O Kadhal Kanmani – Of Millennials and Maritals

OK-Kanmani_2

Disclaimer: What follows is a stream of consciousness type writing that hasn’t been edited at all. There are extreme indulgences about Mani’s past movies and some personal observations but if you want to know what a die-hard Mani fan felt about OKKanmani you should probably read it. Each of the paragraph is a standalone card so feel to start anywhere or leave anywhere.

— Mani Ratnam just killed my enthusiasm. I thought I lost the love story gene. While watching a random film, recently, I thought of writing an outright love story(read as பிழிய பிழிய) with romance and separation just to bring myself to it. Not that all I have written so far, either full stories or drafts or just bits of ideas have been made into full-fledged films or even seen the light of the day. But I really wanted to write one to see how I was able to bring out the drama from romance. With O Kadhal Kanmani, I feel even that faint idea to write a love story is now gone. How can it be better than this. Truly.

— There are Vikraman movies which sports a montage song and makes a bathroom singer into a super star singer where people just rush into a hall to listen and the ticket counter guy is shown placing ‘houseful’ placard across his counter for over 20 times back to back. And then there are movies like OK Kanmani which slowly and craftily captures the mundane of daily life to show the growing romance. The growing romance is so rich documented that the camera just hangs around like another viewer in weird angles and moves/shakes naturally. Refer the discussion between Adi and Thara after AR Ameen peacefully sings Maula Wa Salim, the camera almost peeks between the pillar and Adi’s head to see Thara’s face. The same seductive onlooker camera also enters into the white blanket alongwith Adi and Thara to hear these two millennials after a steamy romance session. This is Mani’s master stroke more than it is PC Sreeram’s. It’s the vision of the director to take the audience up, close and personal into Adi and Thara’s carefree life.

— The movie has a bit of micro-adventures. And they make it very interesting and sometimes comical. Like the moment when Thara jumps put of window as Adi’s brother arrives at his doorsteps and the comical stress surrounding the situation. There are even more micro-adventures like this one – Thara is on phone with her mom arguing and enquiring about the ‘special love’ shown to Adi during her absence. While she is such argumentative mood and walking with Adi, the bus arrives and they have to run to catch it. So as an audience you are now subjected to two sets of issues, will they catch the bus and what will the mom reply from the other-end of the phone call. And there are more moments like this, sort of frame-within-a-frame. So even though the film doesn’t sport a very dramatic third act, these adventures keep it going.

— Mani has fully engulfed Kurosawa. One cannot remove Kurosawa from his consciousness any more. He chooses to add energy to the movie as the cast keeps walking or taking a bus or getting rained on or something that keeps moving on-screen. From using weather to cooking sounds to camera pans, Mani uses everything possible to tell the story evocatively.

— After the movie, I went back to refer Wikipedia for a definition of Live-in relationship aka Cohabitation. I was terribly confused about what is so live-in relationship in OKK story. What Mani chooses to show is just the tip of the iceberg. This time-boxed love was already the Sid and Trisha short story in Aayitha Ezhuthu and even Nagarjuna/Girija of Idhayathai Thirudathey. Not a single issue of live-in relationship was brought out, not even adjusting with a single bathroom to use. All we know is that the couples indulge in a pass time as Thara confirms at the gynecologist office. Nithya Menon just nails the expressions during this scene that will be enough to prove her acting chops.

— Nithya Menon, what a find. A certain awesome reviewer highlighted in a certain high-profile movie review that he watches a certain awesome director’s movie as he is one of the best in portraying women. I was thinking how would that make a case for watching crappy movies of that c.a.director. Today, I would like to politely say, buzz off, to both of them. Thara is simply the best protagonist role a girl can ask for. It’s not the S.A. Chandrasekaran’s activist type roles but a role that has a purpose, style, sentiments and forms the core part of the OKK story. So again, buzz off sirs.

— Rahman. I was definitely critical of Rahman not supporting Mani’s Kadal. When I get to see the maestro play in Redmond during June, I will throw an extra clap for that brilliant electronica fusion he did in scene when Adi passes flying kisses to Thara just as a carnatic number finishes in the background. Rahman’s BGM is a breath of fresh air in the film. Both Rahman and PC Sreeram’s pallets have been rich and vibrant for OK Kanmani. They both have gone beyond in their respective areas to bring the story alive with colors and sounds. Such exquisite feast.

— Mani Ratnam is ageing very well. He has Bhavamulona(twice in the film) and Endharo Mahanubhavulu in the background. And Bhavamulona is used as a motif for Thara in troubled times. Mani’s taste for good carnatic music mixed with contemporary sounds is a sweet surprise. Not that I don’t know Mani’s love for carnatic music which has been there for a while but here is an indulgence. Go!

— Here is how a director goes for using just the right amount of ‘graphics'(lol) for a movie. And not talk about it in media.

— Live sound, really. Fantastically done. Great job, Anand.

— Yes the movie reminds me of various other movies of Mani. In fact I can tell you most shots remind of some other Mani’s movie. I can even see shots of Thalapathi and Anjali. It is still a very gripping engaging movie. As you invest the first half of the movie in Thara and Adhi, you are bound to be heartbroken in the second half and that did not just happen by happen. The master’s every shot was meant to get you to that state. Sheer Glee!

— The bright red wall paper in Adi and Thara’s grand apartment was so lovely and yet didn’t look like a set piece. Sharmishta Roy’s art direction was tasty and very urban.

— Scott Fitzgerald in his less popular, This Side of Paradise quoted- “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered”. Not only it happens to Adi and Thara but also to us.

