Early Life and Education of Vetrimaaran
Vetrimaaran was born on September 4, 1975 in Cuddalore city of Tamil Nadu, to father Dr. V. Chitravel, who was a veterinary scientist and mother Megala Chitravel, a noted novelist. He later moved to Ranipet, a suburb of Vellore, where he studied till the tenth grade. He later enrolled in Loyola College, Chennai in 1994, to study English Literature and was there until 1999 when he discontinued his Master’s degree to pursue a career in films. After pursuing an elective course called "Television presentation" offered by the Loyola Department of Visual Communication in 1995, Vetrimaaran started developing interest in film making.
Career of Vetrimaaran
Vetrimaaran started out his career on television in the year 1999, working as an assistant director for ‘Kadhai Neram’ by Balu Mahendra, featuring 52 short stories in 52 episodes on Tamil satellite television channel Sun TV. In a team of 4 to 5 assistant directors, Vetrimaaran read around 50 to 60 short stories in a week, short listing a few and presenting the synopsis to Balu Mahendra who would select the required storyline. After ‘Kadhai Neram’, he went on to work with film maker Kathir in the film ‘Kadhal Virus’ for 2 years, whilst also working with Balu Mahendra for films ‘Julie Ganapathy’ and then ‘Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam’. At the time, he prepared a script for Dhanush, who has the lead hero of the films he worked on, and the Tamil star immediately accepted the offer after hearing the story. The film, titled ‘Desiya Nedunchalai 47’, was launched with producers A. M. Rathnam and Salem Chandrasekhar, who left the project after initial interest, after which Dhanush's sister Dr. Vimala Geetha agreed to produce the film, only to drop it herself as well. Dhanush's father Kasthuri Raja finally agreed to produce the film and Kirat Bhattal was signed on as the heroine. However, after two days of shoot the film was shelved and Dhanush opted to pursue other films after the surprise success of his 2006 film ‘Thiruvilayadal Arambam’. The film's collapse saw Vetrimaaran approach producer Kadiresan and narrated him the stories he had prepared. The producer did not like ‘Desiya Nedunchaalai 47’, but agreed to work on another project titled ‘Polladhavan’.
Vetrimaaran has since stated that he had "ample time" for the production works of ‘Polladhavan’ as "Dhanush had confidence in him". The team held test shoots with actresses Kajal Aggarwal and Poonam Bajwa for the film and released the stills to the media, but Vetrimaaran was still unsatisfied and had finished two schedules before finalising on Divya Spandana. The film eventually opened in November 2007 to rave reviews. It also emerged successful commercially usurping collections of the Vijay-starrer ‘Azhagiya Tamil Magan’ and the Suriya-starrer ‘Vel’. It went on to win 4 Vijay Awards, including Best Director for Vetrimaaran.
The director’s second film released in 2011, titled ‘Aadukalam’, a sports drama that received positive critical reception, winning 6 National Film Awards, including Best Director for Vetrimaaran and Best Actor for Dhanush and 5 Filmfare Awards South, again including Best Director and Best Actor awards. In 2012, Vetrimaaran launched his own production house called Grass Root Film Company, and launched its maiden project ‘Udhayam NH4’ with Siddharth in the lead and his associate Manimaran as director. Vetrimaaran wrote the script and screenplay, penning the dialogues for the film, which released in 2013 to favourable reviews. He also wrote the dialogues for the 2013 action film ‘Naan Rajavaga Pogiren’, directed by his assistant Prithvi Rajkumar. He produced the film ‘Poriyaalan’, released in 2014. In 2015, his another production ‘Kaaka Muttai’ released which won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film and Filmfare Award for Best Film - Tamil.
Vetrimaaran wrote, directed and co-produced alongside Dhanush Tamil docudrama crime thriller ‘Visaranai’, dealing with police brutality, corruption and loss of innocence in the face of injustice. The film premiered in the Orrizonti (Horizons) section of the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it won the Amnesty International Italia Award. It released in India in February 2016 to highly positive reviews from critics and audience alike. At the 63rd National Film Awards, the film won three honours including the Best Feature Film in Tamil. The director’s upcoming directorial venture is ‘Vada Chennai’, a tale on the mafia wars of North Chennai. After initial announcements with regard to the cast, Vetrimaaran finalised upon working with Dhanush, who would co-produce the project and feature in the lead alongside Vijay Sethupathi, Amala Paul and Andrea Jeremiah. The film’s production began in June 2016.
Filmography of Vetrimaaran
Vetrimaaran has written, directed and produced the following Tamil films, highlighted alongside their years of release.
Awards and Honours received by Vetrimaaran
Vetrimaaran has been recognised for his cinematic work with the following awards highlighted alongside the respective films.
Indian Film Directors
Indian Movie Producers
Tamil Movie Directors
Indian Commercial Cinema
Indian Film Producers
Indian Action Films
Indian Movie Production Houses
Indian Film Actresses