Shaji N Karun (Shaji Neelakantan Karun), well known Malayalam film maker has been appointed by the Kerala Government as the new Chairman of the Kerala Film Development Corporation after the death of renowned film director, Lenin Rajendran.
Renowned Malayalam film maker, Shaji N Karun has been appointed as the Chairman of the Kerala Film Development Corporation by the Government of Kerala to fill the position that fell vacant after the demise of Malayalam film director, Lenin Rajendran, who held the post. Karun foray into the Malayalam, after passing out of the Pune Film Institute with a medal pursuing Diploma in Cinematography, was with renowned film maker, G Arvandan as Assistant Director. Subsequently, he worked with eminent people such as MT Vasudevan Nair and KG Gorge. Shaji N Karun has won several accolades as best cinematographer, both state as well as national awards.
At the national level, Shaji N Karun’s movie, Piravi, released in 1988, fetched a slew of awards that catapulted his image as one of the best film makers in the country. Piravi, his debut film, also fetched him Caméra d’Or – Mention d’honneur at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. Karun was the premier Chairman of Kerala Chalachithra Academy and also the Chairman of the International Film Festival of Kerala from 1998-2001. The French Government has honoured Shaji N Karun the Order of Arts and Letters Award in 2011 for his contribution in art and literature. What is more, Karun is also the recepient of Padmashree Award from Government of India. His award winning cinemas other than Piravi is Swaham in 1994, Vanaprastham in 1999 and Kutti Srank in 2009. For Piravi, Shaji N Karun bagged the National Award for Best Director, that too on his debut film. Besides that, he has also bagged two Kerala State Film Award, again for Best Direction for his movies, Swaham and Vanaprastham.
Born on January 1, 1952 as the eldest son of Neelakantan Karunakaran and Chandramati in Kollam district, the entire family relocated to the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram in 1963. Therefore, Shaji N Karun pursued his school education from Palkulangara High School and his college education from University College. After his graduation, the young Shaji N Karun joined the Film and Television Institute of India, located in Pune for the Diploma in Cinematography course. And in the Institute, his diploma movie, Genesis, directed by Rahul Dasgupta in 1974 fetched him several accolades and thus he began his film career with a splash. In 1974, Shaji N Karun passed out of the Institute with a Gold Medal. He then had a short stint with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Ahmedabad, followed by various stints including Doordharshan Mumbai and Madras Film Industry on contract assignments. These jobs happend till 1975, where the formation Kerala State Film Development Corporation were to happen.
Shaji N Karun was the man in charge on the formation of KSFDC, along with the founder chairman, PRS Pillai and the then Managing Director, G Vivekanandan. The trio’s primary task was to initiate a slew of things including planning and designing the future visions of the Corporation and bring back the Malayalam Film Industry from Madras, where it was rooted. Also, in 1998, Shaji N Karun set up the first Film Academy in India, named as Kerala State Chalachithra Academy, under the ages of Government of Kerala, under the leadership of the then Cultural Minister, TK Ramakrishnan. Shaji N Karun presided the Academy. In the same year, Shaji N Karun kick-started the International Film Festival (IFFK), which was later recognised as international festival by FIAP. Three years in a row, his movies such as Piravi, Swaham and Vanaprastham took part at the Cannes Festival official sections, which is an incredible achievement for any movie makers globally.
About his family, Shaji N Karun is married to Anasuya Warrier and the couple have two children, Anil Shaji and Appu Shaji. After his marriage on January 1, 1975, Shaji had a brief stint in the then Madras (Now Chennai) and he relocated to Thiruvananthapuram in 1976, where he was appointed as Film Officer in the newly set up KSFDC. It was during this time, Shaji N Karun’s association with G Aravindan began. Although, he was assisting Aravindan, Shaji N Karun was also handling camera for a slew of film makers including KG George and MT Vasudevan Nair. He has also won several national and international accolades for his immense contribution to the development of film industry. The Indian News wishes Shaji N Karun well in his new role.