x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Star director becomes a spectator at UAE film shoot

The crew of Attarum Madhavan Nairum were winding up their final day of shooting in the desert on Wednesday when James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of Avatar and Titanic, showed up.

ABU DHABI // There was some unscripted excitement when one of the world's best-known directors dropped by the set of the first Malayalam film to be shot entirely in Abu Dhabi.

The crew of Attarum Madhavan Nairum were winding up their final day of shooting in the desert on Wednesday when James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of Avatar and Titanic, arrived.

Cameron, in town for the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, was on a desert safari when he learnt of the film being shot near Al Khatim.

The director of Attarum Madhavan Nairum, Priyadarshan, along with the actors Mohanlal and Mukesh, were tickled to have such a high-profile guest.

"It was a surprise visit," said Kalyan Chakrabarthy, a production executive with 7 Media, a UAE company that is helping with the production of the film, which is being shot over 45 days at various locations in Abu Dhabi.

"The people in the desert camp told him about the shoot so he decided to pay a visit," Mr Chakrabarthy said.

He said Cameron met Priyadarshan, Mohanlal and the rest of the cast and crew.

"He was there for a while," Mr Chakrabarthy said. "He took some pictures as well. He asked how the shooting was going."

The Hollywood director came at a crucial time, Mr Chakrabarthy said, just as the crew prepared for a twilight shot, which uses the last rays of natural daylight to capture a mood that lasts only a few seconds.

"He realised this was very valuable time as well and said: 'I know I am catching you at a twilight shot'," Mr Chakrabarthy said.

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae