Apart from being a controversial movie in India with respect to its theme, the Screenplay of the movie was added to the permanent core collection in Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before its release in 2011.
The story encompasses around nine characters portraying nine variants of emotion (Navarasa) and an outdated dam.
The story starts with Vinay (Vinay Rai), who is a mariner and works in ships. One day he visits his native place, somewhere in Kerala, with his son Sam (Jineeth Rath) to meet his father Shankaran (Rajit Kapur). Shankaran is a village doctor or 'Vaidyan' and is also a master in astrology and the ancient sciences. Sam is a Diabetic and Vinay wanted to have him treated by his grandfather. Another story line is that of the orphan Meera (Vimala Raman), who has been staying with Shankaran since her childhood, treated as his own daughter and who helps him treat various patients. Vinay and Meera share a special bond and love each other. But when Shankaran studied their horoscopes, he learned that whenever they express their love towards each other, something terrible would happen. Learning this Meera sacrificed her love, and thus Vinay married Sandra (Linda Arsenio) who is a TV journalist. Now after a long time when Vinay returns home with his son, his special bond with Meera develops again with Meera reciprocating the feeling as well. On a parallel track, a corrupt Mayor - Durai (Ashish Vidyarthi)- is fighting an issue of an old dam in his area. Towards the end a leak is discovered inside the dam, and when a heavy storm and rains hit on the same day, a high alert is declared.Vinay Rai - VinayJoshua Fredric Smith - Captain Fredrick BrownLinda Arsenio - Sandra, a TV journalist and Vinay's wife.Vimala Raman - Meera, Vinay's love interestMegha Burman - Raziya, a Pakistani Girl and Freddy's wifeRajit Kapur - Shankaran, Vinay's fatherJineeth Rath - Sam Vinay, Vinay's sonAshish Vidyarthi - Durai, the antagonist in the movie.Jaala Pickering - Freddy's invalid sisterUrmila Unni - Vinay's motherS.P.Sreekumar
Dam999 is the result of inspiration of many real-life incidents. The movie is a tribute to the 250,000 people who lost their lives in the 1975 Banqiao Dam disaster in China. As per producer-director Sohan, "The central character of the story is this dam and the life of a few mariners living near it. There are nine characters in the movie, representing the Navarasas. I believe that every individual is born with a sthayi bhava, but when his suppressed feelings burst, like a dam, it changes."
The cast includes acclaimed Indian actor Ashish Vidyarthi. Veteran Malayalam actor Thilakan was originally cast to do an important role in the film. He was replaced later, following a notice from Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) stating that if Thilakan acted in the film, the association would boycott it. Sohan said they were forced to seek for a substitute for Thilakan when it came to a point that shooting might be disrupted. Eventually, Rajit Kapur was cast instead of Thilakan. There were reports that Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) also had intervened in Thilakan's replacement. In a related development, Thilakan and his supporters had a march towards the shooting location of the film at Alappuzha.
Dam999 started its shooting at Alleppey, Kerala. A number of unexpected hurdles were faced by the crew while shooting the movie. Veteran Malayalam actor Thilakan, who was supposed to be a part of Dam 999, was made to drop out of the project due to his battle with AMMA. However the problem was solved by replacing Thilakan with Bollywood Actor Rajit Kapoor. Thilakan was paid seven lakhs as compensation. While the prior issue was still simmering, another lead character from India walked out due to disputes with the crew, while the shoot was in progress, bringing the movie to a halt. The star cast of the movie was immediately altered and the initial sequences in Kerala was completed as planned. From various exotic locations such as Ooty in India, the shoot of the movie progressed to Fujairah, UAE, where Dam 999 has captured a couple of its sequences on an oil tanker. The climax of the movie was compiled in an expensive set in Ramoji film city in Hyderabad, built by the Art Director Padmashree Thotta Tharani. While in the stage of post production the movie grabbed the attention of the world owing to its story and title. Debates around the world regarding the ever existing fear of outdated dams have started to spring up. DAM 999 has 16 national and international award-winning cast and crew. It includes Suresh Pai: One among the top lead editors in Bollywood who won National Awards two times, Thotta Tharani : He has won National Film Award for art direction three times, Shajith Koyeri: A national award and film fare award winner in 2006, Pattanam Rasheed, S.B. Satheesh and V.Srinivas Murali Mohan. Award winning film maker James Cameron intends to make a movie based on displacement of indigenous people due to construction of dams; this movie is expected after DAM999.
Warner Bros.released DAM999 in India in both 2D and 3D on 25 November 2011. The movie also had a worldwide release in prominent countries simultaneously.
