| 2007 – present|
Loyola College, Chennai
| September 4, 1975 (age 40) (1975-09-04) Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu|
Film director, Producer and Writer
Vijay Award for Best Director
Dr. V. Chitravel, Megala Chitravel
Visaranai, Kaaka Muttai, Aadukalam, Vada Chennai, Polladhavan
G V Prakash Kumar, Dhanush, Velraj, Dinesh Ravi, Manimaran
Vetrimaaran (Tamil: வெற்றிமாறன்) is an Indian film director, working in the Tamil film industry. He made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Polladhavan (2007). His second feature film Aadukalam (2011) won five National Film Awards, with Vetrimaaran receiving two awards for Best Direction and Best Screenplay.
Vetrimaaran's father Dr. V. Chitravel was a veterinary scientist and his mother Megala Chitravel is a noted novelist. He was born in Cuddalore. Then he moved to Ranipet. He studied till his tenth grade in Ranipet, a suburb of Vellore. Loyola College, Chennai, to study English literature in 1994, and was in there until 1999 when he discontinued his Master's degree to pursue a career in the film world. After pursuing an elective course called "Television presentation" offered by the Loyola Department of Visual Communication in 1995, Vetrimaaran started to show interest towards film making.
In 1999, Vetrimaaran worked as an assistant director for Kadai Neram for Sun TV by Balu Mahendra, featuring 52 short stories for 52 episodes. In a team of 4-5 assistant directors, Vetrimaaran read around 50-60 short stories in a week and shortlist a few and present the synopsis to Balu Mahendra, who would select the required storyline. After Kadai Neram, he went on to work with Kadhir in Kadhal Virus for 2 years, whilst also working with Balu Mahendra for Julie Ganapathy and then Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam. At the time, he prepared a script for Dhanush, who has the lead hero of the films he worked in, and Dhanush immediately accepted the offer after hearing the story. The film titled Desiya Nedunchalai 47 was initially launched with Yuvan Shankar Raja as the music director and Ekambaram as the cinematographer. After he found trouble finding producers with A. M. Rathnam and Salem Chandrasekhar leaving the project after initial interest, Dhanush's sister Dr. Vimala Geetha agreed to produce the film, but she also dropped the film. Dhanush's father Kasthuri Raja finally agreed to produce the film and Kirat Bhattal was signed as heroine, while Harris Jayaraj was selected as music director. However, after two days of shoot the film was shelved and Dhanush opted to pursue other films after the surprise success of his Thiruvilayadal Arambam. The film's collapse saw Vetrimaaran approach producer Kadiresan and narrated to him the stories he had prepared but the producer did not like Desiya Nedunchaalai 47, but agreed to work on another project titled Polladhavan.
Vetrimaaran has since described that he had "ample time" for he production works of Polladhavan as "Dhanush had confidence in him". Production designer Durai helped him rope in G. V. Prakash Kumar to score the film's music, while Dhanush also recommended cinematographer Velraj to Vetrimaaran after the pair had worked together in Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram. Vetrimaaran chose Kannada language actor Kishore to make his Tamil film debut after his assistant gave him rave reviews of the actor's performance in the unfinished Prashanth-starrer Petrol. The team held test shoots with both Kajal Aggarwal and Poonam Bajwa for the film and released the stills to the media, but Vetrimaaran was still unsatisfied and finished two schedules before finalising on Divya Spandana. The director revealed that there was initially an issue with the actress after she got offended by his words and did not come for the shoot for three days, before Durai intervened. The film's story was inspired partly by the lost bike of his friend Andrew and the variety of experiences he had tracking down his vehicle. Vetrimaaran revealed that when he wrote the script, he made many changes to suit the visual medium and for Dhanush on his physical attributes while playing an action hero. The film opened in November 2007 to rave reviews, with the critic from Sify.com stating that "Vetri has made his mentor proud, and his style of narration and takings are very similar to the ace director [Balu Mahendra]", labelling that the film had shades of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 Italian film, Bicycle Thieves. The reviewer from The Hindu stated that "at no point does Polladhavan sag and that writer-director Vetrimaaran has slogged through his screenplay and the result shows." The film also emerged successful commercially usurping collections of the Vijay-starrer Azhagiya Tamil Magan and the Suriya-starrer Vel and subsequently went on to win four Vijay Awards including Best Director for Vetrimaaran.
Vetrimaaran is currently undertaking pre-production and scripting work for his next directorial venture, Vada Chennai, a tale on the mafia wars of North Chennai. When announced in 2009, Karthi was initially touted to play the lead role, although an official announcement from the producers in 2012 revealed that Silambarasan, Rana Daggubati, Divya Spandana and Andrea Jeremiah would essay pivotal roles in the film. Vetrimaaran is ready with sequel of Vada Chennai The director has also revealed that his fourth venture would see him recombine with Dhanush yet again. In 2012, Vetrimaaran also launched his own production house called the Grass Root Film Company and launched his maiden project, Udhayam - NH47 with Siddharth in the lead role and his associate Manimaran as director.