Thiagarajan Kumararaja is a critically acclaimed Indian film director and screenwriter. Born and brought up in Chennai, he enrolled for a Visual Communications course at the Loyola College, Chennai but dropped out shortly after to make films. He made his feature film debut with Aaranya Kaandam (2011) which earned him the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director at the 59th National Film Awards.
He has recently directed his next long-awaited film, Super Deluxe (2019) which has gained acclaim and love due to its distinguished filmmaking, plot, and performance.
Mr Kumararaja cited that it was composer Ilaiyaraaja's music that animated him to come to films and to study Visual Communications in the first place. However, he discontinued his studies in 1998 and started to work as a freelance copywriter and photographer for a while. He went on to shoot advertisement films and also directed a five-part documentary on South Indian Temples, Sthala Puranam for Vijay TV.
In 2005, he participated at the one-minute film competition 60 Seconds to Fame by Ability Foundation. His short film Becky was awarded the first prize at the AbilityFest 2005. Mr Kumararaja then collaborated with Pushkar-Gayathri, writing the dialogue of their directorial debut Oram Po (2007). He would later write all songs for their second project Va (2010) as well.
Through Pushkar-Gayathri, Mr Kumararaja met S. P. B. Charan, who agreed to produce his first feature film Aaranya Kaandam. Mr Kumararaja took more than one and a half years to complete the film, which was entirely shot in and around Chennai. Dubbed as the first neo-noir film in Tamil cinema, Aaranya Kaandam opened to strong critical acclaim, winning the Grand Jury Award for Best Film at the 2010 South Asian International Film Festival, and two prizes at the 59th National Film Awards, including the Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director for Kumararaja.