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One of the most lauded directors in India, Adoor Gopalakrishnan has often been hailed as the filmmaker who has done the most to carry on the cinematic legacy of Satyajit Ray. The influence of Ray can be seen in his subtle, humanist, and carefully composed films -- all of them set in Kerala, the province of Southern India where he was raised -- but over the course of his career he has developed a style all his own, rooted in the rhythms of traditional Kerala village life but addressing issues of politics, religion, and personal responsibility that are universal in scope. He was born in 1941 in the village of Adoor, into a family that practiced the traditional Indian dance drama known as Kathakali. He began acting on stage as a child, and eventually attended the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India. His first feature, One's Own Choice, about the travails of a young rural couple who run away to the city, was heavily influenced by Ray's style, but he began to find his own voice with Ascent, which takes its structure and themes from a Kathakali ritual. His third film, The Rat Trap, which tells the story of a stubborn patriarch clinging to an outdated feudal system, was the first to win him international acclaim, and all his subsequent films have played widely at festivals around the world. His three most recent films, The Servile, The Man of the Story, and Shadow Kill, each represent further refinements of his visual style and thematic preoccupations. A household name among cinemagoers in India, Gopalakrishnan has won the Indian National award for Best Director four times, and has been honored with awards and retrospectives at festivals in Europe and Asia. Despite his international renown, he remains virtually unknown in the United States.
National Film Awards - various categories for Swayamvaram, Kodiyettam, Elippathayam, Anantharam, Mathilukal, Vidheyan, Kathapurushan and Nizhalkkuthu.
International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) - won consecutively for five feature films.
London Film Festival - Sutherland Trophy - in 1982 for Elippathayam
British Film Institute Award - Most Original Imaginative Film of 1982 - Elipathayam
Padma Vibhushan - second highest civilian award from Government of India Padma Sri
1972 - Swayamvaram - Direction, story and script
1977 - Kodiyettam - Direction, story and script
1981 - Elippathayam - Direction, story and script
1984 - Mukhamukham - Direction and script
1987 - Anantharam
1989 - Mathilukal
1993 - Vidheyan
1995 - Kathapurushan
2000 - Kalamandalam Gopi (documentary)
2003 - Nizhalkkuthu