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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Let me Direct too

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(Caution: Beware of the length of this post. It may be injurious to your precious time)

In the last couple of days, I had observed several Cinematographer-turned-directors hitting the headlines.

BaluMahendra ('Athu Oru kanakalam')
Thangar Bachan ('Chidambarathil Oru Appasamy')
Jeeva ('Ullam Ketkumae')
KV.Anand ('Kana Kanden')
Vijay Milton (For Cheran's new movie)

Does it mean that many more Cameramen will be vying for the director's role in future? Possibility is there.. But what about the success rate? Let us spend some time with the existing personalities and find out....


Balu Mahendra - alias Benjamin Mahendra, a National award winning Cameraman-cum-Director, had made several interesting movies. His directorial debut 'Kokila' in Kannada bagged him the National award (in addition to several other national awards). His first tamil movie 'Azhiyaatha Kolangal' was a wonderful piece at that time, different from the main stream cinema, which made the audience to turn their attention to this person.


Courtesy: The Hindu

Most of his movies had strong female characters - like Shoba, Mounica, Saritha, Sridevi, Archana, Revathi etc., He balanced their potential with his camera and message, with which he handled several issues at ease. With these strengths, he made Kokila (kannada), Azhiyatha Kolanagal, Moodu Pani, Moonram pirai, Neengal Kettavai, Veedu, Sandhya Ragam, Rettai Vaal Kuruvi, Vanna Vanna Pookkal, Marupadiyum, Sathi Leelavathi, Raman Abdullah, Julie Ganapathy and few malayalam movies like 'Olangal' 'Yathra' etc., Most of the movies were talked-about ones, irrespective of commercial success.

After a break from the main stream cinema, he is coming back now with 'Athu Oru Kanakaalam'. Hope this movie does magic in the box office, to give a mental strength to this director and Dhanush (whose status is at an all-time low).

Ashok Kumar - The ace cameraman who had worked in films like Sooriyan, Jeans, Nanditadass's 'Sandstorm' (hindi) etc., had directed several controversial movies earlier. His 'Andru Peitha Mazhaiyil', the remake of 'Fatal attraction' was a controversial one at that time. He followed that with some hindi titles 'Kaamagni', 'Khajuraho' with his son in the lead, to woo the crowd. Even then, he couldn't register himself as a successful director, inspite of his nice camera tactics. His name was well known for his Cameraman role rather than the director role.


With 'Jeans' Team -- Pic Courtesy: TamilEntertainment.com

Suresh Menon - He came to the light all of a sudden when Revathy announced her marriage with him, during 'Punnagai Mannan's shoot. After marriage, he tried his luck into production & direction of 'Pudhiya Mugam' (Vineeth & Menon himself) and 'Paasa Malargal' (Arvind Samy, Revathy). But he couldn't succeed as a director, irrespective of Revathy magic. After making couple of tele serials, he is not in the scene anymore even as a cameraman. Does anyone know?

BR.Vijayalakshmi - India's first woman cinematographer & daugher of yesteryear family director Bandulu, directed 'Paatu Paada Vaa', which didn't succeed well in the BO. (just recall that jogging song 'Nil nil nil, pathil sol sol sol..' by IR). It seems, she has now moved into TV productions, after staying behind the camera for a while. Wise lady...and nice move.

PC.Sriram - He shot to the fame & is remaining at that level still, with his splendid work in films like Mouna Raagam, Nayagan, Agni Nakshatiram, May Madham, Kadhalar Dhinam, Idhayathai Thirudhathe, Apoorva Sagotharargal, Gopura Vasalile, Thiruda Thiruda and Alai Payuthey.

This Picture itself is poetic, isn't it? Pic Courtesy: Rediff

Eventhough he succeeded well behind the camera in movies & ad films, his directorial ventures didn't succeed commercially. Vikram's 'Meera' was a complete wash out, even though Kamal's 'Kuruthi Punal' and the recent 'Vaanam Vasapadum' were well appreciated for their stories. Hope to see many more magical camera work from this gentleman, who had trained many more young Cinematographers.

Rajiv Menon - Son of Mrs.Kalyani Menon (a Carnatic Musician - who delivered the initial lines of ARR's 'Alai Payuthee' number), he made his mark as a director with his hit-products 'Minsaara Kanavu' and 'Kandukondein Kandkukondein'. He had handled such a big star cast in both the movies successfully, eventhough screenplay wise he didn't impress me that well.


