News, Articles and Reviews on Director Mani Ratnam

Some latest News, Articles and Reviews from different websites and papers. These articles does not belong to this website. The source is mentioned, with the article. The following information is based on collective data from other websites and newspapers.

News on Page 2

Lajjo a double bonanza for Kareena: Courtesy:

Wednesday April 11 2007 18:05 IST

Kareena KapoorMUMBAI: Kareena Kapoor is excited about the "double bonanza" of working in Mani Ratnam's new film Lajjo with Aamir Khan for a co-star.

"I feel I'm in seventh heaven. First the amazing response to Omkara and now I've signed a formal contract for Mani Ratnam's film. He wants me to prepare for the role until next winter," she said.

"To work with Mani sir again and Aamir for the first time... It's like a double bonanza for me," Kareena told IANS.

On the success of Omkara, she said, "I'm waiting for Vishal Bharadwaj to sign me again. I'm hugely satisfied with Omkara. I had hoped it would be a new beginning for me. And that's exactly how it turned out."

On the newly mellow and contemplative phase in her career, she said, "You know, it an't be a coincidence that I'm doing two literary adaptations one after another - first Shakespeare in Omkara and now Ismat Chughtai's story Lajjo.

"I know Urdu is a long way off from Shakespeare. But literature is literature, and I'm glad I've arrived at this new juncture in my career so effortlessly."

Lajjo is Kareena's second period film after Ashoka and she has already started reading Chugtai's period love story.

"I remember how excited I was when I had signed Ashoka with Shah Rukh Khan. Now it's with Aamir in Lajjo. It's every actress's dream to work with Aamir. When I saw Rang De Basanti, I was jealous. I wanted to be a part of it," she said.

Kareena shares a very special bond with Ratnam. In fact, the director has gone on record to talk about what a special performance she gave in Yuva.

"Is it so?" Kareena asked delightedly. "He is definitely one of the most special directors I've worked with. When he contacted me to do Lajjo, I couldn't believe my luck. This was just what I wanted to do after Omkara. I can't forget what fun I had shooting for Yuva in Kolkata and Chennai."

"Now I can't wait to start work on Lajjo with Mani sir and Aamir. You know, I came close to working with Aamir in Bharadwaj's Mr Singh & Mrs Mehta.

"That was a love story about two married people who aren't married to each other. Now I'm doing another intense love story with Aamir and I can't wait to start," she added.

Guru Review and other related links:

Guru strong in parts

Guru a smash hit overseas

Guru going great guns!

Tamil Guru does not have he real feel - Sriram Iyer

Guru movie review by Taran Adarsh

Watch Guru for actors - Raja Sen

Filmmaking is not a one man show - Mani Ratnam

Entertainment is not a bad word - Mani Ratnam

Amitabh Bachchan talks about his son in Guru

Who refects real India - Gurubhai or Munnabhai

Meet Ash's Guru

Real Images - A Winner

Style statements of Guru

Branding Guru -

The making of Guru - videos (

Straight from Guru's mouth

A R Rahman is a man of few words

When Mani Ratnam blackmailed Rahman

A R Rahman on Guru music

Click here

Links from

Guru wallpaper

Pictures from the sets of Guru

Guru Website

Guru Slide Show (From

Check out the video

Listen Guru songs here

Its all about Mani honey - Blog

Mani Ratnam on Guru: Courtesy:

Mani RatnamHe arrives ahead of schedule, clad all in black and sporting a salt and pepper beard. Guru is very much in the air.

“Is it on Ambani?” we ask and Mani will only say it is a “rags to riches story with roots to reality.”

First Nayakan and now Guru. Why is he so fond of bio-pics?

Nayakan was the life of one man, so full of life, death and so much dramatic. Guru is more about obstacles, a period film which is in tandem with the youth of today,” he replies.

“In the 50s and 60s, values were different. Abstinence, putting family before self and society before family, the leaning towards the Left - we have moved away from all that.

Today, we are further right of centre, and the main character heralds this change.

A scene from GURU. Competitiveness, aggressiveness and even selfishness have turned into ‘talent’ these days and this shift is what the film is about,” he says with a flourish. “It is a crossroads film,” he adds.

How does it feel now that the film is ready and awaiting release? “Relief that you have done everything you could, and it is up to the people now,” he says.

