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Rajiv Menon is an Indian filmmaker who has worked as a director and cinematographer in both feature films and television advertisements. His two directed films, Minsara Kanavu (1997) and Kandukondain Kandukondain (2001), were critically acclaimed romantic musical films. He worked as a cinematographer in films including Cheluvi, Bombay, Morning Raga, Guru, Kadal. Menon has also set up Rajiv Menon Productions and Mindscreen, which supplies equipment for documentaries, advertising films and cinema. He started MIndscreen Film Institute.
Menon's first feature directorial venture was Minsara Kanavu. His second feature directorial venture was Kandukondain Kandukondain. In addition to directing the film, he also wrote the story and screenplay for the film.
Rajiv was born in Kochi, Kerala to the popular Malayalam and Tamil film playback singer Kalyani Menon. He had the chance to travel across India at a very young age as his father, a naval officer, got transferred often. He later joined the M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute to study cinematography. Menon did his schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Madras. He started off as cinematographer with Prathap K. Pothan's Telugu film, Chaitanya at the age of 25. However, he got his major breakthrough as a cinematographer with Mani Ratnam's Bombay; Menon's second film.
Following the success of his first film, Menon went onto make another poignant love saga adapted from the novel, "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. The film is known for its star cast and mellifluous songs from A.R.Rahman.
The release of Menon's second and third feature films were separated by eighteen years. In 2006, Menon worked on a Hindi adaptation of the comedy drama Fiddler on the Roof, and hoped to sign Amitabh Bachchan to play the lead role. However, the project was put on hold and eventually did not materialise. Menon later narrated a script to Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan for a project titled Dhun during late 2008, and the pair agreed to work on the film. The script was inspired by Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Abhimaan (1973) but failed to take off after the actors became busy with other projects. Menon then agreed to work on a biopic of Carnatic singer M. S. Subbulakshmi for producer Somaprasad during January 2012, which would be based on the book MS, A Life In Music by T. J. S. George. However in February 2013, Menon confirmed that he would begin work on an unrelated project with a similar script and a bigger budget, and that Vidya Balan had agreed to essay the lead role of the singer. Soon after the project was confirmed, Somaprasad filed for a stay on the film's production and subsequently won a court case to prevent Menon from making the film. Apart from writing and scrapping potential film ideas, Menon continued work as a teacher at his film institute and as a director for advertisements. He also worked with Mani Ratnam as the cinematographer for the director's films, Guru (2007) and Kadal (2013).
After a brief gap in feature films, he is coming back with his latest creation, Sarvam Thaala Mayam featuring G.V. Prakash. The film is set in a musical background and tells the story of an aspiring percussionist.
Menon started his career in the field of ad-photography, and then went on to make a number of TV commercials. He entered the field during the early days (1980s) when competition was nil. It was the time when A. R. Rahman decided to do music on his own. They become friends and his creativeness was combined with A. R. Rahman's musical Jingles. He did his first Jingle in a national wide ad with him (Allwyn Trendy Watches). So far, Rajiv has done many ads with A. R. Rahman's Jingles. Noteworthy ones are for Airtel, Colgate, Palmolive, Titan, Asian Paints, Raymonds, Coca Cola.
Rajiv Menon's production house was ranked No.3 by Economic Times Mumbai in 2006. The next year's ranking saw the company move to No.2. Rajiv Menon's production house is set up in Chennai and his agency clients range from Ogilvy & Mather, Lintas, Rediffusion, Hindustan Thompson Associates, to even smaller ones like Zero Degree Design Studio, Rubecon and Situations Advertising.
His recent work includes a film about seven great Carnatic musicians. This documentary was made for the event of releasing the coffee-table book "Voices Within" by the contemporary musicians T.M Krishna and Bombay Jayashree. The documentary by Rajiv Menon captures the qualities of these music stalwarts.
- 1998 - Harikrishnans as Guptan
- 2001 - Ussele Ussele - Tamil pop album featuring singers: Sreenivas, Karthik and Timmy
- Sudhish Kamath. "Look what's brewing". The Hindu.
- "The Hindu: Breaking News, India News, Elections, Bollywood, Cricket, Video, Latest News & Live Updates". The Hindu.
- "Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Study at Rajiv Menon's institute". The Hindu. 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
- "I have 6 scripts that are ready: Rajiv Menon". The Times of India.
- "Rajiv Menon's institute offers course in cinematography". The Hindu.
- "Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Rajiv Menon's institute offers course in Cinematography". The Hindu. 2006-05-06. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
- Rajiv Menon Productions ranked as No.3, Economic Time Mumbai's Production House Ranking.