Handsome director. Pic Courtesy: ScreenIndia.com

Eventhough, his work as a Cinematographer for movies like Mani's 'Bombay', Girish Karnad's Cheluvi (Kannada), Shabna Azmi's 'Morning Raga' (Hindi) were well appreciated, he prefers to work more for ads. He has proved that he is a good master to extract emotions within that 1 minute. Just recall, some of his hit ads -- Horlicks, Coke, Cadburys, 'Shu shu Sugar boy' Bru ads. He even acted in one of the teleserial from Revathy's house. A capable guy, to act as an hero also.., if there is anyone to exploit it properly.

Santosh Sivan - He cranked the camera for several intersting movies like Thalapathi, Roja, Indira, Iruvar, Dil Se, Kalapani (Malayalam), Fiza (Hindi), Meenaxi:tale of 3 cities (Hindi), etc., Most of them were well noted movies, thanks to Sivan as well as the directors like Mani, Priyadharashan, MF. Hussein. In addition to winning the five national awards for cinematography he fulfilled his ambition of direction with movies like The Terrorist, Malli, Shah Rukh's Ashoka etc.,He was acclaimed internationally for several of the above ventures.


Courtesy: The Rediff

He was in the headlines recently, for a new malayalam movie. Hope to see many more classics from this potential person.

Thangar Bachan - He was behind the camera for many movies like Kadhal Kottai, Kaalamellam Kathal Vazhga, Bharathi, Pandavar Bhoomi etc., before moving into direction. Eventhough, his directorial ventures 'Azhagi', 'Solla Marantha Kathai' & 'Thendral' came out well, he couldn't make them commercially successful. Now he is getting into his new venture 'Chidambarathil oru Appasamy' with Navya Nair. His risk taking ability has to be appreciated well, because he is doing the lead role too. Keep the fingers crossed.. He may repeat the magic of 'Azhagi'.


Great Risk taking ability. Pic Courtesy - Yahoo

Jeeva - Inspite of his good run as a cameraman in movies like Vaali, Kushi, Snehgithiye, Run, Sachein etc., his stint as a director didn't run smoothly. His first movie '12B' was not a commercial hit eventhough it had both the top heroines of that time. His next venture 'Ullam Ketukumae' got released now (thru Supreme Court order), after staying in the can for 2 years. Eventhough, both his movies got decent reviews, BO success was not tasted by him. Will he go back to his Camera works in full swing & continue to register his name there?

KV.Anand - A talented former assistant of PC.Sriram, moved back to the headlines once again, for the reviews he got for his directorial debut 'Kana Kanden'. He, who got the national award for his very first film (Malayalam `Thenmavin Kombathu') has done several other memorable movies too as a Cameraman. Look into the list - Kadhal Desam, Mudhalvan, Virumbugiraen, Chellamae, Josh, The legend of Bhagat Singh, Khakhee etc., Hope he can deliver a lot more, in the near future.


Courtesy: The Hindu

Vijay Milton - had done some wonderful work behind the camera in movies like Vijay's Endrendrum Kaathal, Autograph, Srikanth's Bose, the latest sensational hit Kaadhal etc., Now he is trying his tricks as a director in Cheran's new production 'Azhagay Irrukirai Bayamai Irukiradhu' with Bharath in the lead. (Following the hindi films, in lengthy naming conventions) Can this new director make the entry a memorable one for him, like his other camera works? Too early to say, but let us wish that he does it.

Our Team's analysis shows that every C-T-D is not winning the race. Still, nothing wrong in some more directors in the fray. However,they should know that they can't depend on their camera skills alone. Something more are required for a director's role, which are the story and screenplay. If they can provide some interesting stuff, the audience will allow them to succeed in their new roles as well.

Let us wish for more breeze in the filmworld with this technically excellent directors.

Report Courtesy: Our DBI team officials
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31 Comments:

Blogger PVS said...

Nice analysis and interesting stuff as usual. I learn more about Indian Cinema from your blogs than from anywhere else!!!

Thursday, June 09, 2005 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger G3 said...

directors turning heroes ... cinematographers turning directors ... wonder what next?

Thursday, June 09, 2005 7:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Prasanna said...

Hi Ram,

Guess the C-T-Ds start believing that just their close association with directors in their work as camera-men will help them cross the rubicon!

But,isn't movie-making is glorified 'story-telling'...so, guess they've to sharpen their other skills before they wield the megaphone!

BTW, Marudanayagam's cinematographer (for the 30% that's been shot) was Ravi.K.Chandran & not Santosh Sivan!

How could the DBI team have gone wrong!!! ;)Netrikann thirappinum kutram kutamae!!! :D

Cheers,
Prasanna

Thursday, June 09, 2005 7:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

PVS.. Still 'n' of things to know...


