Shaji Neelakantan Karun was very famous Cinematographer and Film Director. He was born on 1st January 1952 in Kollam district (Kerala). In 1963, his family was moved to Thiruvananthapuram which is the capital of Kerala. Shaji Karun has completed his schooling from Palkkulangara Higher Secondary school and graduation from University College, Thiruvananthapuram. He wanted to make his career in film direction and Cinematography that’s why he joined Film and Television Institute of India in 1971 from where he has done his diploma in Cinematography. He made a film named Genesis (1974) that was directed by Rahul Dasgupta. During his diploma the movie was big hit and it got many award, from then his career was started properly. When he passed out in 1975, that time he won President's medal.
His directorial debut film was Piravi in 1988 which fascinated remarkable applause. This was the great film during that time which was selected in almost 70 National and International film festivals, in the midst of the Cannes this film got 31 awards that includes the Silver Hugo at Chicago, Camera D'Or at Cannes, the Silver Leopard at Locarno, esteemed Charlie Chaplin Award at Edinburgh and India's Gold Medal Award from the President for the finest film in 1989.
Swaham was the second film directed by Shaji Karun and it also gets the same response as his first film and was selected in a number of international film festivals as well as selected in Cannes in 1994. This film also gathered numerous awards. Shaji Karun also made a dozen of documentaries and short films. In addition to film making he was also an active contributor in academic and governmental arenas as well as he were active as juror at most of the international film festivals.