The common conception is that Mani Ratnam’s movies is a school. There is so much that one can learn, and each frame that we get to see on the silver screen is well thought out to evoke passionate reactions. Mani sir, as everyone refers to him, has written and directed such wonderful gems that seven is a number that’s hard to work with. Some of the stars of not just Kollywood but Bollywood as well owe him their reinvention. He has worked with Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Mammootty, Mohanlal and Abhishek Bachchan to name a few.
Even today, Kamal ‘s portrayal of people’s leader, Rajinikanth’s portrayal of a friend, Madhavan’s portrayal of a father are probably the high points of their career. He introduced AR Rahman and has worked with him since then. The man is what one would call an enigma because it’s not easy to relate the man we see with the movies he makes. There is modesty in the former and such tumultuous emotions in the latter.
Starring Revathy, Karthik and Mohan the film released in 1986. It was a simple tale about a woman who lost her lover (Karthik) in the name of revolution, and was forced to tie the knot with a man (Mohan) that she did not know. In fact, she even tells this man that she is not interested in the match. He is intrigued and marries her against her wish. How love is born in this forced marriage is a beautiful journey to be a part of.
Starring Kamal Haasan, Saranya Ponvannan and Karthika this is the story of an underworld don in Mumbai whose daughter hates his methods. He loses his wife to a bullet from the enemy and brings up his daughter who begins to question his character. The way Mani sir dealt with flaws made the film one of the best in his repertoire.
Anjali is the heart of a family. Revathy and Raghuvaran play the part of Anjali ‘s parents, and if you plan on watching this film you are going to need a box of tissues. Raghuvaran lies to his wife that their third child was stillborn. However, in truth, the child was born with mental illness and the doctors had given the baby two months at most. A few years later, how Revathy finds the truth and how they deal with the situation is a tearjerker.
Have you ever thought of Duryodhan as a person with feelings and emotions? Haven’t we all heard that he was the eldest of the 100 brothers who sided with evil and hence was a bad person? Well, this film questions everything that we know about Duryodhan in context with his friendship with Karna. The modern take of Surya (Mammootty) and his Thalapathy (Rajinikanth) sheds some light on the best traits of a man who is usually considered evil.
Today film aficionados consider this the best of Mani Ratnam’s films that has aged beautifully. It was set in the backdrop of Tamil Nadu politics starring Mohanlal and Prakash Raj. This movie was also the debut film of Aishwarya Rai. The way the relationship between a character similar to MG Ramachandran, former chief minister of TN, and K. Karunanidhi, DMK chief and also a former chief minister, makes complete sense even or especially today. From friends to foes — how many of us really know the basis the two parties that has been ruling the state?
If Iruvar is the movie that aged really well, Alaipayuthey is the movie that is evergreen. The beautiful love story of a medical student and a affluent kid who is setting up his own company made Mani Ratnam a relevant director to the youth. How they eloped, and argued only to fall in love again, or to not have fallen ‘out’ of love is something that is overwhelming to watch. Madhavan and Shalini remain forever favourite for this one movie.
A prolific writer (Madhavan) wants to adopt a baby who was abandoned by her mother at the refugee camp. He is, however, single. So he approaches the girl (Simran) who recently proposed to him and tells her his intentions in the most interesting way. One should surely watch it to enjoy it. The couple tell the truth the girl when she is 10, and the three go on a trip to find her real mother in Sri Lanka. With civil war as the backdrop, this tale has so much loss and violence, but still manages to spotlight a father’s love for his daughter.