He is known for realistic and sensitive portrayal of rural life in his films. As of 2017, he has won six National Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards South, two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and a Nandi Award. He has also directed films in Telugu and Hindi. The Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri in 2004 for his contribution to the film industry.
S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki, Malaysia Vasudevan, Deepan Chakravarthy, Uma Ramanan, Jency Anthony, S.P. Sailaja, Ilaiyaraaja, P. Jayachandran