Is it too much pressure being Mani Ratnam? Nothing has changed from the first film, he says gesturing with his hands on the lovely wood, leather and brass table. “It is like sports. You know you are good, but you have to go out and give your best each time,” he tells you.

“You could call it a bit of arrogance that I could visualise Abhishek Bachchan as a 45-year-old,” says Mani of the actor’s role, which spans decades.

So, did he write the story with Ash and Abhi in mind? “Yes,” comes the reply. “I have known Abhi’s potential, but in Guru he is travelling light. No baggage from before, but fresh reactions from him,” explains Mani.

He has shot the film chronologically, with Abhi cruising from 22 to 31 to 45 effortlessly. “It was a nice flow,” recalls Mani.

We do the unthinkable and ask him if Ash had any reservations about taking on the role. He is aghast for a moment but recovers quickly. “No, she plays a strong woman and loved the opportunity to age gracefully in a 30-year frame,” he says.

Did he think of the story while reading the paper or watching TV? “Wish it were that simple,” he says with amusement.

Turning serious, he points out, “The story is a seed which is within you for years and grows while you do other films. The idea germinates as a single line, you leave it alone for a year, get on with other things, then take it back and shape it.”

Why is it that AR Rahman gives such wonderful numbers in his films? “He gives great stuff to everyone,” he retorts.

Pausing for a minute, he adds, “We are both willing to experiment and are not afraid to fall down. He can think laterally, and that is exciting for me,” he explains. What next?

“That is easy -make the next film,” comes the reply. Which he will before the year-end when work on Lajjo starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor begins.

Before that he will take a break, “get back to normal life, family and friends.” And chill out with son Nandan. What is Mani the father like?

“I tell him not to study, but to go out and learn everything from life,” he quips. Mani the maker, who says he learnt everything on the job, floors you when he confesses that he is “still trying to figure it all out.”

You stare wide-mouthed and the notepad ruffles in the breeze unattended, the hand half-frozen in mid air.

“On paper you may have a great story, but the key lies in transforming it into a great movie, make it look like it happened, so that people will walk out of the theatre with that connect,” he explains.

What about the money part of movie-making? He brushes it aside with a near epithet “it’s production.”

He is already turning over another seed in his mind, this time for a Tamil film. “I want to get back to that,” he tells you. But first things first.

Golf is something he wants to get back to. Never mind if you tell him that 13 is an excellent handicap. He wants to improve upon it. We walk off wishing him a hole in one, on grass and in theatres as well.

"My film is not a bio-pic": Mani Ratnam:

Happy News! Mani Ratnam, one of the finest directors in mainstream commercial cinema is back with Guru in Hindi and its dubbed version in Tamil. The path-breaking director is one to be admired. He has kept the flag of uncompromised cinema flying against all odds. 
Mani sir as he is affectionately called by friends, is a film maker whose calling card remains his artistry and intellectual disposition. On the eve of the release of Guru, sitting in his aesthetically done up posh office at Boat Club area in Chennai, casually dressed in a blue jeans and a printed cotton shirt, Mani took time off to speak exclusively to 

Any pre-release jitters?
(Laughs) Not at all. But as a producer like anyone else I am anxious. Guru is getting premiered at Toronto on Thursday (Jan 11) at Elgin and Winter garden theatre centre. It is the place where most Hollywood films are premiered and I think that Guru will be the first Indian film to be premiered there. 

How different is Guru from your earlier films?
Guru is my 20th film in a career spanning nearly 24 years. It is the opposite of Yuva, my last release as it is the journey of a single person. The character is shown from his 15 to 70th year. 

Nayakan was also similar..
Yes to a certain extent, they are in the same genre as far as the concept of a person’s life time from youth to old age is depicted. 

What is the one-line story of Guru
The tagline says it all- “ Villager, Visionary, Winner”. The story is about Gurukanth Desai or Guru, a guy from a village, crossing all obstacles that come his way and how he triumphs against all odds. Just after Independence up to the 70’s, the country as a whole was turning to the left of the centre. For a lot of people, it had an old world charm about it. Suddenly Guru comes and shakes the edifice as we see what happened, in the late 70‘s and 80’s. We became individualistic and right of centre. It happened to us before we realize that times have changed. In the film, we see all these changes through the character of Guru. 

There is an uncanny resemblance to the life and times of late Dhirubhai Ambani the man who changed our system. Please comment
It could be anybody. I am definitely trying to connect the character with real life. Why Ambani, it could be Mittal? Let us make it clear that my film is not a bio-pic. Guru is taken from different spirits and attitudes of a handful of people who have changed our society and business environment. A lot of visionaries spirit and attitude may have gone to create the character of Gurukanth Desai. 

