Raja Rani to Jawan: Atlee's directorial triumphs over the last decade

Atlee has quickly become one of the most wanted directors in the country. It has been a decade since the director’s debut film Raja Rani was released, and we look back at his incredible journey.

Updated on Sep 27, 2023   |  10:48 PM IST  |  130.7K
Atlee completes 10 years as a director; Raja Rani to Jawan
Raja Rani to Jawan: Atlee's directorial triumphs over the last decade (PC. Atlee Instagram)
Key Highlight
  • Atlee has completed 10 years as a director
  • His first film, Raja Rani, came out on 27th September 2013
  • Atlee became the first Tamil director to cross the 1000 crore collection threshold

Atlee’s latest film, Jawan, which features Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead roles, has been doing exceptionally well at the box office. The film also features other known faces like Priyamani, Deepika Padukone (cameo appearance), Sanya Malhotra, Sunil Grover, and Sanjeeta Bhattacharya in prominent roles. The film has grossed over 1000 crores worldwide, a number which is still growing, making Atlee the first Tamil filmmaker to achieve this feat.

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This historic achievement is coupled with another milestone in Atlee’s journey as well. 27th September marks the 10th anniversary of the release of his first film, Raja Rani, which featured Arya, Nayanthara, Nazriya Nazim, Santhanam, Sathyaraj, Manobala, and more. 

Raja Rani to Jawan: Atlee’s journey in cinema so far

Atlee’s journey in cinema started at the age of nineteen, when he became an assistant director to S. Shankar, in his 2010 blockbuster film Enthiran, which featured Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles. He continued as an AD to Shankar in his next directorial venture, Nanban, which was a remake of the 2009 Rajkumar Hirani film 3 Idiots. 

In the meantime, Atlee was making his own short films as well. His 2011 short film, Mugaputhagam received widespread acclaim from the audience, across various media platforms. 


Following suit, in 2013, Atlee went on to make his directorial debut with the film Raja Rani. The film which featured Arya, Nayanthara, Nazriya Nazim, Jai Sampath, and more, was released on September 27, 2013.  It was a romantic comedy film and received positive reviews from fans and critics alike. The film was produced by director AR Murugadoss, in tandem with Fox Star Studios and The Next Big Productions. Raja Rani revolves around the story of two people who get married due to family pressure and eventually get to know each other better and fall. The music for the film was produced by GV Prakash Kumar. 

Coming from the success of his first film, Atlee made his second feature film three years later, in the year 2016. It was an emotional action thriller film that featured Thalapathy Vijay, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Amy Jackson in the lead roles. It also featured Raadhika Sarathkumar, Manobala, Prabhu, Rajendran, and more in prominent roles. The film was produced by Kalaipuli S Thanu under the banner of V Productions, and the music was composed by GV Prakash. The film received positive reviews from critics and fans alike, praising it for its usage of action sequences in a way that it fits the world that was created. 

Theri was just the first out of three films that Atlee would direct with Thalapathy Vijay. His next film, Mersal, also featured Vijay, Samantha, Kajal Aggarwal and Nithya Menen in the lead roles. It also had SJ Suryah, Vadivelu, Sathyaraj, Hareesh Peradi, Yogi Babu, and Kovai Sarala portraying prominent roles. The music for the film was produced by AR Rahman, the first of the two collaborations between them. The action thriller film was a massive success, becoming one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of 2017. The film garnered positive responses, especially for being a ‘mass masala’ entertainer that did not feel overdone. 

Atlee’s third collaboration with the Sarkar actor came a couple of years after Mersal, in the 2019 sports action-drama film Bigil. The film featured Nayanthara, Jackie Shroff, Kathir, Vivek, Yogi Babu, and Daniel Balaji in prominent roles as well. The film also marked the second collaboration between Atlee and AR Rahman. Bigil did exceptionally well at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Tamil film of the year. Needless to say, fans and critics held the film in high regard. 



It was during the promotions for Bigil that Atlee announced he would be collaborating with Shah Rukh Khan for his next film. But, unfortunately, the pandemic hit, forcing the director to narrate the story via a Zoom call. The film finally began production in September 2021. The movie was produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, King Khan’s production house. The film also boasts an ensemble cast of prominent actors across the country. Jawan marks the first collaboration of Atlee with Anirudh Ravichander. The film was officially released on September 7, 2023, and has been a blockbuster.

Atlee’s other ventures

Apart from being a director, Atlee also started his own production house, with his wife Priya, named A for Apple Productions. The first film they produced was Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae, a horror comedy, which was produced in collaboration with Fox Star Studios.

The duo also produced the 2020 supernatural horror-thriller film Andhaghaaram, which starred Arjun Das and Vinoth Kishan.

What’s next for Atlee

Atlee is still basking in the success of his debut Hindi film Jawan. The director in a recent interview revealed that he is planning a film in the future that would include both Thalapathy Vijay and Shah Rukh Khan. He also hinted at the possibility of Jawan getting a second part. Additionally, the director had also recently met Allu Arjun, giving rise to the possibility of a collaboration between him and the Pushpa actor.

As Atlee completes 10 glorious years as a director, Pinkvilla takes this opportunity to congratulate him on his journey!

ALSO READ: ‘Love you too’: Thalapathy Vijay responds to Shah Rukh Khan; Congratulates Atlee and Jawan team on success

About The Author

A graduate in Economics, with heart made of cinema, Devasankar is vividly in love with world cinema! A true


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