Priyadarshan hails from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala where his father Mr.Nair worked as a librarian at the University of Kerala. There, Priyadarshan got the opportunity to read literary works of famous writers. He was completely fascinated by comics and fairy tales. As a child, Priyadarshan aspired to be a cricketer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t turn it into reality as he injured his left eye by a cricket ball, and till date he wears dark glasses when appearing in public. He then took up a job with All India Radio. Priyadarshan started his career drawing inspiration from Mickey Mouse, Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin. It was actor Mohanlal, his college friend, who urged him to get into the film industry since he wrote short stories. Initially he wrote scripts for Malayalam films. In 1984 he directed his first film, Poochakkoru Mookkuthi in Malayalam, which was a blockbuster. After this came a series of hits like Thalavattam (1986), Chitram (1988), Vandanam (1989), Kilukkam (1991), Thenmavin Kombath (1994), and Chandralekha (1997).
Priyadarshan marked his debut in Bollywood with the movie Muskurahat (1992), which was a remake of Malayalam film Kilukkam. The film starred Jay Mehta and Revathy in lead roles. This movie was a complete failure at the box office. Gardish (1993), Priyadarshan’s second Hindi film, was quite successful. The movie starred Jackie Shroff and Dimple Kapadia, besides others. It was a remake of the Malayalam film Kireedam (1989). Priyadarshan then directed Kala Pani (1996), starring Mohanlal and Tabu, which won huge critical acclaim. Next, he made Virasat (1997), starring Anil Kapoor and Tabu, which was a remake of remake of the acclaimed Kamal Hassan starrer Tamil film Thevar Magan. The movie did average business at the box-office, but was a critical success. The film won many awards. Priyadarshan’s popularity was then increasing. In 1997, Priyadarshan also made Saat Rang Ke Sapne, starring Arvind Swamy and Juhi Chawla, which failed to do well. It was a remake of his Malayalam film Thenmavin Kombath. Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1998) was Priyadarshan’s next film, starring Akshaye Khanna and Jyothika in pivotal roles. The film flopped, but still was quite appreciated. He then directed Kabhi Na Kabhi (1998), starring Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor. This movie failed as well. After a couple of years, Priyadarshan came back with Hera Pheri (2000), starring Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty. It was a commercial as well as a critical success, and is known as one of the best comedies ever made. Following the huge success, he made a series of comedy flicks, most of which clicked. Hungama (2003) and Hulchul (2004), both starring Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal, were successful. Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar (2001), starring Suniel Shetty and Mahima Chaudhry, unfortunately flopped. In 2005, Priyadarshan directed two films, viz. Garam Masala, starring Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, and Kyon Ki…, starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The former was successful, while the latter flopped inspite of decent performances. 2006 was a good year, with all three of his films becoming a commercial success. Malamaal Weekly, starring Paresh Rawal and Om Puri, was widely appreciated. Chup Chup Ke, starring Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor, gained mediocre success. The music of the film was very popular. Bhagam Bhag, starring Akshay Kumar and Govinda together for the first time, proved to be successful. Dhol (2007), starring Sharman Joshi, Kunal Khemu and others, did average business. Priyadashan’s last film was Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), starring Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan. The movie, a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu, became a super-hit. Even its music was among the best of the year.
Priyadarshan’s forthcoming films include Chandralekha (2008), starring Anil Kapoor and Tabu and Billoo Barber starring Shahrukh Khan and Irfan Khan. Priyadarshan has won awards both from the State and Central Government for his films. He won the Kerala State Award for Best Director in 1995. His mulitilingual film Kala Pani (1996), which told the story of freedom fighters in the jail at Andaman and Nicobar islands, bagged 4 National Awards.
Priyadarshan met his wife, Malayalam actress Lizzy, on the sets of his second film. They have worked together in twelve movies. He has two children, daughter Kalyani and son Sidharth. Actor Mohanlal is one of Priyadarshan's closest friends. Mohanlal has played the lead character in some of Priyadarshan’s most successful films. Their best work till date has been considered to be Chithram (1987). Another movie Kilukkam was one of the biggest hits in the history of Malayalam cinema. Priyadarshan often works with the technical team comprising of N. Gopalakrishnan (editor), S. Kumar (cinemotography) and Sabu Cyril (art director). He can reduce the budget of a Hindi movie by half, just on the strength of his pace of work. His Rs 3.5 crore magnum opus Kala Pani was shot in 72 days. Most of Priyadarshan’s Hindi films are a copy of earlier English or Malayalam Films. For instance, Doli Saja Ke Rakhna was a copy of Aniyathi Pravu, Hera Pheri was a remake of Ramji Rao Speaking, Garam Masala was a remake of Boeing Boeing, Malamaal Weekly was a copy of Waking Ned and Dhol was a copy of In Harihar Nagar.