In Malayalam cinema there are many brilliant film directors who include J. C. Daniel who was the director and producer of the first Malayalam film, Vigathakumaran. He is considered as the father of Malayalam cinema. The films like Neelakkuyil (1954) shed limelight on its directors Ramu Karyat and P. Bhaskaran. Both of them became famous directors during the 1960s and 1970s. A. Vincent who was the cameraman of this movie later became a famous director. P. Ramadas who was the director of Newspaper Boy also became a noted director during the 1950s.

The directors who made serious cinemas were Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G. Aravindan. Adoor Gopalakrishnan had directed films like “Swayam Varam’, ‘Kodiyettam’, ‘Elipathayam’, ‘Mathilukal’, ‘Vidheyan’, and ‘Katha Purushan’, which got national and international rewards. Aravindan started his direction with the film ‘Utharayanam’ followed by films like ‘Kanjana Seetha’, ‘Thampu’, Kummatti’, ‘Esthapan’, ‘Pokku Veyil’, and ‘Chidambaram’ which also received universal recognition.

directorsM.T. Vasudevan Nair’s first movie ‘Nirmalyam’ won national rewards. The scripts of M. T were masterpieces which includes ‘Vaisali’, ‘Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha’, ‘Perumthachan’, and ‘Parinayam’. The first film of I V Sasi was Ulsavam which was a commercial success. His other successful films include Angadi, Ee nadu, Meen, Anubandham, Vartha and Avanazhi.

Director Fazil started his career with Manjil virinja pookal which was the debut movie of Mohan Lal who is now a super star of Malayalam cinema. Other films of Fazil are Ente Mamatikuttiammakku, Nokatha doorathu kannum nattu, Pappayude swantham Appus, Manichitrathazhu, Aniathipravu, Harikrishnans etc.

Balachandra Menon, a talented personality handles almost all aspects in film making. He looks into direction, editing, writing, music direction etc. Some of his films include Tharatu, Kelkatha shabdam, Karyam nisaram, Samantharangal, Ammayane satyam and Krishna Gopalakrishna.

Srinivasan who was an actor alone in the beginning has shown his talents in screenplay writing and direction. His films always deal with middle class family relationships and human psychology. Some of his films include Vadakkunoki yantram, Chintavistayaya Shyamala, Midhunam, Udhayananu Thaaram, Kadha Parayumbol, Oru  Naal Varum etc.
Director Blessy has given an own identity with his films in the Malayalam film industry. Some of his films include kaazhcha, Thanmatra, Palunku, Calcutta News and Bramaram.

Other important film directors are Shaji Kailas, Rafi Mecartin, Anwar Rasheed, Joshie, Satyan Anthikkad, Lal Jose, Johny Antony, Priyadarshan, Kamal, K G George and Shafi. Some of the directors have started to work in other languages as well. Directors like Priyadarshan, Siddique Lal and some others have done films in other languages such as Tamil and Hindi.

Many Malayalam film directors have received many awards in the national level as well. Malayalam directors have won 12 National Film Awards for Best Direction so far.

Year Director (Winner) Film
2007 Adoor Gopalakrishnan Naalu Pennungal
1998 Rajivnath Janani
1997 Jayaraaj Kaliyattam
1993 T.V. Chandran Ponthan Mada
1989 Adoor Gopalakrishnan Mathilukal
1988 Shaji N. Karun Piravi
1987 Adoor Gopalakrishnan Anantharam
1986 G. Aravindan Oridathu
1984 Adoor Gopalakrishnan Mukhamukham
1978 G. Aravindan Thamp
1977 G. Aravindan Kanchana Sita
1972 Adoor Gopalakrishnan Swayamvaram