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Shaji N Karun
A graduate in cinematography from the FTII, Pune, Shaji N. Karun started working with notable directors like G. Aravindan, K. G. George and M. T. Vasudevan Nair as a cinematographer. His camera work, especially the films of Aravindan from Kanchana Seeta to Chidambaram, for some defines the look of Kerala's New Wave Cinema. Shaji made his directorial debut with the Malayalam film Piravi ("The Birth",1988), which won him the prestigious Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. While Piravi was about the grief of a father who loses his son, Shaji's second film, Swaham (1994) continued with the theme of grief. Swaham was selected to the competition section of Cannes Film Festival in 1994. Vaanaprastham ("The Final Dance", 1999) dealt with the identity crisis faced by an actor. Mohanlal played the lead role in this film. His latest film, Nishad, made in Hindi, was completed in May 2002, and premiered in Fukuoka International Film Festival held September 2002 at Japan. He has also made around a dozen short films and documentaries. Besides making films, Shaji Karun has been active as a juror at many International film festivals and an active participant in governmental and academic arenas. He was the Premiere Chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra (Moving Picture) Academy, the first academy for Film and TV in India and was also the Executive Chairman of International Film Festival of Kerala from 1998 to 2001.
Shaji Neelakantan Karun was born on new years day 1950 as the eldest son of Mr. N. Karunakaran and Mrs. Chandramati in Kollam district of the state of Kerala, India. The family moved to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the state in 1963. He did his schooling in Palkkulangara H.S., and took a Bachelor's degree from University College, Thiruvananthapuram. In 1971 he entered the Film and Television Institute of India where he took his diploma in Cinematography. He won the President's medal on passing out in 1975. Got married to Anasuya Warrier, who incidentally was his neighbour in Trivandrum for quite some time again on New years day 1975. After a brief stint in the south Indian city of Madras, he returned to Thiruvananthapuram in 1976 where he got an appoinment as film officer in the newly formed state Film Development Corporation. His first son Anil was born on 19 June 1976. His association with the legendary Malayalam film maker, G. Aravindan began at this time and it led to Shaji defining a new outlook in cinematography in Malayalam cinema. His second son Appu was born on 6 June 1981. He made his first major career shift in 1988 wher he directed his first feature, Piravi, which received much critical acclaim worldwide. While Piravi was about the grief of a father who loses his son, Karun's second film, Swaham (1994) continued with the theme of grief. Swaham was selected to the competition section of Cannes Film Festival in 1994. Vanaprastham ("The Final Dance", 1999) dealt with the identity crisis faced by an actor. Mohanlal played the lead role in this film. Nishad is his latest film, made in Hindi. He has also made around a dozen short films and documentaries.