Cheran is an Indian film director and actor known for his works in Tamil cinema. He is a three time National Film Award winner for Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Autograph (2004) and Thavamai Thavamirundhu (2005). He has also won five Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and six South Filmfare Awards.
Cheran initially made a breakthrough as a director by making village-based drama films focusing on human relationships, and achieved critical acclaim for his work in Bharathi Kannamma (1997) and Porkkaalam (1997). He later moved on to work on themes exploring how globalisation affects the Indian middle class, and told the story of scam job offers in Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000) and village-to-city emigration in Pandavar Bhoomi (2001). His most renowned film till date, Autograph (2004), is a semi-autobiographical tale of a man at four stage of his life. He later also experienced success with the family drama film Thavamai Thavamirundhu (2005) and as an actor in films such as Pirivom Santhippom (2008) and Yuddham Sei (2011).
Cheran was born in Pazhaiyurpatty village near Madurai. His father Pandian was a film projector operator in Vellalur's touring theatre. His mother Kamala was a primary school teacher, and he has two sisters.
He came to Chennai to pursue a career in films, and was keen to become an actor. Initially, he started career as a production manager in some films. In the film Puriyaadha Pudhir (1990), he worked as an assistant director K. S. Ravikumar, and was later promoted to an associate director from Cheran Pandiyan (1992) to Nattamai (1994).
Cheran is married to Selvarani and has two daughters, Nivedha Priyadarshini and Damini.