Gayathri .. "Directors turned heroes" --?? I hv not started the project yet... eventhough, it is on the cards. I think, you are referring to "Singers turning to Actors"....

Thursday, June 09, 2005 8:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Prasanna

Thanks for the comments...I found your info here and am correcting my post...

http://members.fortunecity.com/lepem98/Kamal.htm

But, I was mislead by these pages as well..., when I posted them initially.

http://www.beer1.freeler.nl/PaginasDoPh/sivan.htm
http://www.chennaionline.com/promos/balleballe/cast.asp


Anyhow, thanks for highlighting it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005 8:11:00 PM  
Blogger thennavan said...

Enna thavam seidannai en Ram.C
Engum nirai thirai seidhigal
ammamma endru solla

Enna thavam seidannai

:-)

Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:42:00 PM  
Anonymous kavitha said...

very interesting collection of data. In fact some of these movies are my favorites. To name a few, mudu pani, thendral, azhagi, julie ganapathy , malli...

Thursday, June 09, 2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Very interesting... Honestly, I dunno what to comment for I am in awe abt your knowledge on cine world.

Thursday, June 09, 2005 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ram

Another very well compiled report from thupariyum Ram and co

Very interesting to read. I might actually stop buying tamil mags if you can continue these sort of reports

Thuglak

Thursday, June 09, 2005 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger G3 said...

Ram, I was refering to directors such as Cheran, S.J. Suryah, Thankar Bachan and the likes!

I am not sure, but werent Bhagyaraj, Parthiban directors before turning heroes?? I may be wrong!

Thursday, June 09, 2005 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger IBH said...

Ram, superb collection of data...

Gayathri,
yeah they were heroes before turning into heroes...and I also wonder these cameo apperences of the directors..P.Vasu,Ravikumar....i think it all started with Alfred Hitchcock!btw, am going to write about Alfred Hitchcock..he has been my all time fav of all directors..

Friday, June 10, 2005 6:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ganesh said...

Ram nice ones.
BTW I have book tagged you so its your turn to come up with the list :)

Friday, June 10, 2005 7:19:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

thennavan / kavitha / chakra / ibh

thanks for your comments

thuglak

so, can i charge you?

gayathri..I got what you meant.. next one may be actors-turning-to be cameramen...

ganesh

thanks for tagging me..... i need to work on it.

Friday, June 10, 2005 7:45:00 AM  
Blogger Ansh said...

hey ram
cool post!

Friday, June 10, 2005 8:04:00 AM  
Blogger Cipher said...

What next ? What about - Directors turned producers ?!

Friday, June 10, 2005 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

thanks ansh

cipher.. thanks for dropping by...what next? good question!!! but there 'n' no.of things to discuss, isn't it? Will discuss one by one.....

Friday, June 10, 2005 7:16:00 PM  
Blogger Me said...

god...u r a database of film related stuff.....

Friday, June 10, 2005 9:42:00 PM  
Blogger sophie said...

no comments for cinema stuff

Saturday, June 11, 2005 4:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ram,
hey i am a firstie visitor to ur page.
Your post reminds me of wat Girish Kasarvalli said in an interview... any movie made not for commercial acclaim, if made in hindi or hinglish is seen by the urban audiences in multiplexes branding them as "Multiplex cinema"...while cinema of much better standards down here say in kannada, tamil or malyalam is seen as regional, and hardly finds anytakers.

Find it derogatory, when hindi movie stars project bolywood films alone at IIFA award Amsterdam etc... what they dont realize is INDIAN CINEMA is much more than BOLLYWOOD. It includes tamil,kannada, bengali etc... , if they can not forward all language cinema they should stop callying it INDIAN FILM AWARDS and restrict to callying it say bombay film industry.

Definitely saying indian cinema is bollywood is very derogatory as Bollywood is not capable of fraction of standards achievable in regional cinema( i sound excessively chauvanistic, but that is true isnt it? ) The standard of films churned by some of the non bollywood film folks is much much much superior compared to abyssmal quality work doled out by Bollywood....
Sathya

Saturday, June 11, 2005 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ram,
hey i am a firstie visitor to ur page.
Your post reminds me of wat Girish Kasarvalli said in an interview... any movie made not for commercial acclaim, if made in hindi or hinglish is seen by the urban audiences in multiplexes branding them as "Multiplex cinema"...while cinema of much better standards down here say in kannada, tamil or malyalam is seen as regional, and hardly finds anytakers.

Find it derogatory, when hindi movie stars project bolywood films alone at IIFA award Amsterdam etc... what they dont realize is INDIAN CINEMA is much more than BOLLYWOOD. It includes tamil,kannada, bengali etc... , if they can not forward all language cinema they should stop callying it INDIAN FILM AWARDS and restrict to callying it say bombay film industry.

