Ram is an Indian film director, who works in Tamil cinema. After assisting Hindi directors Rajkumar Santoshi and Govind Nihalani and working under Balu Mahendra, he made his directorial debut with Kattradhu Thamizh (2007), which fetched him strong critical acclaim. He launched his second film Thanga Meengal in 2011 with director-producer Gautham Menon's Photon Kathaas producing it and is slated for release in July 2013.
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 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. Besides Santoshi, Ram had also assisted Govind Nihalani, another Hindi film director, crediting the two for helping him become a filmmaker. 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 had seen 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, when he stated that he had killed everyone who had hurt him during earlier days through the screenplay of the film.
Shortly after the film's release, Ram was expected to commence his second project, which was tentatively titled Saddam Hussain and was to feature Dhanush and Bhavana in the lead roles. 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 Suba Pandian and 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.
Tamil Best of 2017