Sunday, 26 April 2015

MANI RATNAM- An Immortal, irreplaceable filmmaker.....

If you have to call film making an institution, then in the modern era in Tamil Cinema I have no doubts in saying that Mani Ratnam would be the dean of this institution.

No one portrays emotions, romance & relationships better than him ever since he started directing. If in Thalapathy,  he portrayed the deep bond of friendship and also the emotion of a son abandoned by his mother at small age with such miraculous finesse , or in Mouna Raagam , he ventured into new unexplored territory at that time by showing how Revathi's character is reeling after the person she loved died & post that she is forcefully married to Mohan's character & how they end up hating each other at first & then slowly they reconcile , put aside their differences & start accepting each other.

The sheer ease at which Mani Ratnam has depicted the above mentioned emotions & bonds may never be possible for any director to come close his brilliance. On a personal front, my passion for films & listening to film songs started post Roja in 1992,  which I happened to see at home after few years/. Right from the captivating story which combines romance in the under current of terrorism right upto the outstanding, magnificent songs composed by a young AR Rahman, this just imbibed in me the passion to watch films & enjoy it so much.  The song Puthu Vellai Mazhai,  was enough for me to become a fan of AR Rahman's songs for life. It had such a mesmerising feel to it , and you just end up asking your self is it really his debut film? Well, that just may be the magic of Mani rubbing off on the young ARR!!

Then in Bombay,  among my all time favorite Mani's films, he depicts love or romance amidst the riots between the Hindus & Muslims. The whole film and especially the climax still leaves a lump in my throat as that's how  much that film impacted me as a viewer. And through the songs Uyirae & Thamizha Thamizha, Hariharan had become my favorite Tamil singer( a singer who me & my brother believe is our favorite singer).  Thamizha Thamizha is a song which is  haunting & impactful, and to add to add to that outstanding  picturization by Mani , it is easily among the best Tamil Film songs I have heard in my life!!

Above, is the usage of that song as a BGM.  Just watch out for the brilliance from Arvind Swamy in this scene. Sheer class indeed.

Then in  Alaipayuthey which still remains a cult romantic film , which was well ahead of it's times as it depicts how the lead pair elope & marry just because they were not accepted by their respective parents. Eloping & marrying at that time & even now is considered a taboo in Indian society but  Mani Ratnma took on this concept & crafted a legendary romantic tale which is still fresh in my mind even now. The song Pachai Nirame remains my all time favorite songs I have heard. Everything about the song is so perfect !!

 In Kanathil Muthamittal, he exceeds his own level of briiliance with the portyal of a daughter's search for her biological mother in the backdrop of the civilian unrest caused in Srilanka. This story depicts the relationship of a mother & a daughter so poignantly, coupled with award winning performances from the lead pair , this is easily among the best Tamil Films in the past two decades for sure. The song Vellai Pookal summarizes the tone & theme so well!! Below is a different , & touching presentation of this song featuring the master ARR himself in it!

In Ayutha Ezathu he showcases how three different parallel story-lines & characters combine to create a gripping tale. With path-breaking performances from  Suriya, Madhavan & Bhartiraja, it bemuses me till date as to how this film happened to flop at the box -office & how this film was not accepted with open arms by the film viewing audiences.

Here's a glimpse of  this film. Great performances combined with Mani Ratnam's  deft & subtle directorial skills make for a compelling watch indeed!!

In Guru , Mani Ratnma depicts the rise of Gurukant Desai. Another fine example of how quality film-making can touch more people worldwide who saw this film. Easily the best performance from Abhishek Bacchan in his career his acting especially in the climax of this film is sheer masterclass.

Here' s a glimpse of  this film. Another feather in the cap of a modern maestro Mani Ratnam!!

The list goes on & on.  For me most definetly,  Tamil cinema would'not have been the same without Mani Ratnam's films. Each one of his films can be viewed countless number of times & each time we can find something more brilliant & captivating. Such is his brilliance.

This is just a simple, small tribute to a genius film maker Mani Ratnam. Among my favorite movies & songs of all time are from his films. For me life would'nt have been the same without his films. No amount of appreciation is enough for this man and his work. Well, not only me critically acclaimed & appreciated directors of the current generation like Gautam Vasudev Menon & Selvaraghavan took to direction after seeing Mani''s Thalapathy & Nayagan respectively. Need I say more?

I want to end this blog post with the video of the best scene directed by Mani Ratnam in my view. I am still spellbound & still get emotional watching this scene online or in TV.

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