Adoor Gopalakrishnan was born in Kerala in 1941 into a family that patronised Kathakali and other performing arts. In 1962, he left a government job to study cinema at the Film Institute of India, Pune. Gopalakrishnan pioneered the film society movement in Kerala and formed India's first film co-operative for production, distribution and exhibition of quality films. He has scripted and directed 11 feature films and about 30 shorts and documentaries. Notable amongst the non-feature films are those on Kerala's performing arts. All his films have won national and international awards (National Award for best film twice, best director four times, and best script two times). His debut feature, "Swayamvaram" went on to win the national awards for best film, best director, best cameraman and best actress. In consideration of his contribution to Indian cinema, the nation honoured him with the Padmashri in 1984. In 2006, he received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement in cinema and an honorary degree of D. Litt from the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala. He is also recipient of India's top civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.