Rajasekharan Nair

Jayaraj was born on 31 May 1960 to a middle class family in Kottayam, Kerala, India. He completed his Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communication. During his stay at Thiruvananthapuram, he got the chance to attend various film festivals including the International Film Festival of Kerala and watch many world classics. Kurosawa's Rashomon and DeSica's Bicycle Thieves were some of such film and they influenced him immensesly. After his studies in Thiruvananthapuram, he met noted director Bharathan who was a neighbor of his sister in Madras, Tamilnadu. Bharathan was impressed by Jayaraj and made him his assistant director for Chilambu(1986). Jayaraj then went on to be the assistant to Bharathan in 6 more films including the critically acclaimed Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam(1987) and Vaishali(1988). Jayaraj debuted as director with Vidyarambham(1988). His early career mainly produced commercially oriented films like Aakasha Kottayile Sultan (1991), Johnnie Walker (1992), High Way (1995), Thumboli Kadappuram (1995) and Arabia (1995).

Notable films in his early career were Kudumbasametham (1992), Paithrukam (1993) and Sopanam (1993). Paithrukam was critically acclaimed, but was subject to criticism from various corners due to its conservative, religious philosophy. Desadanam(1997) was a milestone in his career. With the film, he was also considered as a serious film-maker by the critics. The film was followed by another critically acclaimed film, Kaliyattam(1997) which was a celluloid adaptation of Shakespere's Othello. It won him the National Film Award for Best Direction. In 1999 Jayaraj started his 9-film series project Navarasa with Karunam, followed by Shantham(2000). Shantham won the National Film Award for Best Film. The third film in Navarasa series was Bheebhatsa, a hindi film. A fourth film in the series Adbutham is planned and Jayaraj has set his aim to complete the shooting of the film in less than 2 hours fourteen minutes with single camera at a time[Limca book of world record]. He reportedly said in an interview to Rediff.com when enquired about the time for shooting the film, that "In less than ten hours. It may end in five or even two hours. You never know."

Off late he has been doing both commercial and art films and is successful in both genres. While Thilakkam(2003) and 4 The People(2004) were huge commercial successes Kannaki(2002), Makalkku(2005) and Daivanamathil(2005) were critically acclaimed. A sequel to 4 the People came in 2005, titled By the People which was a flop. Despite that, Jayaraj is filming the third and sequel in the trilogy titled Of The People, as of December 2007.