The rise and rise of Mani Ratnam – II

So when the most beautiful girl in the world Aishwarya Rai shunned all lucrative offers from Bollywood and waited for Mani Ratnam to introduce her in tinsel town nobody was surprised.
‘Iruvar’ in 1997 introduced Aishwarya Rai and the film was the first film in Tamil which touched the legendary the Dravidian movement. Though the film was critically acclaimed, its failure at the box office for many reasons made Mani Ratnam to look beyond the Vindhyas deliberately. By this time all of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil films were already either remade in Hindi or dubbed in Hindi. Mani Ratnam was a household name not just in south India but the whole of India itself. That status prompted Mani Ratnam to do his first direct Hindi film adhering to north Indian sensibilities. Mani Rathnam managed to get the best of the star cast as they were dying to work with him. ‘Dil Se’ in 1998 marked Mani Ratnam’s official Bollywood entry. The film starring Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala again got awards but not rewards.
After ‘Dil Se’ Mani Ratnam returned to his familiar turf and made another masterpiece in Tamil. ‘Alaipayuthey’ in 1999 again was trend setter in probing human relations just as his first break through film ‘Mouna Ragam’.
‘Alaipayuthey’ remains a contemporary classic. Still many people haven’t had enough of it even after a decade passing. Then there was ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ in 2002 which cleared all the doubts in Mani Ratnam’s prowess in handling insightful subjects with out undermining the sensibilities of the affected and related. ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ remains the most internationally awarded film Mani Ratnam films. Now Mani Ratnam was an all India phenomenon and he switched to bilingual and trilingual to cater all India at one time. ‘Ayutha Ezhuthu’ in 2004 was made simultaneously as ‘Yuva’ for the Hindi market.

Over the years Mani Ratnam has made remarkable movies that gave new insights into love and bonding. He talked about relations between husband-wife, man-woman, boy-girl, mother-father, brother-sister, father-daughter and more. Whatever he touched he went deep and analysed details. That quality made him the darling director of both uncommon connoisseurs and ordinary enthusiasts alike. Mani Ratnam’s films always talked truth but subtlety in visual images. Magnificent music, poignant plots, trend-setting song picturisations and melodrama are characteristics of this genius. Almost every film of Mani Ratnam is a cult film today.
Now Mani Ratnam is back in Tamil after conquering the whole of India but not before making Abhishek Bachchan a super star with his ‘Guru’. The dream team is back again to rock the world with ‘Raavanan’. ‘Raavavnan’ will be the fifteenth film of Mani Ratnam in Tamil. The size of the film is visible in the never before promos. ‘Raavanan’ is here there everywhere, from Cannes to Chennai. The magnum opus is set for release on June 18 and the goose pimples are already showing.
With ‘Raavanan’ Mani Ratnam is touching his Silver Jubilee year in Tamil cinema. From ‘Pagal Nilavu’ in 1985 to ‘Raavanan’ in 2010 the creative master has altered the path of Indian cinema in more ways than one. And he being a Tamilian that feeling makes us proud. Mani rises and only rises.


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