Dayal Padmanabhan hails from Villupuram town (Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu). His Father Padmanabhan was an electrician in Tamil Nadu electricity board and mother Radha Padmanabhan was a house wife till he lost his father in his early age. Then his mother continued to work in Tamil Nadu electricity board. They were from a poor background but that didn't deter his passion for acting in movies. He has participated in many extra curricular activities while schooling and proved as a young talent. His role model was Tamil actor Murali. He wished to become an actor like him but destiny made him a writer, Producer and director in Kannada films. He completed his Diploma in Civil Engineering from Muthiah polytechnic, Chidambaram. Later he finished his B.E from the famous B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore. He worked for 15 years in Indian Institute of Science (1988 to 2002). He is married and has two children.
He entered Kannada film industry in the year 2000. He is indebted to Naga (Marmadesam fame) from the Tamil film industry and Hamsalekha, Upendra, S.Mahendar and Madan Mallu from the Kannada film industry for guiding him to gain a foothold in the movie industry
Dayal Padmanabhan entered the Kannada industry as a writer in the year 2000. His first movie as a writer was Om Ganesh starring "Dialogue King" Sai Kumar and directed by Thriller Manju. From then on, he went on to write for many films including Hudugigage,H2O,Gattimela.He has written the story for most of his movies except OK Saar OK and Sakha Sakhi. He has written screenplay and dialogue for all his movies. His screenplay style is unique and notable. He was one of the nominees' by the Times of India Film Awards 2011 for the best screenplay writer for his film Yogaraj. "Gharshane" starring Malashri which was released in the first week of January 2014. His latest work Haggadha Kone was released in December 2014.
He later on directed his first film OK saar OK in 2003 and went on to direct ten more Kannada films including the hits like Baa Baaro Rasika,Circus ,Masala, Sri Harikathe and 'Haggadha Kone'. His dream project was Circus starring Golden star Ganesh. He has also starred in Gaalipata where he played a mute character called "Dracula" that was widely appreciated by the public.His current project as a director is 'Ondu rupayalli eradu preethi ' is retitled as Toss which is scheduled to be released in month of July 2015.His movie Gharshane is the first full-fledged action genre film that he is helming as a director,produced by Shankar S Gowda under Shankar Productions. Currently Last release was " Haggada kone" which released to rave reviews. His next movie is a rom-com titled Satya Harishchandra.He is venturing into commercial filmmaking zone after a long time with this movie.Famous comedian-turned-hero Sharan is playing the lead in the movie.
He also turned to production with this film where he was the executive producer. He has also produced Circus and Co produced Shriharikathe under his own production house D Pictures. He is the Producer for the under production project Ondu Rupayalli Eradu Preethi. He is the producer for the films Circus and Yogaraj. He Co-produced the film Shriharikathe,. All the above projects were executed under his own production house D Pictures.
He believes the turning point of his film career came with the movie Gaalipata. His movie Yogaraj But,starring Naveena Krishna & Neethu which released mid-2011. The movie released to positive critical response in Rediff, IBN,ChitralokaA,Times of India and others, with critics rating the movie 3 to 4 stars. After the reception, Dayal boldly quoted " Once again i have made a movie that was appreciated but not a hit". Dayal padmanabhan also worked as an executive producer for the Tamil movie Brahman starring Sasikumar.
On 26 September 2011, Dayal won in the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce election as a member of Producer Sector. Dayal Padmanabhan won the election purely on the reputation he had earned as a general member in the KFCC working body.
Currently he is one of the EC member of Karnataka film Directors' association. He won in the election by gaining top 4 highest votes.
Recently Dayal filed a petition against a prestigious film award for not nominating his film even after it had received widespread critical acclaim. His petition was accepted by Bangalore City civil court and the organizers/Jury were ordered to add nominations for his movie on four different categories, Best Actor (Male), Best Director, Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (male).
The Karnataka state budget 2016 - 2017 was scheduled to be proposed on 18 March. Ahead of this major event Dayal padmanabhan started a petition requesting the state government to cap the movie ticket prices to 120 Rs at multiplexes in the state.
He explained his intentions behind this petition.“Multiplexes in Karnataka price the ticket based on the demand and profit margins. This reduces the occupancy rate. On an average, a cinema hall records only 46% occupancy even for a high profile film as the price is set at a higher range (It can go upto 800 INR). My idea is to reduce the pricing and increase the occupancy. More the patrons, more the patronage. Only this can make the industry healthier.”
His Petition went viral and was signed by thousands of people across karnataka.