Everybody in the unit has been raving about Abhishek Bachchan‘s performance. Having worked with so many talented actors in India, what is your opinion on him as an actor?
He was always my first choice to play Gurukanth Desai. Let me tell you that Abhishek carries the entire film on his shoulders and he is remarkable for his body language and gradual transition from a young ,man to a matured old man. There is a lot of nuances and subtlety in his seamless performance. While watching the first copy of the film, I could get the touch and feel of Guru in him. 

What about Ash?
She has been underrated as an actress. I know her from Iruvar days when she brilliantly etched out two dramatically opposite characters. I’m even more happy with her performance now. Her character of Sujatha is a strong willed woman and is the conscience of Gurukanth Desai. There is a lot of ease and grace that goes into her performance. It looks real. 

How was working with Mithun Chakravarthy?
He plays Manikdas Gupta or Nanaji a 60 plus character. He is an eccentric man who believes in old school values and ideals. Initially he helps Guru in his growth but later falls out with him over principles, Only Mithun da could play my Nananji with conviction. 

What is the secret of great partnership with A.R.Rahman?
(Smiles) Every time we work together it is like our first film. We understand each other perfectly. 

The songs are the best we heard in recent times and with Mani’s picturisation they are sure to become more popular after the release? Please comment?
(Just Smiles)

Tell us why you had Mallika Sherawat in the film and the song ?
I am showing an episode in Guru’s early life. The whole song is in a concise form of his life in Turkey and so Rahman has given it a middle eastern flavour. The song actually helps me to move the story forward. 

What about the Shreya Gosal classic Barso Re… 
Guru comes back from Turkey to his village. It brings rural India back to focus. We are cutting from Turkey to India with this song that is also the backdrop of Guru meeting Sujatha for the first time. I would like to say that the background score of Guru is very good. It brings out the aggressive and determination traits of my protagonist. We have used a lot of rhythms and voices in the music. 

In Guru you have gone back to your favourite cameraman Rajeev Menon (They had last done Bombay) How is Guru visually?
Absolutely brilliant. Rajeev’s camera has given the film an authentic look. Please note that it is a period film and his camera need to evoke that feel from 50’s to 80’s. The early period he has given a yellow hue and as the film progresses it turn into blue hue. Even the camera from a hand held becomes steady in the later half. Rajeev has been able to provide the look and feel of the period .

Why did you prefer the veteran Sreekar Prasad as the editor? 
I believe in a single style for a film and will never resort to any gimmicks. Story telling requires a particular rhythm in editing and it should not interfere with narration. I think Sreekar Prasad is the best in the country. 

Why did you decide to dub Guru into Tamil
I feel that there is a market for it. Our audiences will definitely to be able to relate to the film. 

After Guru, what are your plans? 
I have a commitment to make Lajjo a film with Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. I will be working on the script of the film which will start rolling from October. 

Why are you not doing any Tamil films?
As I told you earlier, I have a commitment to keep After Lajjo I will do a Tamil film. 

Any plans to make your production company, Madras Talkies go public as entertainment industry is booming?
No chance. I want to make movies the way I want to do it. I am not here just to do business alone, I want to make good cinema.

Guru to speak Tamil - Surya and Nasser to dub in Tamil: Courtesy: India

Abishek and Mallika in GURUTamil audience can now look forward to hot Bollywood actors speaking Tamil on the big screen. Well, filmmaker Mani Ratnam is going to dub his much talked-about film Guru into Tamil. The film has big names like Abhishek Bachchan, Mithun Chakravarthy, Aishwarya Rai, Vidya Balan and Mallika Sherawat in the lead roles. Madhavan also appears in a cameo role.

The film, which was supposed to be released on December 22, has been postponed to January 12. Now, both the Hindi and Tamil versions will be released simultaneously as Pongal special. It is said that the story of the film is based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani, who became one of the richest men in the country. The audio album of the film with music scored by A.R.Rahman has gone down so well with the audience.  



