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Well-known cinematographer and director Jeeva (43) died in Moscow today following cardiac arrest, family sources said.

Jeeva was shooting for a Tamil film ‘Dhaam Dhoom’ starring ‘Jeyam’ Ravi and Kangana Raut in the Russian capital.

He passed away at 3 am, the sources said.

Jeeva started off as a camera assistant and turned cinematographer later. He worked with Tamil film director Shankar in blockbusters like ‘Gentleman,’ ‘Kadhalan’ and ‘Indian.’

He has also worked in Bollywood films–‘Hul Chul,’ ‘Bhaagban,’ and ‘Hera Pheri’.

Jeeva turned director with ’12B’ and ‘Ullam Ketkume’, which got rave reviews while his recent release ‘Unnale Unnale’ was a hit.

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His body is expected to be flown back to India tonight. Sources say stress could have been a major factor for his demise.

The director had been to Russia earlier to shoot for the film and reportedly encountered troubles from the local ‘mafia’ in Russia, which had demanded money from him to shoot there. He had packed his bags then and returned to India. But he was very keen to shoot the film there, and hence made it to Russia again.

Jeeva is survived by his fashion designer wife Aneez and two daughters.

His death has come as a rude shock to the film industry, which had seen as some kind of avant garde technician.

Jeeva was one of the well-known technicians of Tamil cinema, comfortable as he was with the new idioms of film-making. Jeeva was able to mix art and state of the art (in that he was comfortable with technology). His movies (the ones for which he was the cameraman) like Vaali, Kadhalan, Gentleman, Indian, Kushi, Sachien, Run all combined style and substance. He had started as an assistant to cameraman P C Sriram and has so far worked in around 40 films.

Born into a family of staunch Communists in Thiruthooraipoondi, he was christened as Jeeva after the popular Communist leader Jeevanandam.

But films caught his fancy early, and it remained his abiding attraction till fate snatched him away in the most unceremonious manner.

Jeeva has also directed over 50 commercials. He ventured to Bollywood and handled cinematography for several blockbusters, mainly to those directed by Priyadharshan. Some of his Hindi movies include Hulchul, Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar, Run, Kushi, Bhagam Bhag, Hera Pheri among others.

Jeeva ventured to direction with 12B. He followed that with Ullam Ketkumae and his last directorial release was Unnale Unnale. Jeeva, at the time of his untimely death, was directing Dham Dhoom.

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