Hariharan started as assistant to well-known directors like M S Mani and M Krishnan Nair. He made his directorial debut with Ladies Hostel (1973). He directed a series of successful films scripted by renowned Malayalam writer M T Vasudaven Nair.
Parinayam - 1994
The film is set in the pre-Independence orthodox ‘Namboodiri’ Brahmin community. Widowed at 17, only three months after being married to an old man, a young Brahmin girl has, therefore, to live a life secluded from the world, even though her marriage has not been consummated. An ambitious Kathakali artist seduces her, but out of cowardice, he finally refuses to recognise the baby born of their union. The young girl is ‘excommunicated’ from her community but, helped by the progressive-minded son of her dead husband, she keeps the child, finds a job and drives out her seducer when he tries to make up with her.
Ennu Swantham Janakikkutty - 1997
Fourteen-year-old Janakikutty lives in a small village in Kerala. Plain and quiet, she is pretty much ignored by the rest of the family and boys. An old family aunt comes to stay and Janakikutty forms a bond with her, listening to the old lady's magical stories. One day, in a state of depression and loneliness, Janakikutty is confronted with the vision of a yakshi, the spirit of a beautiful green-eyed young woman who was murdered after her wedding. The two forms a close friendship, and, with the yakshi's powers (perhaps, Janakikutty's imagination), her uncaring family suffers mysterious mishaps. Fearing that she is possessed, Janakikutty's mother seeks the help of the local witchdoctor.
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja - 2009
A biopic of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, known as the Lion of Kerala who lived in the late 18th Century and died fighting against the British Colonial Regime. Pazhassi Raja, the popular king of Kottayam, opposed the highhandedness of colonial rulers and dared to challenge the imposing army of the British by resorting to guerrilla war tactics is considered the first Indian King to put up resistance against the colonialists. He strongly opposed the British interventions in the domestic affairs of his kingdom that led to conflicts between the two. Apart from narrating the great saga of the valiant hero, the film delves deep into the complexities of human feelings and relationships.