Iruvar; A Schindler's List ?

Watching the Steven Spielberg‘s extended interview in The Directors DVD set me thinking wildly. While talking about Schindler’s List, Spielberg says, When my kids ask me “What did you do dad ?”, I didn’t want show them the big gothic movies which I made. I wanted to show them something that truly happened. Something that happened to our people.

When Iruvar released, this is what I remember Mani Ratnam stating for an interview. Iruvar was a film for the next generation to come. For them to look back at the history of their Tamil Nadu and have an unbiased view of it. He went on to say that when entered the movie making business, he had in mind the kind of movies he enjoyed making. Unfortunately due to commercial pressures, the lanes departed and he was soon making run-of-the-mill movies, according to himself. Iruvar was comeback to his path, style and love of movie making.

Though I am just quoting what I remember from the interviews, these are not exact statements that they had shared in the interview. If you look deep into these lines, they sound similar by idea. Both movies are the best of each of them. Schindler’s List touched millions of people with it’s moving images of holocaust. Iruvar didn’t do a similar thing but it talked about how the political history in the state shaped up in an unbiased manner.

For me they are strikingly same. If Spielberg was talking about his Jewish history, a born Tamilian like Mani Ratnam can only talk about the making of Tamil Nadu. He probably could have talked about Indian Independence you might think. But a movie maker should probably be making what he can relate to the most than what others want him to. Mani Ratnam did exactly the same. With the available resource, technology, cast and crew Iruvar was an exemplary movie of Kollywood. Something that only movies like Uthiri Pookal, Mundraam Pirai or Nayakan can come close to. Spielberg’s Schindler’s List was arguably his best movie till date. Not because it was shot in B&W and it gave a sense of a classic film. It’s because he was able to tie down 25 of us watching the movie in a lonely Sathyam theatre. Twenty days after Iruvar released, there were hardly 20 people in the ultra-cold Woodlands Theatre. And I was there watching the classic with 10 other friends who slept half the way through. Classics don’t show up as classics the first time around. A pity.