30 seconds to Nayakan – Mani Ratnam


[Pic – Vikatan.com]

This interview of Mani Ratnam on the occasion of Nayakan being selected on the All-‘Time’ list, made me jive. Indeed I felt happy for a true professional living among us. For a question on why he chooses to make movies that become threat to his life sometimes, he quotes, ” If I have to take movie just like my previous movie, I would rather stay at home doing nothing. Ironically, even to attain peace, we have to fight. And I’m doing it through a medium that I know, cinema.”

While, there could be arguments and truths, that some scenes may have a striking resemblance to the scenes from his earlier flicks, as a story teller, I personally feel, Mani Ratnam has been consistently different from his previous attempts.

On a note about Nayakan reaching the Time’s list, Mani Ratnam seems to be a happy man but is just being modest about it. Though he looks at it as a magazine screening few films and making a list of classic, he conveys that Nayakan was a movie that was perfect in every regard. He goes on to praise Kamal Hassan, Illayaraja, PC Sriram and Thotta tharani for their exemplary contribution. Nayakan’s birth seems to have taken place in thirty seconds. While asked to remake a hindi film with Kamal Hassan, Mani seems to have told a one-liner of Varadharaja Mudhaliyar and Kamal readily accepted for it.

For me the picture above is a treasure. It tells me a dozen things. On to the right with Kamal and PC, I see Mani Ratnam as a yuppie willing to learn the art. The picture to the left talks about the perfectionist in him. It could be that Mani Ratnam is a famous director, I am harping so much on a photograph which was taken then. But then as a kid I faintly remember watching this same Mani Ratnam with those geeky specs, shooting Nayakan.

I’ve heard some of friends and fellow bloggers say that Mani Ratnam never digs deeps into a subject. They say he does a ‘Nunni Pull Meithal’ and tries to get hype. While I am accepting that Mani Ratnam knows how to hype a film, I also know he doesn’t go beyond a scope to search hype. The reason why many of Mani Ratnam’s films gets hyped is because the story never gets revealed until the release. Even if it gets leaked it gets in bits and pieces. Not like the mediocre directors who sell the best scenes and songs to cable even before the movie is released. If people could see the best scene on their television sets again and again, repeatedly, why would they come to theatres. In that regard, Mani Ratnam has always had the guts to keep to himself until the movie release. Ofcourse, his marketing agency tries to create a hype during the release. Movie making is also for money making and as he declares himself to be a commercial director, he wants every single person to view his offering in theatre and make more money. Business dudes. Mani Ratnam being superficial in dealing with sensitive issues ?? Another post another day.

Thanks Prabhu V for the pointer.