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Tirru at Vanamagan Audio Launch.jpg
Tirru at Vanamagan audio launch
S. Thirunavukarasu

(1966-06-02) 2 June 1966 (age 57)
Salem, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Cinematographer
  • screenwriter
Years active1994–present
Notable work Hey Ram (2000)
Kanchivaram (2008)
24 (2016)
Jigarthanda DoubleX (2023)
Awards National Film Awards (2016)

S. Thirunavukarasu (born 21 July 1966), better known mononymously as Tirru, is an Indian cinematographer and screenwriter who has worked in multiple languages across India. Born in Mullukuruchi village, Tirru became interested in photography when he was in college.


He gained recognition through collaborations with Kamal Haasan, contributing pioneering techniques in Indian cinema. His cinematography on 24 (2016), won the National Film Award for Best Cinematography.

Personal life

Tirru was born on 21 July 1966 in Mullukuruchi village, Namakkal. He became interested in photography while studying science in college. He assisted by his cousin, a dentist by profession, in the latter's passion for nature photography. [1]

Film career

He co-wrote the screenplay of the Malayalam film Mission 90 Days with director Major Ravi. [2] He is also known for television commercials. [1] [2]

Debut as cinematographer (1993)

Tirru learnt the craft of cinematography by assisting cinematographer P. C. Sreeram for over four years. [3] He gained recognition during the filming of Thevar Magan (1992), drawing the attention of Kamal Haasan. Consequently, Tirru was enlisted to be the cinematographer of director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao's Magalir Mattum (1994), a project backed by Kamal Haasan. Srinivasa Rao wasn't used to working with newcomers and had doubts at first but Tirru convinced him with his technical skills in the opening shots. Kamal Haasan's faith in Tirru played a big role in this success. [4] During the filming of KT Kunjumon's Tamil movie Sakthi in 1997, the shoot was set in Pollachi. In one particular scene featuring charging wild elephants, Tirru and his assistant were on a 45-foot-high crane to shoot a scene. Unfortunately, the situation took a dangerous turn as still photographer Rajesh recounts, "Somehow, the mahouts lost control of the elephants, and they came charging towards the crane. We knew that if they hit the crane, we would fall to our deaths." to Cinema Express. [5]

Collaboration with Kamal Haasan (1993–2001)

Early in his career, Tirru and Kamal Haasan has collaborated on four films, Magalir Mattum (1994), Kaathala Kaathala (1998), Hey Ram (2000) and Aalavandhan (2001). [4] Aalavandhan pioneered the use of a motion control rig in India for capturing picture movement and Tirru was the first cinematographer to introduce it. Aalavandhan was also the first film to use animation sequences in the Indian film industry. [6] [7]

Post national award (2018–present)

In 2018, Karthik Subbaraj reached out to Tirru for the silent film Mercury as he wanted an experienced cinematographer capable of conveying a narrative without relying on dialogue. They worked on the pre-production planning for three months to address the challenges posed by the film's silent nature and unconventional genre. [8] [9]

In 2019, Tirru and Karthik Subbaraj collaborated again on the action-drama film Petta starring Rajinikanth. [10] [11] This was Tirru's first collaboration with Rajinikanth and it was a long-held dream of his as he had missed an opportunity previously to be the cinematographer of Enthiran (2010) directed by Shankar. [12]

Tirru debuted in Kannada cinema with the action thriller Twenty One Hours (2022) directed by debutant Jaishankar Pandit. Jai Sankar has worked with Tirru on multiple television advertisements. [13]


1994 Magalir Mattum TamilDebut as cinematographer
1997 Sakthi Tamil
1998 Kaathala Kaathala Tamil
Manjeeradhwani MalayalamDebut in Malayalam
2000 Hey Ram Tamil
Debut in Hindi
Champion Hindi
2001 Little John Tamil
2002 23rd March 1931: Shaheed Hindi
2003 Lesa Lesa Tamil
Hungama Hindi
Punarjani Malayalam
Mullavalliyum Thenmavum Malayalam
2005 Garam Masala Hindi
Kyon Ki Hindi
2006 Chup Chup Ke Hindi
Keerthi Chakra Malayalam
2007 Kireedam TamilAlso featured segments shot by Nirav Shah
Mission 90 Days MalayalamAlso writer [2]
Bhool Bhulaiyaa Hindi
2008 Kanchivaram Tamil1st Filmfare Award for Best Cinematography
2009 Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Hindi
2010 Aakrosh Hindi
2012 Tezz Hindi
2013 Krrish 3 Hindi
Geethaanjali Malayalam
2016 24 TamilNational Film Award for Best Cinematography [14] [15]
Janatha Garage TeluguDebut in Telugu
2017 Vanamagan Tamil
2018 Mercury Tamil1st of 3 collaborations with Karthik Subbaraj
Bharat Ane Nenu TeluguAlso features segments shot by Ravi K. Chandran
Fanney Khan Hindi
2019 Petta Tamil
2021 Eeswaran Tamil
Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea Malayalam
2022 Acharya Telugu [16]
Twenty One Hours Kannada
2023 Jigarthanda DoubleX Tamil [17]
2024 Game Changer TeluguFilming


Awards and nominations received by Tirru
7th Annual Screen Awards 2000Best Cinematography Hey Ram Nominated [18]
Kerala Film Critics Association Awards 2003 Best Cinematography Mullavalliyum Thenmavum Won [19]
V. Shantharam Award2008Best Cinematography Kanchivaram Won
Filmfare Awards 2008 Best Cinematography Kanchivaram Won [20]
Filmfare Awards 2016 Best Cinematography 24 Won [21]
National Film Awards 2016 Best Cinematography Won [14]

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