Surya The Tamil version of Guru could do well, as Aishwarya has huge fans following in the state. The wedding scene of Abhishek and Ash, which was shot at a Madurai temple, also has drawn lots of curiosity amongst the people. Moreover, Abhishek and Ash onscreen chemistry will be a visual treat, as they are said to be real life lovers. This Mani Ratnam film is dubbed into Tamil with Abhishek Bachchan using Tamil star, Surya’s (who starred in the Tamil version of Yuva) voice, Aishwarya Rai and Madhavan which is the film’s selling point in Tamilnadu. The film releases worldwide including Tamil Nadu on Jan 12, Friday.

By Taran Adarsh, January 5, 2007 - 02:41 IST

A Mani Ratnam film is special. Every film enthusiast is looking forward to his new film GURU, which will be released next Friday in three versions simultaneously -- Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. While ample space has been devoted in newspapers/tabloids/websites to its Hindi version, the Mumbai press hasn’t talked much about the Tamil version of the film.

Well, here’s some exclusive news then…

NasserLeading Tamil actor Surya has dubbed for Abhishek Bachchan in the Tamil version of GURU, while veteran actor Nasser has dubbed for Mithun Chakraborty. Madhavan, who has featured in a number of Mani Ratnam movies including GURU, has dubbed his lines himself, while a top actress has dubbed for Aishwarya Rai. “Ash has a performance-oriented role, hence we decided to have an actress dub her portions, instead of hiring the services of a dubbing artist,” GURU producer G. Srinivasan informs me. 

Meanwhile, the title GURU will be retained for the Tamil version, but in Telugu it’s GURUKANTH. Also, the Tamil and Telugu versions will be released with 75-100 prints in South India. 



Madhavan plays a journalist in Guru: Courtesy:

Madhavan in GURUMadhavan plays a journalist for the first time in Mani Ratnam's ready-for-release Guru. Says Maddy, "I've always been on the other side of the firing line. Now I know how it feels to be asking the questions." Reliving the experience of shooting with his mentor Maddy says, "Guru is going to be no ordinary film. Trust me; I've worked thrice with Mani before, including the Tamil versions of Saathiya and Yuva. Never have I seen him so charged. Mani wanted to go into the various time passages in Guru chronologically. He waited for all our dates, and then did it in one go."

Any regrets about not being the central character in his mentor's film? "None at all. I've no qualms in doing anything Mani asks me to. He's my guru. And when my guru asked me to be in Guru there was no question of questioning him. Nobody questions Mani."

Maddy is happy to have worked with Abhishek. "He's one actor who's a friend first. It is very difficult to make friends with your colleagues. Somewhere the sense of competitiveness comes in. Not with Abhishek. I always wish I could do Hindi versions of my Tamil films. But when Abhishek did Run and Yuva, I was the happiest. If Mani's Yuva took Abhishek two steps forward, Guru will take him ten steps."

Interestingly Madhavan shot for Rituparno Ghosh's Sunglass back-to-back with Guru. "Though it was my first time with Ritu it felt like we had worked together many times. If in Guru I have Abhishek for company in Sunglass, I've Jayaji. People tend to notice how strong his mom's influence is on Abhishek's personality, specially the eyes and smile."

After completing his work in Guru and Rituparno Ghosh's Sunglass Madhavan is now in Malaysia for a week-long vacation with his wife Sarita and son Vedant.

"Actually," Maddy confesses seriously , "My parents advised me to go alone. Taking my son along is as good as kissing my vacation goodbye. To say he's a handful would be an understatement. He's barely 1, and he turns on my laptop and plays the music. He seems to be a gizmo expert from now only. He makes us run around his little finger. The only one not in his control is our parrot Ashley. Ashley hates Vedant for stealing away the attention. Even I feel the same way every time I see my wife and son together."

Maddy plays Gurumurthy?

Is Maddy playing the role of the controversial investigative journalist S.Gurumurthy in Mani Ratnam’s Guru? Everybody knows that Mani is making a movie on the life and times of Dhirubhai Ambani the legendary business tycoon who made Reliance Industry, a household name. 
The media baron, late Ramnath Goenka and his ‘Indian Express’ had done a series of exposes on Ambani and the growth of Reliance through political patronage. At that time, S.Gurumurthy had done most of the writing, exposing the Ambanis. 

In Mani’s Guru, Abhishek Bachchan plays Gurukanth Desai (Dhirubhai Ambani), Mithun Chakravarthy plays Manikdas Gupta (Ramnath Goenka) and Madhavan plays Shyam Saxena (S.Gurumurthy) the crusader who works for ‘The Independent’! 

