Mani Ratnam and the "relative grading" syndrome!

Guest Blog 14 – Anand C

Good students are good students in the Indian education system, regardless of how well others perform. You get “first class” if you have 60%. Simple!

However in the American educational system you could get a ‘B’ if you got 60% and half the class scored higher than you. On the flip side, you could get less than 40% and still get a ‘B’ if most of the class is behind you. The key to decide which side of the ‘bump in the bell curve’ one sits on is which class you get compared to!

If Mani Ratnam’s Aayitha Ezhuthu is analyzed a la the Indian education system (i.e., by itself, not in comparison with his past films), he would get a great grade – commercially and critically speaking. Most current reviews though seem biased in one form or another by the “relative grading” syndrome.

What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Mani Ratnam and the "relative grading" syndrome!

  1. Should he be analyzed only on Aayitha Ezhuthu : Wow ! Great Stuff

    Should he be analyzed in the relative terms(just like the american system) he should then probably be analysed in comparison with his contemporaries who exist today in kollywood/bollywood : he is a rarest species in this industry.

    Should he be analyzed in comparison to his past films (as you advice): If may use Ravages words in his aayitha ezhuthu review – it isn’t getting there. ‘There’ meaning the reach of Roja and Bombay.

    Pick up your choice from these.

    But seriously speaking, not many(including me) can really really review one film without keeping his other films in mind. if someone says that its the biggest pretension, for you tend to subconciously compare them.

  2. I wrote a terribly long comment a minute before, but the stupid connection died out on me. And I forgot what I wanted to write.

    Am trying again

    Maniratnam, no matter how you analyse him is a freat director. No matter how you grade him, what comparison you use, he is great

    Compare him with any yardstick (except roja) and he will come out on top.
    In roja, he told a simple story of a girl’s love for her husband. but he set it against the backdorp of Kashmiri Militants and a country’s struggle. It was topical, and therefore, lifted the film to dizzying heights. And the music. WOW!

    But since then, I thought Mani’s films fell down a bit (maybe he went all out and lost some energy in Roja)

    But in AE, he seems to have come back.
    Here again, it is a simple plot. That of man against man.
    but set it against Tamil politics, and the student leader movement (which is storong, in some colleges (was in mine)) you have a great story to tell. And the music !!!
    But then, as I said, the movie is good.
    Very good, is Aayith Eyuthu. But not great. Not a Roja.

  3. Lazy – good distinction. Ravages, your comments also duly noted.

    Using another effort by the same artist as a visual aid for the audience is helpful (such as the images mdeii/anand evokes thru’ the De Niro comparison in his review). But whose cause does it help to judge them based on their past? As Guru put it, it’s hard to avoid it on a sub conscious level. But there is a subtle line between offering a perspective and overly trying to shape public opinion, before individuals are given a chance to make up their own minds. Do you agree?

  4. Hey: Relative Grading is a practise that is professed and copyrighted by IITians and IITians only. Only we are qualified to practise it (on ourselves, to score over others).
    Yes, AE is a politically inspiring movie.

  5. yea anand…ur way of viewing a movie interests me…but have u been able to analyze a movie without bringing in the elemant of comparison-i think we always look at it from the perspective of other mani movies and other movies in tat genre.Interesting to see how u wud rate a film without some standards or yardsticks in mind.
    Sat:u r let to leave india arent u! u will see how many univ use the system..or so to say many others practices..which we blindly and vehemently believe to be ours!

  6. A point for Sat.

    Hello Mr IITian, pls dont forget there are other colleges too like BITS where we have relative grading.

  7. swami – truth is, I find it difficult to judge without resorting to my limited knowledge and comparisons resulting from them. But having been on the receiving end of poorly thought through & irresponsible criticicms from morons, I know how angry that makes one feel.

  8. Seeing relative grading from a different angle, do u think present day’s Maniratnam would have garnered praise if he had directed say Kaakha Kaakha or any other recent hit.

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