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Thamira, ‘Aan Devathai’ Director, Dies at 53 of Covid-19 Complications

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Credits: Ramesh Bala Twitter handle

Thamira, the Tamil filmmaker who directed the 2018 family drama Aan Devathai, died on Tuesday morning at a private hospital in Chennai due to Covid-19 related complications.

He was 53.

According to publicity manager John, the director had tested positive for the virus about 20 days back and had been undergoing treatment at Maya Hospital in Chennai.

Born as Sheik Dawood, Thamira was a native of the Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu. After assisting late filmmaker K Balachander in several TV serials, Thamira made his directorial debut in Tamil drama Rettaisuzhi (2010). The film, produced by Shankar, saw veteran filmmakers Balachander and Bharathiraja collaborating for the first time onscreen. Thamira also assisted Balachander while the director was writing dialogues for the 2006 Tamil film Poi. The duo collaborated for the TV serial Anni (2001-03) where Thamira wrote the screenplay.

Thamira has written and directed Aan Devathai, starring Samuthirakani and Ramya Pandian in the lead roles.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, Ramya recalled working in Aan Devathai and said, “He had a unique way of using the Tamil language. This reflected in the way he spoke, pronounced certain words and in the dialogues he wrote for his films. He improvised a lot of dialogues on the spot. He was more than just a director for me, I think of him as family. We both hail from Tirunelveli.”

Ramya said that she got a call from Thamira after he saw her performance in Joker (2016), following which Thamira had narrated the script of Aan Devathai. Talking about Thamira’s sense of humour, she said that he treated everyone with respect and equality. She recalled how he would appreciate artists when they did a good job.

“I remember, he had given Rs 50 as a token of appreciation to me for a scene that I performed well. I have a photo taken of the moment. He used to give such cash prizes on the spot if someone did a good job,” she said.

Producer and author Dhananjayan called Thamira a “fine gentleman and a good friend”. Recalling how the duo used to discuss films, he told Silverscreen India, “I have known him for four years and we used to regularly discuss cinema. But after the [Covid-19] pandemic, we were not in touch so much. He also had discussed his web series, My Perfect Husband, with me and had called me for the screening of his film Aan Devathai. He was a very sweet person and too young to go. His demise is shocking.”

Dhananjayan said that Thamira had many ideas and was keen on coming up with “good cinema and brilliant films”.

According to John, Thamira’s web series My Perfect Husband has completed 50% of the shooting and is expected to release on Disney+ Hotstar. It stars Sathyaraj and Seetha.

Various members of the Tamil film industry condoled the death of the filmmaker on social media.

Thamira’s final rites will be held on Wednesday in his hometown in Tirunelveli. He is survived by his wife Bhashriya, three sons, and one daughter.

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