Tuesday, June 26, 2007

RIP - Jeeva

When I watch a movie, the actors, the director and the music director are who I notice first. There must be something special - something that really catches my eye - for me to seek out the names of other behind-the-scenes technicians like the cinematographer. Jeeva was one such cinematographer who made me seek out his name in movies he worked on. After working as cinematographer on some fantastic movies, he went on to make a name for himself as director too and his premature death yesterday in Russia came as a big shock.

Jeeva certainly learned from the best since he worked as an assistant to P.C.Sreeram. His first film as cinematographer was the Malayalam film Abhimanyu, directed by Priyadarshan (he worked with Priyadarshan in many of his later Hindi films, like Hera Pheri, Hulchul, Bhaagam Bhaag, etc.). In Tamil, Jeeva's name has figured on the credits of some big films. He was responsible in no small part for the sophisticated sheen of Shankar's first three ventures Gentleman, Kaadhalan and Indian. His work was particularly memorable in Indian where, whether in the grandeur of Kappaleri Poyaachu... or the intimacy of Pachai Kiligal..., his camera brought the film alive in front of our eyes. He then moved to direction but still left his mark as cinematographer in movies like Run and Sachein.

Jeeva turned director with the fantastic, very different 12B. Bravely selecting the very unique theme of parallel timelines, he guided the complicated screenplay with a firm hand, ending with a whopper of a climax. His second film Ullam Ketkume ran into a host of problems, including a title change, leading to a very delayed release. But luck favored him when the film came out since actors like Arya and Asin, for whom Ullam Ketkume was the debut film, had already become famous due to other releases. The film itself was a cute college romance, one of the few good films in that genre, and went on to become a hit. His last film Unnaale Unnaale was again a romance. It was too talky and not very practical but caught the fancy of the youth and became a hit. Jeeva was currently working on his fourth film, Dhaam Dhoom, with 'Jayam' Ravi, when suffered the cardiac arrest.

Tamil cinema has lost a very talented cinematographer and director. May his soul rest in peace...


At 11:27 PM, Blogger Shanthi said...

At the age 43 heart attack!
Is it bcos of food habits or work pressure ?!

Scary !

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep...very sad, so young
may he rest in peace
and my hearty condolences to his family

At 12:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cardiac arrest at such a young age. Reminds all of us to take a good look at our stress levels and food habits. :(

At 2:08 AM, Blogger D.E.V said...

i really gonna miss Jeeva. His recent film "Unale Unale" was one of my favorite movies of the year. i was really looking forward to his next film but looks like it would never be complete..

May Jeeva rest in peace, God bless him..

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

May Jeeva RIP, heart attack is even common in 20s these days :-(

At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inner circles confirm that he was a workaholic & alcoholic... Its really a great loss for Tamil cinema..

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...


You left Thevar Magan and upcoming Dasavatharam from the list :)

The latter will remain as his last work, heard from an interview that it has come out really well.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP Jeeva,

I was shocked to see Jeeva in the sify article. At first, had assumed there must be some older director by the same name. His talent is just awesome. One of the first films that made an impression on me as a kid was Gentleman, for it's photography. We have lost a good talent.


At 9:34 AM, Blogger The Visitor said...

Too shocked for words. His films (as a director) were certainly of a different class; there was something different about them.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Anu said...

Wow.. i was shocked,liked his movies and was looking forward to dhoom dham..my sympathies with his family and friends

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Inner circles confirm that he was a workaholic & alcoholic... "

How do you know ? Don't be spreading rumors !!

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Though I didn't like his Unnale unnale to his previous movies, no questions on his cinematography skills.
He was very rational, polite and making sense in one of his interviews I remember in Sun TV after Ullam ketkume's success.
Priyadharshan has said that just 2 days before his death, jeeva told him that he wants to return to his first love, cinematography.
Hope the recorded photographic moments remain with us for long.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

What a terrible loss. May his soul rest in peace.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Filbert said...

It indeed was a rude shock. He was one of the cinematographers who made us look forward to his movies just bcos of the cinematography. Like Srivatsan said, heart attacks are getting common even for folks in their 20s but Jeeva, I guess, is the first popular figure in TN to fall prey to this illness at such a young age. May his soul rest in peace.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was a terrific cinematographer and a pretty good director. I liked 12B and Ullam Ketkume. IMO his cinematography really uplifted Run, which had an ordinary story, but was shot in a fresh manner. He will be missed.

I hope that he has completed shooting much of Dhaam Dhoom and that someone else with a good eye will finish the film.

Hasn't Mani Ratnam had two heart attacks? It would be a shame to lose him too.

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ullam Ketkume was the best from him.

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blame it on bad eating and sleeping habits; the bane of all cinema: alcohol, smoking and drugs, erratic sexual lives and finally, last but not least (something that we all have no control over): bad genes... Whatever it may be, it is indeed up to us to make the right choices in life.

People in the cine world really need to take sometime to reflect on their current choices and stop to take a deep breath quite often. Exercise and good habits often take a back seat.

What a tragedy that we had to lose someone as talented as Jeeva in this unfortunate way. I would have very much preferred to have lost him to the Telugu movie industry or Bollywood (or even Hollywood) and have Balaji do a post on how we lose yet another promising Tamil director to another film industry. At least, he would have been alive!.. I am deeply saddened to see that we may have to start all over to create someone like Jeeva again.. There are actually very few good directors in the genre that he specialized in. Finding someone of the same calibre is a tough one!

My condolences to his poor family..who are probably stunned by this sudden loss..

Ravi K, with regards to Mani, if I remember correctly.. he has had 3 attacks and at the end of the last one, the doctor must have literally slapped him to his senses; because he has lost weight since (and probably does something to exercise and keep the weight in check!). I would like to think Mani has indeed learned his lesson. I pray that he has!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger oLi said...

Hi Balaji,

I took the liberty to link your post from my blog - http://oliyile.blogspot.com/2007/07/review-unnale-unnale.html . Let me know if that is ok.


At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Rajaraman. Jeeva and I studied together at National College in Trichy. Right then, he was a perfectionist. A guy who worked hard to get his expected results. 'Ore thatile sapitavanga'

When I spoke to his manager, I was told he had pulmonary embolism. This occurs when someone is working in a crouching position for longer period of time. Blood clot occurs. It may be his profession of being in crouching position that caused the sudden demise.

I pray for the goodwill of his family. A great soul. He will be remembered by his collegemates who were still his close friends, Ammaiappan, V. Sriram, Sreedhargopal, Rajarajan and others.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to give my email address.



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