11 October 1974
Tamil Nadu, India
|Years active||2007 – present|
Ram is an Indian film director, who works in Tamil cinema. After assisting Hindi directors Rajkumar Santoshi and working under Balu Mahendra, he made his directorial debut with Kattradhu Thamizh (2007), which fetched him strong critical acclaim. His second film Thanga Meengal (2013) also won critical praise and three National Film Awards. He released his next film Taramani in August 2017 which was critically acclaimed and a box-office hit. His fourth film Peranbu starring Mammootty was premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam in January 2018.
Ram, while he was pursuing a Master of Arts postgraduate degree in Tamil literature at the Madras Christian College, began writing short stories in Tamil language. He met director Thangar Bachan and worked with him in a few films, who[who?] recommended that he meet Hindi film director Rajkumar Santoshi. Since he could not understand Hindi and was unaware about Hindi films and hence did not know who Rajkumar Santoshi was, he was initially reluctant, but eventually decided to meet him and joined him as a script writer, moving to Mumbai subsequently. Ram worked together with Santoshi in several Hindi films, including Pukar (2000) and Lajja (2001), and helped him in shaping the story of Lajja.
Ram revealed that he first had planned to make a "cross-over English film on man-woman relationship" and approached Balu Mahendra to handle the cinematography, since he felt Mahendra's style suited his script best. The project failed to take off, but Ram continued working with Mahendra. Though he did not assist him in any of his films, Ram considers Balu Mahendra as his teacher, who, he says, "converted" him "from being a film maniac to a film student" as he also learned about cinematic techniques from him, particularly about cinematography.
By mid-2006, Ram began working on his directorial debut, initially being titled as Tamil M.A., which was later changed to Kattradhu Thamizh to get exempted from the entertainment taxation. Ram told that the film would revolve around a young man, who gets into trouble because of his education, quoting that it would show the "pathetic state of our mother tongue Tamil in today's society". He selected Jeeva to essay the lead character in his film, after he saw Raam (2005) and been impressed by the actor's performance. while a newcomer Anupama from Mumbai was tipped to play the lead female character of Anandhi first, however she was later replaced by Anjali, who debuted in Tamil cinema with this film. The film was shot for nearly a year across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Chennai, and gained high anticipation in its finishing stage, mainly due to Jeeva's looks in the promotional stills, and Ram's controversial statements at the film's soundtrack release.
Kattradhu Thamizh followed the journey of a lower middle class post-graduate degree holder in Tamil literature, who struggles to find a job and gradually turns a sociopath, frustrated by the inequality in the social stratification. Following its release in October 2007, the film received high critical praise, becoming termed as a "cult classic". Behindwoods in its review called the film a "kurinji flower in Indian cinema", citing that "once in a while a movie re-writes Tamil cinema history" and that Kattradhu Thamizh was "one such precious gem", further adding that Ram deserved a "standing ovation for not bowing down to commercial format and sticking to his theme with strong conviction". Ram denied that the film was his autobiography, clarifying that, unlike the protagonist in the film, he went on to work as a media consultant and that the film was an autobiography of a fictional character named Prabhakar.
Shortly after the film's release, Ram was expected to commence his second project, which was tentatively titled Saddam Hussain featuring Dhanush and Bhavana. The project was shelved and Ram took a sabbatical, beginning to pen a new story titled Thanga Meengal instead. By mid-2009, Touch Stone agreed to produce the film, with Karunas being signed to play the lead role, however the studio opted out the following year after facing financial troubles. Director-producer Gautham Menon eventually accepted to produce it, asking Ram to enact the protagonist's role, which he agreed to after shooting rehearsal scenes with cinematographer P. G. Muthiah and being "thoroughly convinced". Thanga Meengal discusses how a common man’s life is twisted and turned by globalization and today’s educational system. The film was a critical success, winning three National Film Awards including the Best Tamil Feature Film Award  and three awards at the Chennai International Film Festival. It was also screened in the International Children's Film Festival, India in the Children's World section which screens the finest movies of the last decade, and was the only Tamil film selected to Indian Panorama in IFFI, Goa.
In 2014, Ram started filming his next project Taramani that deals with contemporary relationships. The movie was released on August 11, 2017 garnering rave reviews from both audiences and critics and becoming a box-office hit. The movie was a box office hit and was re-released later. Taramani was also screened at the prestigious International film festival Rotterdam in their House on Fire section and gained standing ovations and applauds from international audience.
In 2016, Ram started shooting for the next film titled Peranbu starring Mammootty and Thanga Meengal fame Sadhana in lead roles. The movie had its world premiere at 47th International film festival Rotterdam. It was recommended as one of must watch 20 films at IFFR 2018 by VPRO, a Netherlands based leading publication company. Peranbu was nominated for the NETPAC Award and also for the Audience award. The film secured 20th position based on the voting of the audience among 187 films competing for the Audience Award category at IFFR 2018. It was the only Indian film to be in the top 20 in the Audience Award category at Rotterdam.Peranbu has been officially selected for and will have its Asian premiere at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival 2018. The movie is slotted to release in August 2018.
Ram was also part of a panel discussion at International film festival Rotterdam on Tamil cinema.
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- Thangameengal wins 3 National Awards - The Times of India
- 'Thanga Meengal' at Indian Panorama in Goa | Deccan Chronicle
- Offbeat movies earn laurels at Chennai film festival - The Hindu
- `Thangameengal` goes for Indian Panorama in Goa