The film was an official selection for the following film festivals:Golden Rooster Awards (Chinese Oscars),ChinaDetective FEST,ChinaInternational Film Festival Antigua Barbuda International Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture 2013Jaipur International Film Festival,IndiaSangli Film Festival,IndiaSalento Int'l Film Festival,ItalyInternational FIlm Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality, IndonesiaKuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival, MalaysiaChain NYC Film Festival,USALouisville's International Festival of Film,USATrinity International Film Festival,USALaughlin International Film Festival,USA7th CMS VATAVARAN International Environment And Wildlife Film Festival and Forum 2013,New Delhi, INDIACinerockom International Film Festival,USAInternational Film Festival for Comedy, Romance and Musical 2013,IndonesiaEko International Film Festival,NigeriaInternational Film Festival for Spirituality, Religion and Visionary,IndonesiaManya Human Rights International Film Festival 2013,UgandaInternational Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture 2013,IndonesiaWorld Music and Independent Film Festival 2014,USACinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival 2015, USAFiLUMS 2015 - International LUMS Film Festival 2015, Lahore,PakistanColumbia Gorge International Film Festival 2015, Venice,USAGlobal Revolution Festival 2015, New York , United StatesGlendale International Film Festival 2015, Glendale, United StatesIphias International Film Festival 2015, Falmouth, Trelawny ,JamaicaNashik International Film Festival 2015, IndiaEureka Springs Indie Film Fest 2015, Arkansas ,United StatesFilm Festival The Goddess on the Throne 2015, Prishtine KosovoPiton International Film Festival 2015, Saint Lucia, North America,USAFLY Film Festival 2015, DOWNTOWN ENID, OKLAHOMAGlobal Independent Film Awards 2015, United StatesSunrise Film festival 2015, Nova Scotia ,CanadaGlobal Revolution Festival 2015, New York,United StatesAnother Independent International Film Festival 2015, Eau Claire, Wisconsin , USAEyeCatcher International Film Festival 2015 August 2015, McAlester, United StatesTrindieFest Film Festival 2015, Houston, United StatesThe World Humanitarian Awards 2015
DAM999 – The Novel is published by Indra Publishing House and was made available in the market before the release of the movie.Unexpected huge demands rose for the novel, this is penned by director Sohan Roy & co-written by Naufal Ashraf and soon will be offered to the readers by the publisher.Indra Publishing House (IPH) is a publication house which provides a path to the fresh talent as well as existing authors. They have a wide distribution network across the nation and it covers all major cities of India.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) complained that the film is based on the Mullaperiyar Dam dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The DMK party chief M. Karunanidhi urged the Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalitha to ban the movie considering "people's safety". A day before its scheduled release on 25 November, the film was banned by the State Government of Tamil Nadu on the grounds that the release would disturb the cordial relations between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Challenging the Tamil Nadu government's ban on screening of his film Dam 999 in the State, Producer-director Sohan Roy, on 30 November 2011, moved to the Supreme Court with writ petition, questioning the subjective satisfaction of the Chief Minister (on whose directions the impugned 24 November order was passed), arrived on "narrow political objectives." He said the order had no constitutional, much less legal, basis.
He said the State suspended the screening of the Hollywood movie without hearing him or affording him an opportunity for clarification. The "arbitrary, unilateral and unjustified act" violated his fundamental right to freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a).
Nowhere did the film say it was about the Mullaperiyar dam. Even an indirect mention of a water-sharing contract between two neighbouring States was deleted as per the request of the censor board.
Explaining the contents of the film, he said it "spreads the message about the consequences of dam disasters around the world."
In response to this on 8 December 2011, the Supreme Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to hear the objections of Sohan Roy on 12 December and pass appropriate orders by 16 December.
The Supreme Court on 24 January 2013 dismissed filmmaker Sohan Roy’s petition challenging a further extension of the ban by the Tamil Nadu government on screening of this film in the State. It further added, "the people are expecting this issue [of the Mullaperiyar dam] will be resolved. At this stage, why should we aggravate the situation not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Kerala? We can’t close our eyes to the objections and decide the case purely on legal aspects. We have to respect the sentiments of the people".
Three of the soundtracks "Dakkanaga Dugu", "DAM999 Theme song" and "Mujhe Chodke" were officially selected for 84th Academy Awards. The music was composed Ouseppachan and the lyrics were penned by Sohan Roy. DAM999 was nominated in race for Best Picture apart from being selected for best Original score also for 84th Academy Awards. The movie was sent to the Oscar awards by All Lights Film Services (ALFS) , one of the leading film consultants in India.
DAM999 was titled as the very first Indian movie to be selected for Golden Rooster Awards 2012, the national film award event conducted in Mainland China. The movie was officially suggested by renowned Israelian director Dan Wolman, who is the prominent Jury of a number of International festivals.Dam999 is selected to compete under 12 categories in Golden Rooster Awards which took place in Shaoxing City towards the end of September 2012.
Recently, DAM999 won Best Director and Best Feature Film award at the Cinerockom International Film Festival, Best International Feature Film, Special Jury Award, Best Movie of the Festival at International Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture 2013. It was declared Best English Film at Sangli Film Festival and adjudged as ‘Judges Favorite’ at International Film Festival – Antigua Barbuda where the Director, Sohan Roy was honored with 'Star Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry'.
Apart from the above accolades, DAM999 was selected for screening various global film festivals such as Tehran Film Festival, Jaipur International Film Festival, Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival, Malaysia, Chain NYC Film Festival, USA, Louisville's International Festival of Film, USA and Trinity International Film Festival, USA, Laughlin International Film Festival, USA and 10th Annual Salento Film Festival, Italy.
BizTV network, the production house of Dam 999, represented the title in numerous film festivals and film markets such as Marche Du Film 2011, Hong Kong Filmart 2011, European Film Market 2011, American Film Market 2010 and Dubai International Film Festival 2010.
Dam 999 released nationwide in 550 theaters of India and also in the Middle east. The film opened to generally mixed to negative reviews.
The soundtracks for DAM999 was penned by Sohan Roy and composed by Ouseppachan. The movie totally comprised 9 multilingual soundtracks out of which 5 are in English, 2 are in Hindi, 2 are in Malayalam. The music of DAM999 was officially released at a grand event presided by A. R. Rahman where Ouesphachan, the music director of the movie handed the first copy to the maestro. Apart from the launch at Chennai, DAM999 music was also launched at multiple other locations including Middle East and Southern Part of India.
Three of the soundtracks "Dakkanaga Dugu", "DAM999 Theme song" and "Mujhe Chodke" were categorized eligible & selected for 84th Academy Awards among other 97 songs.