M. Manikandan

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M. Manikandan
M. Manikandan

M. Manikandan is an Indian cinematographer, writer and director who works in Tamil cinema. Manikandan was born into a family of police officers in Usilampatti, a small town in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu. He did his schooling in different towns owing to his father's frequent transfers. After completing his schooling, he did his diploma in automobile engineering.

He developed an interest in photography and started his career as a wedding photographer. He also did odd jobs such as designing ID cards for school and college children. In a later interview he claimed that he did all these in order to save money to pursue a course in digital photography at the Mindscreen Film Institute, a film school managed by Rajiv Menon. In the mid 2000s, Manikandan started his film career as an assistant cinematographer in Tamil films.

During this time, he co-wrote several scripts for short films. He got his major break with the short film Wind (2010), his directorial debut. The film brought him critical acclaim and was screened in several film festivals. The film caught the attention of Tamil film director Vetrimaran, who helped him produce Kaaka Muttai, his feature film debut. The film revolves around two slum-dwelling kids whose solitary desire in life is to taste a pizza. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in June 2015.

At the 62nd National Film Awards, it won two honours – Best Children's Film and Best Child Artist. The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 13th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. He made his directorial debut with the short film Wind (2010) and got his breakthrough in feature films with Kaaka Muttai, which won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film in 2015.

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