Vishnuvardhan (director)

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Born Vishnuvardhan Kulasekaran
Chennai, Tamil Nadu India
Other names Vishnu
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, actor, producer
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Anu Vardhan
Relatives Krishna Kulasekaran (Brother)

Vishnuvardhan Kulasekaran, often credited simply as Vishnuvardhan, is an Indian film director. A one-time associate of Santosh Sivan, he made his directorial debut in 2003 with Kurumbu, which did not fare well at the box office. However, his subsequent films, Arinthum Ariyamalum (2005), Pattiyal (2006), Billa (2007) and Arrambam (2013) went on to become highly successful ventures, turning him into a household name in Tamil Nadu.

Early life

Vishnuvardhan was born and raised in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.[1] His father is Kulasekaran, a businessman, who later became a producer of Tamil films. He has a younger brother Krishna Kulasekaran who is an actor in the Tamil film industry.[2] Vishnuvardhan went to St. Bede's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Chennai and studied visual communication at the Loyola College, Chennai.[3][4]

Vishnuvardhan and his brother used to participate in extra-curricular activities like dance and drama in school. When director Mani Ratnam was looking for children to cast in his film Anjali, his school suggested his name and he shot for a dance sequence in the film with his brother and other children.[4] He later appeared in Sathriyan (as the young Vijayakanth)[3] and Iruvar by Mani Ratnam again.[5] While in college, Santosh Sivan, cinematographer of Mani Ratnam's films, called Vishnuvardhan to act in his directorial The Terrorist. Vishnuvardhan said "I was influenced and inspired by the works of Mani Ratnam and Santosh Sivan. Watching them create magic on screen fascinated me and I wanted to learn filmmaking".[6] While working for The Terrorist, he expressed his desire to Sivan, that he would like to assist him,[4] and Sivan accepted him as an apprentice and later as an associate.[6] He worked for seven years as an assistant director to Sivan in Mumbai[1] besides playing roles in his films Fiza, Malli and Asoka.


After Vishnuvardhan returned from Mumbai, Gemini Color Labs that had produced The Terrorist offered him to remake the Telugu comedy film Allari in Tamil. Although he did not want his first film to be a remake, he accepted since he felt he shouldn't "ruin the chance".[7] The film, titled Kurumbu, featuring Allari Naresh, who played the same role in the original,[3] alongside Nikita Thukral and Diya, did not do well at the box office. His next film was Arinthum Ariyamalum, which was the first script he had written and was supposed to mark his directorial debut.[3][5] He said that no big hero wanted to star in it and nobody wanted to produce the film. After he had signed the principal cast, he decided to start his own production studio SJ Films with Malaysian radio jockey, Punnagai Poo Geetha,[8] and produce the film on his own.[7] Starring Prakash Raj, alongside then newcomers Arya, Navdeep and Samiksha, the film was better received than his first film, critically as well as commercially. Sify called it "a taut and fairly engrossing entertainer"[9] and the film was termed a "super hit" having collected twice its cost at the box office.[10]

Geetha and Vishnu then collaborated once more in the critically acclaimed Pattiyal which also proved to be successful. The film, which starred Arya, Bharath, Pooja and Padmapriya, was recognised for its outstanding music by Yuvan Shankar Raja. Vishnu was praised for handling a serious subject while retaining the entertainment factor in the film. Sify stated that Vishnuvardhan "rewrote the rules of Tamil commercial cinema",[11] and went on to compare him with director Mani Ratnam.[12] In an interview, Vishnu stated that he had interacted with real gangsters and studied their lifestyle.[13] Vishnuvardhan's next film Billa, a remake of the yesteryear classic, starring Ajith Kumar, Nayanthara and Namitha, was an all-time blockbuster. His Sarvam starring Arya and Trisha which received mixed reviews did averagely at the box office whereas his next debut film in Telugu, Panjaa, did not do well at the box-office. Vishnuvardhan's next directorial, Arrambam starring Ajith Kumar, Nayanthara and Arya was a huge success.

Personal life

Vishnuvardhan is married to costume designer Anu Vardhann, a granddaughter of Tamil actor and singer N. S. Krishnan.[14] Anu was a classmate of Vishnuvardhan in college and also worked as an assistant to Santosh Sivan.[15] Vishnuvardhan stated that they got married "just after college" when he had joined the industry as an assistant director.[16] Anu has worked as the costume designer in all of Vishnuvardhan's films.


As director and writer

Year Film Credited as Language Notes
Director Producer
2003 Kurumbu Green tickY Red XN Tamil Based on Telugu film Allari
2005 Arinthum Ariyamalum Green tickY Red XN Tamil
2006 Pattiyal Green tickY Red XN Tamil Based on Thai film Bangkok Dangerous
2007 Billa Green tickY Red XN Tamil Remake of Billa (1980 film)
Sold 1 crore tickets worldwide
2009 Sarvam Green tickY Red XN Tamil Based on 21 Grams
2011 Panjaa Green tickY Red XN Telugu
2013 Arrambam Green tickY Red XN Tamil
2015 Yatchan Green tickY Green tickY Tamil Also produced with UTV Motion Pictures
2019 Captain Vikram Batra Biopic Green tickY Red XN

As actor

Year Film Role Language
1990 Anjali A kid in the colony Tamil
1990 Sathriyan young Panneer Selvam Tamil
1997 Iruvar Tamil
1998 The Terrorist Thyagu Tamil
2015 Isai himself Tamil
2015 Yatchan himself Tamil


  1. ^ a b "Vishnuvardhan - Director Vishnuvardhan - Pawan Kalyan - Billa - Santosh Sivan - Interviews -".
  2. ^ sudhish kamath. "Just arrived". The Hindu.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Hindu : Entertainment Chennai / Interview : Success alone succeeds".
  4. ^ a b c " Pattiyal: Toast of the town".
  5. ^ a b "Tamil Movie Interview : Director Vishnuvardhan".
  6. ^ a b "Indian Entertainment News, Movie News, Movie Features - Bollywood - Tamil - Telugu - Malayalam - Kannada Movies".
  7. ^ a b " Pattiyal: Toast of the town".
  8. ^ "The Hindu : Entertainment Chennai / Cinema : Jithan's hero".
  9. ^ "Review : Arindhum Ariyamalum". Sify.
  10. ^ "The Hindu : Entertainment Chennai : Tamil cinema's new high".
  11. ^ "Chasing a mirage!". Sify.
  12. ^ "Is Vishnu the new Mani Ratnam?". Sify.
  13. ^ ""Pattiyal," a tale of two friends". The Hindu.
  14. ^ "The Hindu : Weaves of fortune".
  15. ^ y. sunita chowdhary. "Customising fashion". The Hindu.
  16. ^ "Kollywood men pay tribute to women". The Times of India.
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