Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Its well known that director-turned-cinematographer Jeeva was in the middle of his fourth film(as director) Dhaam Dhoom in Russia, when he passed away prematurely. The future of the film was naturally shaky after that. But his mentor P.C.Sriram has stepped in and offered to complete the film and the producer must be heaving a big sigh of relief.

I'm sure there have been more than a few instances of a director taking over a half-finished film but off the top of my head, I can remember only one. Kamalhassan took over Chachi 420, the Hindi remake of Avvai Shanmugi, from its original director after the two had some differences of opinion. Since Kamal ghost-directs most of his movies anyway(that was probably where the difference of opinion arose!), the change of directors probably didn't make much of a difference there.

As far as pedigree goes, one can't think of a better director to take over a film originally started by an ace cinematographer. Apart from being Jeeva's mentor, PC was probably the person most responsible for making viewers sit up and take notice of cinematography as an important component of a film. He won the National Award for Naayakan and worked on movies like Mouna Raagam, Agni Natchathiram, Thirudaa Thirudaa, Alaipaayuthey and Mugavari. He too turned to direction without giving up cinematography, his first love and has directed 3 films Meera, Kuruthippunal and Vaanam Vasappadum. But the two directors' style of filmmaking does make me wonder if it will be a smooth transition as far as Dhaam Dhoom is concerned.

PC's three films so far have all dealt with very heavy subjects. I don't remember much about Meera, his first film, apart from the fact that it starred Vikram and Ishwarya, but I have seen it and I don't think it was a candyfloss love story. Kurudhippunal was a stark, realistic and violent cop story about a policeman's single-minded pursuit of a terrorist while Vaanam Vasappadum was a bleak, depressing story about a woman's search for justice after being raped by two young boys(in fact, the romance was the weakest part of the film).

On the other hand, Jeeva's films have all been light-hearted, romantic entertainers. 12B dealt with 2 love stories in 2 parallel, alternate timelines in a man's life; Ullam Ketkume dealt with multiple love stories in a college setting; and Unnaale Unnaale revolved around a love triangle. All 3 films were slickly packaged with nice locations and great songs and were glossy. They had their share of serious storylines and poignant moments but no one would label them as tearjerkers or heavy movies.

According to the article, most of Dhaam Dhoom is finished and only the songs are left to be picturized. It will be interesting to see if we can spot the different styles of Jeeva and PC when the film arrives in theaters...


At 12:10 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...


I can't find many things wrong (technically and logically) in movies he has directed so far (officially).

One good thing about Virumaandi and Hey! Ram is that both had 10+ songs in them. No point I felt the burden of so many songs. The only sore point abt he directing movies is the movie might be 3/4 baked sometimes. You'll find brilliant spots here and there but not entirely

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, took me a moment to understand who were talking about :) i rated both 'hey ram' and 'virumandi' 3 1/2 stars and loved them. so no question about his talent as director. that was just an offhand comment since that was the only case i remembered :)

At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in 1981, Kamalahasan wielded the megaphone for Shankarlal (his first official attempt at direction) after the sudden demise of TN Balu in the middle of its making.

Talking of Kamal Haasan, I think PC Sreeram's brilliant work in Thevar Magan and Aboorva Sagotharargal are way too underrated; so much that they get no mention at all among his prominent films despite being very successful films!

At 2:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Meera wasn't a "heavy subject" as such, but nor a candyfloss love story, as you rightly recall.
It was a cross between an on-the-road love story and an action drama, and as half-hearted in its masala as it ever got. But for Raaja, best forgotten.

At 2:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baasha - 4 *
Hey Ram - 3.5*

Your ratings are LOL ! Continue your good work !

At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji!

Why is that when even "batchas" who just came to cinema field yesterday (or just today morning)ask for story and make corrections, it's seen as "involvement"?!!! But when Kamal-sir, (knowing that he LIVES for cinema) does the same thing, it's called "interference" or "ghost-directing"?!!! Don't you think it's unfair judgement? why can't we accept anybody who is obviously much more intelligent than we like them to be?!! (BTW, why he did not have "difference of opinion" with Mani, shankar, KSV and the likes?!! Also, when a Kamal/Rajini movie flops, have we ever blamed anybody else but them?!! So why can't we give them that freedom to "meddle" anyway?!!!) Sorry for my outburst, it's just that it's tiring to see him getting blamed unfairly almost for the last 15+ years!!!

At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said Sampal...

typical crab mentality...

that man dedicated his life for tamil movies and still gets blamed for everything..

when a director adds a song/fight to suit Vijay's image or rajini's image it is never "interfering".... it is part and parcel of making the movies...

Balaji's comment abt Chachi 420 was
uncalled for..

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

"Balaji's comment abt Chachi 420 was
uncalled for.."

