Bhadran Matel was born on 22 November 1952. Initially, he was known by the name of Thomas. However, his mischief and notoriousness during his school days earned him the name Bhadrakali which his father later on shortened to Bhadran. Also there was a noble intention; by giving a Hindu name, the father wanted his child to stay separated from the barriers of caste.
Bhadran moved to Chennai from Kerala at an early age to make his mark in the South film industry and. His career has spanned over 32 years. He was impassioned about music in his early years and his talent as a singer became apparent from his childhood. He even also took formal training in music. He also loved acting in plays and had won many accolades during his academic years for acting and writing. He had always aspired to become a great film director. Bhadran believed that a good director must also be a musician, singer, actor and writer.
His struggle for gaining a foothold in the fiercely competitive scenario bore fruit when he got the opportunity to work as the 8th Assistant Director in the ambitious Project of Hariharan – Rajahamsam under the banner of Supriya, the legend production house. Starting from that film, he assisted Hariharan in 14 films wearing the caps of an apprentice to an associate director.
The first movie under his direction was released in 1982. Ente Mohangal Poovaninju starring Shankar, Mohanlal, Menaka, Kala Ranjini received immense critical appreciation and was liked by viewers. He embarked on the venture of directing films that drew inspiration from lives of common people and was blended with creative surrealism. The year 1983 saw his second directorial creation when Changatham (Malayalam) starring Mammootty, Mohanlal, Madhavy was released and made ripples on the mainstream cinematic landscape. His prolific output became quite popular amongst moviegoers. He never intended to recklessly make film after film. Bhadran had his own way and he focussed on making 2-3 movies per year that show complete justice to art and the audience.
In his early years, when his nascent directorial career was shaping up, he had acted in his self-directed venture Prem Nazirine Kanmanilla which was released in 1983.
Spadikam, released in 1995, was an action drama movie whose plot was also written by Bhadran. Spadikam meant prism and the title was chosen to depict the flickering nature of people who keep changing and adapting themselves to exploit situations as per their needs. The prism splits the white light into a spectrum of seven vibrant colours. Similarly, the star of the movie Thomas Chacko, a village rowdy played by Mohanlal, transformed himself into various characters when differing experiences of life stared in his eyes. The film ended up being the highest grosser of 1995 and collected around INR 8 Crores. It also earned the unique distinction of being the longest running movie of 1995 and ran for 225 days at box office on a trot. Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor and Filmfare Award for Best Actor were won by Mohanlal. Spadikam turned out to be Bhadran's most successful commercial film apart from being one of the highest-grossing movies of Malayalam cinema. The movie and the characters in it gained cult status in Kerala's movie culture. The film depicts parents standing in the way of their children's dreams.
The theme of Idanazhiyil Oru Kaalocha was noted for its foresightedness. It was much ahead of its time and critics attribute this to the failure of the movie despite superb music by Dashinamurthy and soulful songs sung by Yesudas. Bhadran wanted to prove that love is not limited to youth but is free of age imposed restrictions. A teenage boy falls in love with an elderly lady, played by Vineeth and Karthika respectively. This new theme in the Malayalam film industry was given a cold shoulder by the audiences. Iyer the Great, another of Bhadran's creations, had Mamoothy in the main lead who was able to foresee upcoming incidents with surgical precision. The powerful performance and its linkage to the train accident in Peruman made it a landmark movie in the Malayalam film scene. It was the first Malayalam film to cross 100 days in theatres.
He is respected in the industry as an outstanding writer who can churn out marvellous plots that finds stark similarity to the vicissitudes and vagaries common people are exposed to.
Bhadran got married to the love of his life, Tessy, who was an airhostess. He has two sons, Jerry and Teby, and a daughter Amly who is married to Lt Cdr Madhu Prasanna, a retd naval officer. Currently, he is living in Palai with his family.