Born in Kottayam, Kerala, Jayaraj did his engineering at Trivandrum. Inspired by films shown in film festivals at Trivandrum he moved into cinema as the assistant for director Bharathan. He made his directorial debut with Johnny Walker, a commercial venture. Latter he made critically acclaimed films like Deshadanam, Kaliyattam, Karunam and Shantham. Bheebhalsa made in Hindi is the third film in the proposed 'navarasa' series.
Kaliyattam - 1997
Kaliyattam is an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Othello' seen through the local traditional theatrical art of Kaliyattam, in which the actor takes on a divine dimension, according to the traditional concept of the theyyam - the diving artistic for played by certain communities of Kerala - as soon as he wears his mask and his headgear.
Perumalayan, is one of theyyam artist, who wins the love of beautiful Thamara, daughter of a land owner, despite his pockmarked face. The married couple moves to the green mountains of Kerala, where their love is destroyed by intrigues. Thamara is suffocated in her sleep by her mislead husband.
Direction & Screenplay: Jayaraj
Karunam - 1999
Karunam is the first among the proposed nine films based on 'navarasas' by Jayaraj.
Chakochan and Chechamma, an old couple lives a lonely life, their children being abroad. A youth in the neighborhood is the only person who gives them a company. Life becomes more miserable for them as their children put them in an old age home. Chakochan dies there and a lonely Chechamma walks into nothingness.
Karunam won the 'Golden Peacock' award at the International Film Festival of India (2000) and the State award for best film.
Shantham - 2001
Second film of Jayaraj's proposed 'navarasa' series.
Two young men, who grow up side by side in the same village, sharing the simple joys of everyday life, are slowly drawn into rival political movements that demand their loyalty and obedience. Finally, one of them is commanded to kill the other in the name of the cause. The gruesome killing takes the toll of both their families and the mothers of both the murdered boy and the murderer arrive at the Thirunavaya temple, on the banks of the river, Bharatha Puzha, where the bereaved gather to perform funeral rites, seeking solace in their grief.
Makalkku - 2004
An insane woman, who is found wandering along the streets with a newborn baby in her bundle, is taken to a mental asylum, where she undergoes treatment. She is totally unaware of the fact that she was pregnant and has given birth to a baby girl. Dr.Varier, who treats the woman, takes care of the child at the hospital. The baby grows up in a cradle hung up by the nurse, in front of the cell where her mother is locked up.
The child is names Manasi and grows up at the mental hospital as everybody’s favourite. As she turns four, it is time for her to leave the mental hospital, as the law prohibits keeping normal children above four years there.
Direction & Screenplay: Jayaraj
Daivanamathil - 2005
Daivanamathil looks at terrorism from a personal and emotional angle: the transition of the central character Anwar, a progressive and educated young man, into ‘jehadi’, following the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.
But for more than the story of Anwar, the film recounts the story of his broad-minded young wife with secular credentials, who devotes herself in her own firm way to re-examination of India’s Independence struggle and the part played by Muslim leaders in forging a secular nation. She does this quietly and assiduously in the hope that her work will help contain the extremist menace.
Adbhutham - 2006
Chandrashekhara Warrier is on a life support system in a hospital in the US. Except for his right arm, his whole body is paralysed. He had come to the US twenty years back in search of fortune. A near fatal car crash has bought an end to the search. He is now face to face with death. Pull the plug, and Warrier is a dead man. His parents and fiancé fly in from Kerala. They are heart-broken. The big question on their minds now is: Should he continue living on the life support system? Or is euthanasia (mercy killing) the answer? Or is there a third alternative - a miracle? This is the story of Adbhutham, which in Malayalam means miracle.
Setting a record in the Indian film industry, Jayaraj has completed the shooting of the film in two hours and fourteen minutes - which in itself is a miracle.
Gulmohar - 2008
The film is set in the 1970's against the backdrop of the vibrant socio-cultural atmosphere of Kerala. It attempts to portray the political turbulence of that era as well as the revolutionary zeal among the youth of those days.
Induchoodan, the protagonist of the film is a youthful college lecturer and a revolutionary at heart. He and his peers, who dream of equality and justice, are always ready to take up arms against injustice and inequality. It is thus that Induchoodan and his group of six start an operation named 'Operation April', aimed at eliminating those who exploit the tribal people and rape tribal women.
At a stage they happen to kill an innocent man. Induchoodan gets caught and is sentenced to imprisonment. A man of principles that he is, Induchoodan never reveals the names of his accomplices and serves his sentence. After six years he comes out of jail. The story takes off from there.
Loudspeaker - 2009
Mike will take you on a journey; a journey from the land of innocent people, trees and nature into a noisy world of polluted people, skyscrapers and closed rooms! A journey with an aim. An aim for his beloved father. Mike speaks louder than anyone in a place where people rarely speak. He opens his heart to the heartless. Joining him on the journey of realization is Menon, a man different at every level one could think off. Together Mike and Menon unravel a life of colour, joy, fun and reality. Annie, a nurse and the cute little girl, Angela form a bond of innocence with the 'Loud speaker'. Mike break the silence of everyone around. His presence is an experience. A loud experience! Menon has experienced Mike. Mike has showered color upon Menon's past and present. But... will he live for a future that he is yet to color for? Or will he live to be the reminder of a voice of nuisance or of the life and love that’s waiting?
Direction & Screenplay: Jayaraj