Same here doofus.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

zero, wow definitely didn't know that piece of trivia. will file it away for future reference :)

and don't remember even as much as u about 'meera'. do remember i didn't like it. and yeah, great songs :)

anon, thanx :)

sampal/anon/anju, as far as i can tell, my only 2 comments were 1. kamal ghost-directs most of his movies and 2. he had a difference of opinion with his 'chachi 420' director. u guys seem to agree with comment 1 since u say he is more intelligent, he was 'involved', we need to give him freedom to 'meddle', etc. and comment #2 is just a known news item. so i'm not sure which comment was uncalled for.

this was a post on jeeva and PC and the only reason kamal even came in the picture was cos of the director change on 'chachi 420'. definitely wasn't intended to be a comment about his style. but this already looks like 1 of those posts where the comments take it in a totally different direction that the original post content :)

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Interesting that I dont remember that much of Meera as well.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

Except for Kurudhipunal, P.C.Sriram's other 2 movies are a complete let-down. I went to watch Vaanam vasappadum with very high hopes but was completely disappointed after watching it. Save for the photography, it was a must-miss movie :)

Like you said, all PC has to do is to shoot 4 songs. So, I am not sure if we will be able to see the 2 different styles of Jeeva & PC. But frankly, P.C.Sriram's camera work in the songs in Kanda Naal Mudhal were very uneasy on the eyes :(

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Arun Annamalai said...

Balaji, I think PC will stick to Jeeva's camera and directorial style and stay true to his vision, don't you think that should be the way to pay his tribute to Jeeva? Moreover, half the story is already told in Jeeva's syle.

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a correction BB,

Dhaam Dhoom was his fifth film following: 12B, Run (Hindi film - remake of tamil version done by Maddy), Ullam Ketkumae, Unnale Unnale then Dhaam Dhoom.

You mite want to change dat...:)

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, if I remember correctly (Che, Ram oor-la illaama poitaarE.. otherwise, he would have commented on this as well! :-) ;-).. Saratkumar's "Thalaimagan" was initially directed by a 'R.D.Balaji'.. Both Sarat and Radhika were not pleased by his efforts and tried to get A.Venkatesan (Sarath's personal favorite!) to finish the film. Venkatesan was busy with other commitments that he couldn't get out of. As a result, Saratkumar took over direction and shot the climax himself.

There were some news items in Indiaglitz sometime in early 2006 about it. Can't remember the exact month when these were published though.

If I remember correctly, there have been several films where the director has been changed midway (without a care for continuity or discrepancies in style!), but most of them have been smaller films with lower budgets, so they don't really stick to our minds immediately.

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI Thoothukudi was initially directed by somebody else and the hero Hariram tookover from him.

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Balaji, the "ghost direcst" isn't a pleasant term

At 9:54 PM, Blogger The Ink Blot said...

Ghost Direction is an english term, and I dont think its fair to blame Balaji for it. If Kamal (who I agree is one of our greatest and most dedicated legends) is more 'intelligent' as you say, then maybe he should direct all his movies himself.

The bottom line is that no one here knows what exactly those 'differences' between Kamal and the director were, so why blame each other for whether or not some comment was uncalled for? Kamal is a class act and he is well known for his involvement in almost all areas of his films. Ghost direction is a term, not an accusation.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger The Ink Blot said...

Anyway, back to topic (sorrying for going off topic balaji, but i felt like addressing that situation lol), I dont think we'll be able to distinguish between Sriram's work and Jeeva's as far as Dhaam Dhoom is concerned. P.C Sriram is a genius who can make his film look like anything he wants.

I'm sure he will study the look of Jeeva's film very closely and finish the remaining film from a purely professional point of view.

At 1:30 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

It looks like dasa is a time travel kind of Scifi comedy sourced from Tempus Fugit.

Of all the rumours till date, this one looks promising


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guyz, be scared, first threat to Sivaji was released today.....

**** Ennai Paar Yogam Varum *******

Starring Mansur Ali Khan.


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other films interrupted in the middle include:

Thalaimagan: ???? to Sarath Kumar
Thootukudi: Sanjay Ram to Harikumar
Parattai: Raju Sundaram to Suresh Krishna
Anbe Sivam: Priyadarshan to Kamal Haasan/Sundar C

Other Ghost directed films include:


At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys/Gals, Don't forget
1. Guna which was directed by Santanabharathy (Kamal's favorite dummy)
2. Baba
3. Valli
4. Almost all MGR films in Late 1970's

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guyz, I propose BBals direct Dham Dhoom & end this controversy :)

At 8:55 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

i think u guys have forgottem Arjun's "Parasauram". The original director was Shaji Kailash of "Janna" and "vajinathan" fame. Due to some difference between the Two, Arjun finally took over the whole film.

Arjun has a tendency to ghost direct his film..but suprisingly no one has ever mentioned about this!

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Kurudhipunal a remake of Govind Nihalani's film Drohkaal?

At 6:46 AM, Blogger The Ink Blot said...

Lol we're back to picking apart Ghost directors now...??


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