Education & Community

Pioneering the Malay Film Industry
Tan Sri Lakshmanan Krishnan is a renowned filmmaker credited with shaping the early Malaysian film industry and launching the careers of legendary actors, one of whom is Tan Sri P. Ramlee. Through his popular song-dance-and-drama features and horror films, Tan Sri L. Krishnan gained prominence in the 1950s, creating some of Malaysia’s most popular hits of the era.

While Tan Sri L. Krishnan has worked in many foreign film industries, his innovative and influential work managed to capture the quintessential Malaysian spirit of creativity and perseverance. Over six decades, Tan Sri L. Krishnan, a visionary and influential individual deeply committed to the cultural and economic advancement of Malaysia's film and entertainment industry, has played a pivotal role in fortifying the Malaysian film sector through his proactive advocacy and efforts, ultimately leaving a lasting impact on the scene.
P. Ramlee's visionary partner
Born in Madras, India in 1922 and raised in Penang, Tan Sri L. Krishnan attended Bukit Mertajam High School, where he completed his Senior Cambridge in 1941.

During the Japanese Occupation, he briefly worked as a translator. In 1946, the British army sent him back to Madras, India, and shortly after, he secured a position as an assistant film director at Kalairani Film. Following this, in 1949, he relocated to Singapore and became a film director at Shaw Studio.

It was during this time that Tan Sri L. Krishnan first crossed paths with the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee in 1941. Much of P. Ramlee's exceptional success at Shaw Brother's Jalan Ampas studios was due to Tan Sri L. Krishnan’s vision and his team of experienced film crews, choreographers, and directors.
Throughout his extensive career as a filmmaker and cultural advocate, Tan Sri L. Krishnan has directed over 30 films, collaborating with esteemed Malaysian movie figures including Datuk Maria Menado, the late Kasma Booty, and the late Datuk Mustapha Maarof.

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Rise to stardom
As a filmmaker and cultural advocate, Tan Sri L. Krishnan collaborated with famous Malaysian artists and directed notable films featuring P. Ramlee including "Bakti" (1950), "Takdir Ilahi" (1950), "Penghidupan" (1951), and "Antara Senyum dan Tangis" (1952). His films that used  the well-tested formula of song-dance-and-drama were a hit amongst the audience.
Tan Sri L. Krishnan also broke new grounds in film in the early days when he ventured into the genre of horror films through “Orang Lichin” (1957); “Orang Minyak” (1958); and “Serangan Orang Minyak” (1959).
Acknowledged for his cinematography work in Shaw Brothers, Cathay Keris Studio, and Studio Merdeka, Tan Sri L. Krishnan received accolades like the Anugerah P. Ramlee at the 12th Malaysia Festival in 1995 and the Galeri Sinema Melayu Award for his pioneering contributions to the Malay Film Industry in 1996.

After making his mark In Singapore for 11 years, he came to Kuala Lumpur to work for the late Ho Ah Loke at Merdeka Studio where he directed many films that captured the early romanticism and idealism of Malaysia and its people.

The long-standing impact of his Merdeka Studio films had carved the path for FINAS, or the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia. FINAS retained the original Merdeka Studio complex as a tribute to Tan Sri L. Krishnan’s contribution in promoting the local film industry.

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Contribution to the country
In 1970, Tan Sri L. Krishnan formed Gaya Filem Berhad. He successfully advocated for protective tariffs and persuaded the government to impose a 50% surcharge followed by a complete ban on foreign-produced commercials. This move bolstered the film industry in Malaysia.
Apart from just films, in 1980 Tan Sri L. Krishnan also garnered attention by founding the groundbreaking 16-track Gaya Music Studio, contributing to the burgeoning music industry in the country.
Two years later, he continued to be a trailblazer, establishing the first motion picture Colour Laboratory. His leadership prowess was recognised when Datuk Harris Salleh, the Chief Minister of Sabah, invited him to chair the Borneo Film Organisation Sabah. In 1984, Tan Sri L. Krishnan's contributions expanded further as he assumed the role of Chairman at Cathay Organisation Malaysia.

For his numerous film accolades and contributions to the industry’s growth, Tan Sri L. Krishnan is recognised through numerous awards, including Setia Mahkota Selangor (1976), Dato’ Seri Nilam DiRaja (1978), Kesatria Mangku Negara (1990), Panglima Jasa Negara (2003), Panglima Setia Mahkota (2011), Associated of Accredited Advertising Agent Annual Award (1986), Malaysian Video Award (MVA Millennium Award, 1999), Rotary International Service Above Self Award (1999), International Tamil Film Awards (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003), 50th Asia-Pacific Film Festival (2005), Seniman-Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), Anugerah Seri Temasek (2011), Anugerah Tokoh Perfileman Malaysia (2013), 1Malaysian of the Year – National Press Club Malaysia (2014), and South India Cinematography Award (2015).

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The information in this award recipient's profile is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the time the award was presented. Any subsequent changes, updates, or developments in the individual's life or achievements may not be reflected in this profile.
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