— Mani rides on Kamalhassan’s hardwork. Pottu Vaitha Kadhal Thittam song is popularly known for its fantastic rock-like composition in a happy-go-lucky movie. And by taking the lyrics, Mani sets the tone for OK Kanmani. Smart move.

— Theera Ulaa was the best surprise of the soundtrack. The song grew so much and is almost at the top of the album for me at this point. Part carnatic and part electronic, it’s probably the best representative of the spirit of the album. Great job Vairamuthu just for this song. Lovely lovey tamil verses.

— Finally, like James Joyce and Stanley Kubrick, Mani chooses to stay silent, exile and cunning. For a fan like me, I see it in every single movie. His movies speak louder than his words. This time the world agrees with me.

Dassarwaley!

I actually didnt like the expression of AB at the end but who cares. Usually the first look of any Mani Ratnam movie has no resemblence to any other movies, other than his own. But this teaser reminds me of Omkara, don’t know why. Nevertheless, good hype so far.

Myshkin's Yudham Sei

myshkin cheran yudham sei

I like some parts of Cheran’s work but I never thought I would look forward to a film in which he stars. If not for Myshkin, this still photograph from Yudham Sei wouldn’t have landed here. Its only films like these that I look forward these days and not the Yendhiran types. Maybe I’ve grown old but hype works only in your twenties.

I hope Myshkin’s previous unreleased film, Nandalala hits the screen very soon. If not, the producers should release it direct-to-DVD.

Myshkin is by far my biggest hope of tamil cinema followed by or preceded by, in some cases, Selvaraghavan. Oh yeah, there is Mani Ratnam, as always.

Mani, Take it easy!

Its probaby the 4th time in the last 4-5 years. Dude, Take it easy!

From Times of India article, Mani braves a heart attack.

However, it seems the news from Chennai is heartening and very encouraging, according to Gulzar . He was in Chennai working on a song for Raavana with Mani and A R Rahman when Mani’s health scare occurred. Mani was revved up and energetic as Gulzar and Rahman argued and collaborated over the perfect words for the tune.

Gulzar said, “Mani complained of uneasiness. We presumed it to be nothing more than creative anxiety. We all get restless and nervous when we are working intensely on a project. We had no clue it was a health issue.”

After a while, fidgety and restless, Mani left the recording studio alone and checked himself quietly into the Apollo hospital. That, according to Mani’s close friends, is the filmmaker’s style. He never draws attention to himself. Normally no matter how private a person, he would immediately ask someone to accompany him to a doctor if there was a health alarm. The super-reclusive Mani actually went all alone to Appolo.

Mani Ratnam's Lifetime Achievement Award – Vijay TV

2007 was a good year for Kollywood. Ram’s Katrathu Thamizh, Ameer’s Paruthi Veeran and Vetrimaran’s Polladhavan were all released during this year. It was the year of directors and new comers. And so Vijay Awards 2008 was also just so neat. It had the perfect host, Yuhi Sethu. Vetrimaran was the director of the year. Paruthiveeran was the movie of the year and Sreekar Prasad got the best editor award for Katrathu Thamizh. Except for mishaps like Sivaji and Pokiri, it was a fabulous year for good Tamil cinema.

And what a night it turned out to be when the final award, Lifetime Award for contribution to Indian Cinema was given away to Mani Ratnam. As usual, the man of few words, spoke less than few words.

Vijay TV probably makes the best montage among Tamil cable channels. This montage on Mani’s films was short but well edited. I only wish, they made a full length candid interview with Mani Ratnam just like the one with Writer Sujatha. This video will be a treasure until such interview is made in future.

I rejoiced when mr.nayakan walked away with that prestigious award. It made my day !!

Suhasini partly scripting Guru

On Mani Ratnam’s Guru

I have scripted the first 20 scenes of Guru. Mani bought me a ticket and asked me to go to England, where my sister lives. He sent me blank paper and some ideas, so it was a paid holiday. Mani grew up in the city, whereas I am from a small village even though my family was full of lawyers. I went to a government school and know the nuances of village life better. Guru is a village film in the beginning, before it shifts to the city.

On working with Mani Ratnam

Mani wanted me to work in Anjali, but he thought even that wasn’t good enough for me. He wanted to have something substantial to cast me. I would like to be directed by Mani Ratnam but, of course, it is not a big deal. I know the man. I think Balachander will make me act better. Mani’s characters will be good but, when it comes to performance, I think Balachander is even better; or, for that matter, Bharati Raja, Mahendran or Kranti Kumar. Mani has considered me for many of his films — Mouna Ragam, Nayagan (for the daughter’s role). He is a good director — he does not need a co-director. He just needs help with writing so he can concentrate on the making. I wrote the dialogues for Iruvar.

Read more from the Rediff’s interview with Suhasini Maniratnam.

Rajeev Menon breaks the Guru 'suspense'

rajeev menon mani ratnam guru

Rajeev Menon is currently shooting Mani Ratnam’s Guru. We all know that. Seems to be too spirited these days. Working again with Mani Ratnam may be one of the reason. But he goes to the extent of even talking in a little detail about Guru’s premise. I’m surprised. This morning when Mani Ratnam sips his coffee and reads this Vikatan interview, he will be surprised too.

BTW, what’s with this Ambaani story and all. Starting from the day when the story started to sneak out, I was hanging out silently to get this confirmed. With this answer of Rajeev Menon it’s nearly confirmed. Nearly. Usually, when the screens light-up for a Mani Ratnam movie, I anxiously await to be over-powered by the images on the screen. This Ambaani matter is somehow hindering the expectations.

Who is GURU ?