Lal Jose started his film career as an assistant director to Kamal. Lal Jose worked on a slew of Kamal's films during the 1990s. His directional debut was the film Oru Maravathoor Kanavu (1998). His popular films include Chandranudikkunna Dikhil (1999), Meesa Madhavan (2002), Classmates (2006), Arabikkatha (2007), Neelathaamara (2009), Diamond Necklace (2012), Ayalum Njanum Thammil (2012), Immanuel (2013), and Vikramadithyan (2014).
Born in Valapad in Thrissur, Kerala to Jose and Lilly, Lal Jose did his schooling at NSS KPT School and NSS College Ottapalam. He is married to Leena. The couple have two daughters, Irine and Catherine. After completing his degree, he left for Chennai, with an aim of getting into movies. He got into the world of cinema by assisting noted director Kamal. He worked with Kamal in 16 films, from Pradheshika Varthakkal to Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu. He worked as associate director to prominent filmmakers like Thampy Kannamthanam, Lohithadas, Harikumar, Vinayan, K. K. Haridas, and Nizar.
In 1998, he made his debut as an independent director with Oru Maravathoor Kanavu, which starred Mammootty and was scripted by Sreenivasan. Producer Siyad Koker asked Lal Jose to direct a film for him. The huge success Oru Maravathoor Kanavu earned him a positive reputation. The photography and narration style was appreciated by many critics. His next venture was Chandranudikkunna Dikhil in 2000, with Dileep as hero, which did well at the box office. In 2001, Lal Jose directed Randaam Bhavam starring Suresh Gopi. The critically acclaimed movie was, however, a box office failure. In later years, it was widely acclaimed later as one of the best action films of the 2000s.
In 2002 Lal Jose, teaming up with screenwriter Ranjan Pramod, who had earlier scripted Randaam Bhavam, came up with Meesa Madhavan, which was a milestone in his career along with that of Dileep. Meesa Madhavan was a huge hit and established Dileep as a new superstar. But his next film Pattalam, starring Mammootty, make average in 2003. Rasikan, released in 2005 was a super hit. But Lal Jose proved his critics wrong in the same year with Chanthupottu, starring Dileep. The huge box-office success of Chanthupottu took Lal Jose's career to new heights. Dileep's performance in this film was highly appreciated. In 2006, Lal Jose directed Achanurangatha Veedu, a low-budget film, which failed to bring audiences to the movie halls, though it won critical appreciation.
Lal Jose created a mania in Kerala in 2006 with Classmates, which broke all the collection records in the Malayalam cinema industry. Released without much publicity, with no big stars, it became the highest grossing film in Malayalam, until its record was broken by Twenty:20 two years later. In 2007, he did Arabikkatha, with Sreenivasan in a leading role. Arabikkatha was critically and commercially a big hit. His next movie was Mulla, starring Dileep. In 2009, Lal Jose directed Neelathamara, written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair, which was a remake of the 30-year-old movie with the same name. It was accepted well by the critics and the masses. He directed a story with Mammootty as lead in Kerala Cafe in 2010. He then directed the hit film Elsamma Enna Aankutty without multistars. In 2011, he became a judge on a reality show on Surya TV called Vivel Active Fair Big Break, where the winner would be the heroine in his next movie.
Spanish Masala starring Dileep released in early 2012 was not a commercial success. But he came back strongly with Diamond Necklace starring Fahadh Faasil, Samvrutha Sunil, Gauthami Nair, Anusree (who won the Vivel Active Fair Big Break), Sreenivasan and Rohini. This was the debut film of his production house LJ Films and was well received by critics and film-goers alike. His next film, Ayalum Njanum Thammil starred Prithviraj Sukumaran, Pratap Pothen, Narain, Samvrutha Sunil, Rima Kallingal and Remya Nambeesan. It was very well received by critics and won the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Director for that year; it did well at the box office, too. He teamed up with Mammooty again for Immanuel. Fahadh Faasil, Salim Kumar, Reenu Mathews and Sukumari co-starred in the film which released in April 2013. The same year, he also directed Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum and Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal. Followed by Vikramadithyan (2014), Nee-Na (2015) and most recently Velipadinte Pusthakam (2017).
Most of his films have music composed by Vidyasagar, except for a couple of low-budget ventures.
Lal Jose is the project director of "Celebrate Keralam"; a platform for creative and skilled professionals including documentary makers, photographers, writers, journalists, film makers, musicians, actors and art lovers to put their hands and minds together to fulfill their passion and give something back to their cherished homeland Keralam.Starting from Oru Maravathoor Kanavu, Dileep, Biju Menon, Indrajith, Samvritha and Sukumari are regular faces in most of his films.
He appeared in cameo roles in Azhakiya Ravanan, Rock & Roll, Best Actor, Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha.
Kerala state film awards
2006: Best Popular Film – Classmates
2005: Best Second movie – Achanurangatha Veedu
2012: Best Director- Ayalum Njanum Thammil
2012: Best Popular Film- Ayalum Njanum Thammil
South Indian International Movie Awards
2013: Best Director for Ayalum Njanum Thammil
2013: Nominated—Best Film for Diamond Necklace
Asianet Film Awards
2007: Best Director Award for Arabikkatha
Ramu Karyat Awards
2010: Best Director Award for Elsamma Enna Aankutty
2013 – Asiavision Awards – Artistic Movie – Ayalum Njanum Thammil
Meenathil Thalikettu (1998) (story and associate director)
Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu (1997) (assistant director)
Manasam (1997) (assistant director)
Udyana Palakan (1996) (associate director)
Mazhayethum Munpe (1995) (assistant director)
Maanthrikam (1995) (assistant director)
Vadhu Doctoranu (1994) (assistant director)
Bhoomi Geetham (1993) (assistant director)
Champakulam Thachan (1992) (assistant director)
Ennodishtam Koodamo (1992) (assistant director)
Pookkalam Varavayi (1991) (assistant director)
Ulladakkam (1991) (assistant director)
Pradeshika Varthakal (1989) (assistant director)
Meenathil Thalikettu (1998)
Diamond Necklace (2012)
Thattathin Marayathu (2012)
Diamond Necklace (2012)
Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum (2013)
Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal (2013)
Homely meals (2014)
KL.10 Pathu (2015)
Action Hero Biju (2016)
Jacobinte Swargarajyam (2016)
Bhoomi Geetham (1993)as Journalist
Azhakiya Ravanan (1996) as Assistant Director
Rock & Roll(2007) as Himself
Best Actor (2010) as Himself
Ohm Shanthi Oshaana (2014) as Jacob Tharakan
Oru Muthassi Gadha (2016)
Sunday Holiday (2017)
Lal Jose is noted for his particular association with certain actors or techinicans in his films. Music composer VidyaSagar has worked on 12 films out of Lal Jose's total 22 feature-length films. Sukumari had acted on 12 films, whereas Salim Kumar in 10 and Biju Menon in 8 and Indrajith, Jagathy Sreekumar and Suraj Venjaramoodu were appeared on 7 films.