Definitely saying indian cinema is bollywood is very derogatory as Bollywood is not capable of fraction of standards achievable in regional cinema( i sound excessively chauvanistic, but that is true isnt it? ) The standard of films churned by some of the non bollywood film folks is much much much superior compared to abyssmal quality work doled out by Bollywood....


Sathya
techwiz.rediffblogs.com

Saturday, June 11, 2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Prabu Karthik said...

One true rival to "Film News" Anandhan :-D.

I was expecially interested since i was totally smitten by this camera bug during my teen years.
the primary culprit being the combo of mani ratnam and PC.

Your facts are spot on.
But what exactly you mean by success ram?

If u remember "moodu pani" now i think then its a successful movie.
Same with santosh sivan's work.
All those who have mentioned here except maybe for ashok kumar made films you can watch even now.

if u go by commercial success alone then u need to count KS Ravikumar and P Vasu then S P Muthuraman and that nice soul by name Rama. Narayanan as very successful directors.
Commercialy successful maybe but what about impact?

If u go by impact then bharathiraja, KB, Mani ratnam, Mahendran all come into the picture even though their box office ventures have been mixed.

mani's success is a question mark in the so called B and C centers...


My point is the concept of successful should be broad enough to include "makkalai muttal aakadha cinema".

In that aspect i think all cameramen except ashok kumar have been successful as directors.

Enough of my rambling here.
Good post. good research.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger ioiio said...

nadamaadum cinema encyclopedia sorry wikipaedia pola!

Saturday, June 11, 2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cogito said...

The most important person next to the director is the cameraman and its no wonder many cameramen turned later into direction. Another Global name you can add is " David Lean" , the man who gave us classics like Lawerence of Arabia,Bridge on the river Kwai etc..

Btw, I have book tagged you. Pls do the honours ( Visit my Blog for more info) .

Saturday, June 11, 2005 7:39:00 PM  
Blogger sen said...

i liked the warning.iam sure it would have taken a lot of time to put this lengthy post.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 9:18:00 PM  
Blogger sen said...

BTW how did Neengal Kettavai, end up in the good movies list of balu mahendra?.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 9:24:00 PM  
Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Ram, You've touched some great people here. I wanted to read it slowly..so I chose a late saturday night. Its wonderful indeed.

Balu Mahendra - My favorite, Moonram pirai ! was a masterpiece. I remember a TV serial I watched in 1997/98 by Balu. It was amazing. I am waiting to see adhu voru ( though I just can't stand that hero).

Ashok kumar - brought back memories of my heartthrob Silk.!! in Andru peitha mazhaiyil. Great guy indeed.

PC Sriram - Made a special mark for himself. Feast to watch as a camera man.

Rajiv Menon - My favorite. I am waiting to see his next tamil film. His films excel in all aspects, which he plans so well IMHO.

Santhosh Sivan - Amazing guy.!

KV Anand - I missed his new movie. Let's see if it comes out in DVD.

Jeeva - 12B is IMHO a masterpiece. I have the DVD at home. What a movie. I feel sad that his career hasn't taken off.

Thangar Bachan - He is fantastic too.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Me / Sophie / IOIIO - thanks for your views....

Sathya ...thanks for visiting.. Hope you read my prev.post on the quality of the indian film industry as well... As you said quality is important for the Bollywood flms to stand in the international stage.

Sunday, June 12, 2005 3:04:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Prabhu Karthik... thanks for dropping by. Success in my perception is nothing but presening a quality product and getting a recognisition. (eventhough both won't happen at the same time..)

Some of these directors work didn't succeed due to non-acceptance of the stories by the audience. Take Julie Ganapathy... Eventhough, some corners liked it, the story wsa not impressive....

As you said, except Ashok Kumar, others delivered some memorable movies..

Sunday, June 12, 2005 3:19:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Cogito.. I don't hv that much awareness about Hollywood technicians... anyhow, thanks for your views.

Senthil... I didn't mention 'Neengal Kettavai' as one of his good movies. I just listed down all his main movies there. Out of the list, 'Neengal Kettavai', 'Raman Abdullah' etc., are not great movies from his list.

Mr.Narayanan.. I remember BM's 'Kathai Neram' which you had mentioned... I included it in my draft initially and removed it later... I agree with you that it was one of his great pieces.

Sunday, June 12, 2005 3:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

suhasini-ya marunduteengale? She trained in film institute to be a camera man and has worked in a few movies as a camerawoman.... then came acting and then directing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 1:50:00 PM  
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