R. Balakrishnan or R. Balki as he is popularly known, is an Indian director and screenwriter, best known for films like Cheeni Kum and Paa. After completing college, Balki applied to the Madras Film Institute to learn filmmaking but things did not materialize. He went on to pursue a Masters in Computer Application, which also remained incomplete as he was expelled from the college due to inadequate attendance. At the young age of 23, he joined the ad agency Mudra. During his career, he has come up with popular taglines like “Daag Ache Hain” for Surf Excel, “Jaago Re” for Tata Tea and “Walk When You Talk” for Idea Cellular commercials. In 2007, he turned director for the Amitabh Bachchan-Tabu starrer Cheeni Kum. The film was critically acclaimed and brought him recognition. He followed it up with the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Paa (2009). The film, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Vidya Balan and Abhishek Bachchan, is about a boy suffering from progeria who tries to reunite his estranged parents. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, among other prestigious awards. Balki was also the screenwriter for these two films. He then turned producer for the comeback film of Sridevi, English Vinglish (2012). In 2015, he directed Shamitabh, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush. The film received a lukewarm response at the box office. His upcoming film is Ki & Ka, scheduled to release in 2016, and stars Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor. He also serves as the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of the ad agency Lowe Lintas. Balki is married to filmmaker and ad film director Gauri Shinde.