Adoor Gopalakrishnan is the auteur of realistic and issue-based film making. He played a major role in revolutionising Malayalam cinema with his path breaking debut Swayamvaram in 1972.
He graduated from the Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul, in 1960 with a degree in economics, political science, and public administration. He obtained a diploma in film making from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in 1965.
He is the founder of Chritralekha Film Co-operative, which produced and distributed films that were an alternative to the commercial Malayalam cinema industry. He also founded Chitralekha Film Society which showed classic and artistically ambitious films of both India and the West. In a career spanning over four decades, he has directed 12 movies the latest being Pinneyum released in 2016.
He won the National Film Awards sixteen times and Kerala State Film Awards seventeen times. He was awarded the State honours Padma Shri in 1984 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2006. He received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2004 for his valuable contributions to Indian cinema. He has received Life Time Achievement Award at the Cairo International Film Festival.