Adoor Gopalakrishnan Biography

(Film Director)

Birthday: July 3, 1941 (Cancer)

Born In: Mannadi, Travancore, India

Adoor Gopalakrishnan is an Indian film director, producer and scriptwriter. Known for being one of the best and most popular filmmakers of the country, he was also one of the leading figures of the New Indian cinema movement that arose in the 1970s, and revolved around making movies based on realistic issues. Throughout his career of over fifty years, he has made twelve feature films, and several documentary films. He has used film as a medium to depict the society as well as culture of Kerala, the state where he hails from. His films have gained international audience, as most of them were premiered at Venice, Cannes as well as the Toronto International Film Festival. He can be considered as one of the most famous filmmakers from India, along with veterans such as Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray. Few of his works include ‘Swayamvaram’, ‘Vidheyan’, and ‘Pinneyum’. He has received numerous honors and awards, for his contribution to cinema. He has won the National Film Award sixteen times, as well as the Kerala State Film Awards seventeen times. He has also received Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan, the fourth and second highest civilian honors, granted by the Indian state. He has received other honors as well, such as the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Biswaratna Dr Bhupen Hazarika International Solidarity Award, as well as the Legion of Honour from the French government.

Quick Facts

Indian Celebrities Born In July

Also Known As: Moutathu Gopalakrishnan Unnithan

Age: 82 Years, 82 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Sunanda (–2015)

father: Madhavan Unnithan

mother: Mouttathu Gauri Kunjamma

children: Aswathi Dorje

Born Country: India

Directors Screenwriters

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males

More Facts

education: N. S. S. College, Pandalam, Gandhigram Rural Institute, Film and Television Institute of India

awards: 1996; 1973 · Kathapurushan; Swayamvaram - National Film Award for Best Feature Film
2005 - Dadasaheb Phalke Award
Sutherland Trophy - 1982 · Elippathayam

2006 - Padma Vibhushan
National Film Award for Best Direction - 2009; 1990; 1988; Naalu Pennungal; Mathilukal; Anantaram
Kerala State Film Award for Best Film - 2008; 1993; 1984; A Climate for Crime; Vidheyan; Mukhamukham
2003; 1994; 1990; Nizhalkkuthu
Mathilukal - National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam
2008; 1995; 1993; A Climate for Crime; Kathapurushan; Vidheyan - Kerala State Film Award for Best Director
1977 · Kodiyettam - Kerala State Film Award for Best Story
1988; 1985 · Anantaram; Mukhamukham - National Film Award for Best Screenplay
2008; 1993 · A Climate for Crime; Vidheyan - Kerala State Film Award for Best Screenplay
1984 · Cinemayude Lokam - National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema
Legion of Honour
Kerala State Film Award for Best Book on Cinema - 2004 · Cinemanubhavam
1999; 1982 · Kalamandalam Gopi; Krishnanattam - Kerala State Film Award for Best Documentary
2005 · Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair - Kerala State Film Award for Best Short Film
1981 · The Chola Heritage - National Film Award – Special Jury Award

Childhood & Early Life
Adoor Gopalakrishnan was born as Moutathu Gopalakrishnan Unnithan on 3 July 1941, in a village named Mannadi, located in Kerala. He was born into a family whose members were patrons of kathakali, a well-known classical dance form in India.
From quite an early age, he was interested in performing arts and began acting in plays. He also wrote and directed a few of them. He later pursued his higher studies at Gandhigram Rural Institute near Dindigul and passed out in 1961 with a degree in economics, public administration and political science.
For some time, he worked as a Government officer near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. Eventually, in 1962, he quit his job and decided to enter the world of filmmaking. He studied screenwriting and direction at the Pune Film Institute.
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Adoor Gopalakrishnan got a scholarship from the Government of India, and he eventually completed his course from the institute. After the completion of his course, he founded Chithralekha Film Society and Chalachithra Sahakarana Sangham, which was the first film society of Kerala. They produced, distributed and exhibited films in the cooperative sector.
In 1965, he released his first short film titled `A Great Day`. He continued to release several documentaries as well such as ‘Danger at Your Door-step’, in 1968, ‘Towards National STD’, in 1969, and ‘A Mission of Love’, in 1969.
His first feature film was the Malayalam language drama film ‘Swayamvaram’. It received critical acclaim, and received several awards, including four awards at the 20th National Film Awards. The film was about a man who struggles to maintain his relationship with his wife, at the same time, battling poverty. The movie shows the complexities of life in an urban milieu.
In 1977, he released his second feature film `Kodiyettam`, which also received two National Awards. The film revolved around a man who tries to move from a meaningless physical existence towards a more fulfilling as well as an emotional one.
His next feature film `Elippathayam`, was released in 1981. The film revolved around a protagonist who is trapped within himself and unable to understand what`s going on around him. The film is regarded as one of the best works in Indian cinema. The film won the British Film Institute Award, the Kerala State Film Award, the London Film Festival Award, and two National Film Awards.
Over the years, he continued to make several documentaries and feature films, and they continued to gain appreciation and awards. Some of his other works include `Anantaram’ (1987), ‘Mathilukal’ (1990), ‘Kathapurushan’ (1995), ‘Koodiyattam’ (2001), ‘Dance of the Enchantress’ (2007), ‘Naalu Pennungal’ (2007), and ‘Oru Pennum Randaanum’ (2008).
His latest film was released in 2016. It was titled ‘Pinneyum’, a crime drama film, which was inspired by a true story. Other than his work as a reputed filmmaker, he has also held several respected posts. He was a member of the national film award committee in 1974. He was a member jury in several film festivals as well. He had also served as the director of the Pune Film and Television Institute.
Major Works
Adoor Gopalakrishnan has directed, wrote and produced several films throughout his long career. One of his best-known films is `Elippathayam`, released in 1981. Considered one of the finest Indian films ever made, the film features actors such as Karamana Janardanan Nair, Sharada, and Rajam K Nair. The film revolved around a man, who feels like a rat in a trap, and is unable to understand the changes that are taking place around him.
Another of Gopalakrishnan`s well-known films is `Vidheyan`, a 1993 drama film. The film explores the master-slave dialect in a setting in South Karnataka. The film won two National Film Awards as well as six Kerala State Film Awards. It starred actors such as Mammootty and MR Gopakumar, who played the lead roles, with well-known actors such as Tanvi Azmi and Sabitha Anand.
Family & Personal Life
Adoor Gopalakrishnan was married to a woman named Sunanda. She passed away in 2015. He has a daughter named Aswathi Dorje.

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