Arunasalam Murugadoss, popularly known as AR Murugadoss, is an Indian director, screenwriter and producer. He made his directorial debut with the 2001 Tamil action-drama film Dheena
, and rose to prominence with the critical and commercial success of the psychological thriller film Ghajini
(2005) and its eponymous Bollywood remake in 2008. Murugadoss has since helmed a number of blockbusters in both Kollywood and Bollywood, notably 7aum Arivu
(2012), Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty
(2014) and Akira
(2016). Murugadoss has received multiple Filmfare Award nominations in the course of his career, and has won a Best Director award at the 2014 Filmfare Awards (South). He is also a two-time winner of the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards (for Best Film).
Murugadoss was born in Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu, as the fifth of the seven children of Arunasalam, who was a small-time tradesman. He attended the Government Higher Secondary School in Kallakurichi before joining Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirapalli, to pursue his bachelor`s degree. Following the rejection of his application to join the prestigious Madras Film Institute, Murugadoss joined veteran screenwriter P Kalaimani
as an assistant script writer.
Murugadoss married Ramya in 2005. They have two children together.
As a Director
Murugadoss made his directorial debut with the action-drama film Dheena
(2001), which had Ajith Kumar
and Suresh Gopi
in lead roles. The film was a critical and commercial success. The writer-director followed it up with the vigilante film Ramanaa, which told the story of a college professor whose crusade against corruption comes at a price to his personal life. The film was a resounding success at the box office, and has since been remade in Telugu as Tagore (2003), Kannada as Vishnu Sena (2005), Bengali as Tiger (2007) and Hindi as Gabbar is Back (2015). In 2005, Murugadoss directed Suriya in the psychological thriller film Ghajini
, which was a remake of Christopher Nolan
`s neo-noir psychological thriller film Memento
(2000). Upon its release, Ghajini was met with near-universal critical praise and went on to become one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of the year.
In the following year, the director ventured into Tollywood with the Chiranjeevi
(2006). Despite the mixed critical reception, the film was a box office success and has since been remade in Hindi as the Salman Khan
starrer Jai Ho
(2014). Murugadoss` flawless track record in the South Indian film industry eventually paved the way for his Bollywood debut in 2008, with Aamir Khan
starring in the remake of Ghajini. The film, which centred around an anterograde amnesiac`s quest to avenge the death of his beloved, rewrote box office records upon its release, raking close to INR 2 billion worldwide - the highest by an Indian film at that time. Murugadoss was nominated for a Filmfare Award, an IIFA Award and a Screen Award for his work, and went on to win a Stardust Award for Hottest New Filmmaker.
After a three-year hiatus, Murugadoss returned to filmmaking in 2011 with the Tamil sci-fi thriller film 7aum Arivu, which had Suriya and Shruti Haasan in the lead roles. However, the highly anticipated film opened to mixed reviews and was a moderate box office success, with the critics praising the director for the attempting a novel subject with much technical finesse. In 2012, Murugadoss wrote and directed the action film Thuppakki, which had Vijay in the lead role. The film was well-received and went on to win 6 Vijay Awards that year. Thuppakki was subsequently remade into Bengali as Game (2014) and Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty (2014), with Murugadoss himself helming the Bollywood remake starring Akshay Kumar
in the lead role.
In 2014, the director reunited with Vijay for the action-drama film Kaththi, the plot of which followed a petty criminal who gets embroiled in a case of mistaken identities and is ultimately reformed into a social crusader. Upon its release, Kaththi was met with positive reviews and went on to become the highest-grossing Tamil film of the year. For his work, Murugadoss earned the Filmfare Award (South) for Best Director - Tamil, and the Vijay Award for Favourite Director. Kaththi also won the Filmfare Award (South) for Best Tamil Film that year, and has since been remade in Telugu as the Chiranjeevi starrer Khaidi No. 150 (2017). Murugadoss returned to Bollywood in 2016 with the action-drama film Akira, which was a remake of the Tamil film Mouna Guru (2011) and had Sonakshi Sinha
, Konkona Sen Sharma
and Anurag Kashyap in key roles. Despite the mixed critical reception, the film was a box office success. The bilingual spy-thriller Spyder
, which stars Mahesh Babu
, marks the director`s 2017 venture.
As a Producer
Murugadoss` maiden production venture was the critically acclaimed romantic-drama film Engaeyum Eppothum (2011), which told the story of a fateful bus journey that turns around the lives of two young couples. He then produced the action-thriller Vathikuchi
(2013), which had his brother Dileepan
in the lead role. The film was a critical and commercial success. The romantic-drama film Raja Rani
, which came out in the same year, also went on to become a blockbuster.
In 2015, Murugadoss produced the Vikram
starrer 10 Endrathukulla
, which was written and directed by Vijay Milton
. However, the highly anticipated film opened to negative reviews and was a disappointment at the box office. In 2016, Murugadoss produced the Sonakshi Sinha starrer Akira, which was also written and directed by him. The film was a box office success. He is also the producer for his 2017 directorial venture venture Spyder. His 2020 release includes Darbar