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Lokesh Kanagaraj

Film director, Filmmaker

Lokesh Kanagaraj is an Indian film director and screenwriter who works in Tamil films. He started his career with a short film in the 2016 anthology Aviyal. He later directed his first feature film Maanagaram. He created the Lokesh Cinematic Universe franchise.

Lokesh Kanagaraj

Last Updated: October 26, 2023

Lokesh Kanagaraj, a visionary filmmaker, has left an indelible mark on Indian cinema with his distinct style and ambitious storytelling. His journey from his early works to his upcoming projects showcases a director dedicated to pushing boundaries and crafting intricate narratives.

Emerging from the Shadows

Kanagaraj’s early career saw him pave the way through the world of short films before making a significant leap into the big screen. His work in “Aviyal” (2016) as both director and writer marked the beginning of his cinematic exploration. Notably, his contribution to the anthology film, particularly the segment titled “Kalam,” offered a glimpse of his emerging talent.

Maanagaram and Beyond

Kanagaraj’s ascent continued with the 2017 release of “Maanagaram.” Directing and writing this thriller was pivotal in establishing his reputation as a storyteller with a keen sense of suspense and drama. It’s in this film that we witnessed his unique narrative flair, setting the stage for what would become his signature style.

Streaming Success with Vella Raja

His repertoire expanded further with “Vella Raja,” a streaming television series in 2018. While he didn’t take on the role of director for this series, his involvement as a writer demonstrated his versatility in storytelling across various formats.

Kaithi and Master: A Star is Born

The defining moment in Kanagaraj’s career came with “Kaithi” in 2019. As director and writer, he orchestrated a gripping action thriller that captured the attention of audiences and critics alike. The film’s relentless pacing, intricate plot, and masterful execution earned him a distinguished place in the Indian film industry.

It was in the following year, 2020, that he made a cameo appearance in “Master,” a nod to his growing influence in the world of cinema. His reputation as a director was solidified by his work, and he was beginning to attract stars of the highest order.

Vikram: Elevating the Lokesh Cinematic Universe

In 2022, Kanagaraj directed “Vikram,” featuring Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi, and Fahadh Faasil. This film propelled him into stardom, cementing his position as a director capable of drawing both critical acclaim and box office success. “Vikram” also introduced the concept of the Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU), a complex narrative web that interconnects his films in a manner rarely seen in Indian cinema.

The Next Chapter with Leo

Following the success of “Vikram,” Kanagaraj revealed his next directorial venture, “Leo,” as Vijay’s 67th film. With this project, he further explores the intricate storytelling and action-packed sequences that have become synonymous with his work. The anticipation surrounding “Leo” speaks to the trust and excitement that now accompanies Kanagaraj’s projects.

A Glimpse into the Future: Thalaivar 171

Beyond “Leo,” Kanagaraj announced his collaboration with superstar Rajinikanth for the film “Thalaivar 171.” The project has generated immense buzz, and with Sun Pictures producing and Anirudh Ravichander composing the music, it promises to be another milestone in his career.

A Bold Decision: The Future Beyond 10 Films

In a bold move in 2023, Lokesh Kanagaraj revealed his intention to step away from directing after completing at least 10 films. This decision, while surprising, reflects a commitment to leaving an enduring legacy in the world of Indian cinema.

A Filmmaker’s Signature Style

Lokesh Kanagaraj’s directorial prowess is unmistakable, primarily within the action genre. His self-comparison to John Woo underscores his affinity for the intense and thrilling. However, his aspirations extend beyond this genre, with a keen interest in exploring other realms such as fantasy and comedy. The influence of ’80s and ’90s action films is palpable in his work, as is the inspiration he draws from directors like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. His knack for blending retro songs, intense violence, and interconnected narratives is a testament to his admiration for Tarantino.

As his filmography continues to grow, Lokesh Kanagaraj’s cinematic universe becomes increasingly intricate and alluring. His ability to craft multifaceted narratives has garnered him a special place in Indian cinema. With a commitment to exploration and a desire to challenge cinematic norms, Lokesh Kanagaraj is undoubtedly a filmmaker to watch as he shapes the future of Indian storytelling.

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