. F. Varghese, Nandini, Maniyanpilla Raju, Vijayakumar, Spadikam George, and Kaviyoor Renuka in supporting roles. It was also the last film of the veteran actor M.G. Soman. The story revolves around the rivalry between two liquor business groups, the Aanakkattil family and Kadayadi family. The film was dubbed in Tamil as Yelam and into Telugu as Royal Challenge. Lelam was a blockbuster at the box-office and is also among the highest grossers of the 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aashirvad Cinemas</span> Indian film studio

Aashirvad Cinemas is an Indian film production company based in Kochi, Kerala. It was established in 2000 by Antony Perumbavoor, since then, it has produced over 30 Malayalam films, starring Mohanlal. Since 2009, the company co-operates with the distribution company Maxlab Cinemas and Entertainments co-founded by Mohanlal and Antony Perumbavoor for distributing films. It is one among the most active and leading production houses in the Malayalam film industry.

<i>Thalastaanam</i> 1992 Indian film

Thalasthanam is a 1992 Malayalam-language crime action film written by Renji Panicker and directed by Shaji Kailas. The film stars Suresh Gopi in the lead role, along with Geetha, Narendra Prasad, Monisha, M. G. Soman, K. B. Ganesh Kumar and Vijayakumar in supporting roles. The film explores the concepts of campus politics and the impact of anti social elements in students.

<i>Ekalavyan</i> (film) 1993 Indian Malayalam language film

Ekalavyan is a 1993 Indian Malayalam-language neo-noir action thriller film directed by Shaji Kailas and written by Renji Panicker. It stars Suresh Gopi un the lead role, alongside an ensemble cast of Siddique, Geetha, Narendra Prasad, Vijayaraghavan, Ganesh Kumar, Janardhanan, Madhu, Maathu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Kuthiravattam Pappu and Devan.

<i>Rudraksham</i> 1994 Indian film

Rudraksham is a 1994 Malayalam-language action drama film directed by Shaji Kailas and written by Ranjith. It stars Suresh Gopi, Annie and Devan.

<i>The King</i> (1995 film) 1995 Indian Malayalam film by Shaji Kailas

The King is a 1995 Indian Malayalam-language political thriller film written by Renji Panicker and directed by Shaji Kailas, with Mammootty in the lead role as district collector Joseph Alex IAS.

<i>Mafia</i> (1993 film) 1993 Indian film

Mafia is a 1993 Indian Malayalam-language action crime film directed by Shaji Kailas and written by Renji Panicker. It stars Suresh Gopi, Vikram, Tiger Prabhakar, Janardhanan, Vijayaraghavan and Babu Antony.

<i>The King & the Commissioner</i> 2012 Indian film

The King & the Commissioner is a 2012 Indian Malayalam-language action thriller film written by Renji Panicker and directed by Shaji Kailas, starring Mammootty and Suresh Gopi. The film is a crossover of the films The King (1995), Commissioner (1994), Ekalavyan (1993) and Bharathchandran I.P.S. (2005).

<i>Rajaputhran</i> 1996 film by Shajoon Kariyal

Rajaputhran is a 1996 Indian Malayalam-language action drama film directed by Shajoon Kariyal, written by Ranjith, and produced by Dinesh Panicker. It stars Suresh Gopi, Vikram, Vijayaraghavan, Shobana, and Murali.

<i>Kasaba</i> (2016 film) 2016 Indian Malayalam film by Nithin Renji Panicker

Kasaba is a 2016 Indian Malayalam-language action thriller film written and directed by Nithin Renji Panicker, starring Mammootty, Sampath Raj, Neha Saxena, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar and Jagadish played the important supporting roles. The first day gross was the highest for a Malayalam film. The film ended up grossing 14.37 crore (US$1.7 million)

<i>Simhasanam</i> (2012 film) 2012 Malayalam action film

Simhasanam (transl. Throne) is a 2012 Malayalam action film written and directed by Shaji Kailas starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Sai Kumar with supporting cast including Siddique and Devan. The music was composed by Ronnie Raphael.

<i>Alone</i> (2023 film) 2023 film directed by Shaji Kailas

Alone is a 2023 Indian Malayalam-language mystery thriller film directed by Shaji Kailas, written by Rajesh Jayaraman, and produced and distributed by Antony Perumbavoor through Aashirvad Cinemas. The story is set during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in India. It stars Mohanlal as the only character appearing in the film which otherwise features voice roles as supporting cast. 4Musics composed the film's background score and songs.

<i>Kaduva</i> 2022 Indian film directed by Shaji Kailas

Kaduva (transl. Tiger) is a 2022 Indian Malayalam-language action film directed by Shaji Kailas, written by Jinu V. Abraham and produced by Prithviraj Productions and Magic Frames. It stars Prithviraj Sukumaran in the titular role, alongside Vivek Oberoi, Samyuktha Menon, Arjun Ashokan, Alencier Ley Lopez, Baiju Santhosh and Kalabhavan Shajohn. Set in 1990s, Kaduva revolves around an ego war between Kaduvakunnel Kuriyachan, an influential businessman, and I.G. Joseph Chandy.

<i>Kaapa</i> 2022 Indian film directed by Shaji Kailas

Kaapa is a 2022 Indian Malayalam-language action thriller film directed by Shaji Kailas and written by G. R. Indugopan based on his novel Shankhumukhi. Produced by Fefka Writers Union, Theatre of Dreams and Saregama India Limited, it stars Prithviraj Sukumaran along with Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali and Anna Ben.


  1. 1 2 ദി കിംഗ്‌ മേക്കര്‍. (1 December 2012). Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 The Hindu Net Desk (15 October 2019). "Prithviraj to team up again with Ajith's 'Jana' director Shaji Kailas". The Hindu via
  3. "Prithviraj to team up with director Shaji Kailas, shares poster of 'Kaduva'". The Week.
  4. "Shaji Kailas is back after 6 years!". Sify . Archived from the original on 16 October 2019.
  5. Mrs Shaji Kailas speaks. The New Indian Express. 16 May 2012.
  6. Narayanan, Nirmal (25 July 2018). "Five Malayalam movies rejected by Mammootty which turned out to be blockbusters". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  7. "Mohanlal starrer 'Alone' finishes its shoot in just 18 days!". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  8. Features, C. E. (15 July 2024). "Bhavana-Shaji Kailas film Hunt gets a release date". Cinema Express. Retrieved 17 July 2024.