In fact, Mani Ratnam had shot Mithun and Maddy’s scenes at the `Indian Express` office in Chennai to give it an authentic look. 

The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of

Sneak Peak at Mani Ratnam's Guru: Courtesy:

Abishek and Aishwarya Rai in GuruFilmmaker Mani Ratnam's latest offering, Guru, is a bilingual that is made in Hindi and Tamil.

Although the story has nothing to do with Tamil Nadu -- unlike his earlier films -- and most of the actors are from Bollywood, the Tamil version is eagerly awaited. After all, it's a Mani Ratnam movie.

Ratnam's earlier films, from Pakal Nilavu, Mouna Raagam, Nayakan, Agninakshtram, Dalapathi, Roja, Bombay, Iruvar, Alai Paayuthe and Kannathil Muthamittal had a strong Tamil flavour.

That was the strength of his movies.





Abishek and Aishwarya Rai in GuruGuru's lead actors are Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun Chakraborty and Vidya Balan.

Surya dubs for Abhishek in the Tamil version. That is the power of being Mani Ratnam -- even the biggest stars will do a dubbing job for your film.

Guru is the story of Gurukant Desai, a man who dreams big right from the start. He has to face several hurdles and fight an obstinate system all alone to see his dreams come true.

The mantra that the young man follows diligently is that those who do not dream do not achieve anything in life.

He does reach the top, ultimately.


Madhavan and Vidhya Balan in GURUAnother man is a vital part of Guru's life when he is young and dreaming, a 22-year-old news reporter, played by Madhavan.

Ever since Madhavan made his debut in Mani Ratnam's Alai Paayuthe, he has been the director's blue-eyed boy, appearing in all his films.

Madhavan was asked to shed weight so that he looked like a 22 year old. And he did shed eight kg.

The actor told in an earlier interview, "He (Mani Ratnam) told me, if anybody can do it, you can, because you have a face for it. So, I took one month off and lost a huge amount of weight and put on some colour. I lost weight without starving."

Madhavan said his character "believes that good should be done to people. He likes it when somebody does something good for the people and society. But he believes that it should be done within the bounds of the law.

Abishek in GuruHe believes that there is a reason why there is law and there is a reason why people make laws. He opposes anyone who breaks the law -- without caring who that person is. So, he stands to oppose Gurukant Desai when he breaks laws. This reporter knows the power of words and the media."

But Gurukant Desai believes that if a law can be made in a day, it can also be changed in a day. That is the difference between the man dreaming big and the man watching him dream big.

Guru is not scared of criticism either. He believes that 'when people criticise you, it means you are doing good. I am not scared of society that criticises me because I know I am also part of the same society.'

Abishek in GuruGuru's wife is played by Aishwarya Rai, who made her debut in Mani Ratnam's Iruvar. The film was roughly based on the lives of MGR, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa.

P C Sreeram has shot the maximum number of films for Mani Ratnam. But Rajeev Menon, who was behind the camera for Bombay, returns as Ratnam's cinematographer in Guru.

Other than the main characters, Mallika Sherawat, Mithun Chakraborthy, Pratap Pothen, Lakshmi, Baby Asha, Baby Anushka and Master Sunny also play key roles in the film.

Mani Ratnam, who has shot all his films in India so far, has gone to Istanbul, Turkey, to shoot a song featuring Bachchan and Mallika Sherawat. Otherwise, the shooting of the film was mainly done in Chennai.

Abishek in GuruNo one but A R Rahman can compose the music for a Mani Ratnam film! Rahman made his debut in Roja.

Similarly, editing of a Mani Ratnam film has to be by Sreekar Prasad and sound by H Sridhar -- his regulars. The film is produced by Mani Ratnam and G Srinivasan for Madras Talkies.


Guru premiere in Canada : Courtesy:

R Madhavan in GURURoger Nair Productions has acquired Canadian rights to writer/director Mani Ratnam's Guru. Guru is rumored to be based on the life of Reliance corporation founder and the richest man of India, Late Dhiru Bhai Ambani's Life. Roger Nair Productions spokesperson Mr. Nair and Kaleidoscope Entertainment Mr. Bobby Bedi announced on Wednesday in a press conference, held at "The Host" that a Star studded World Premiere of Guru is to be held in Toronto on January 11th 2007.

This has been a landmark deal between Canada and India making Canada an official territory of Bollywood films. Historically Bollywood film industry has always looked upon North America as one unit and lobbying of Canadian company to be given Video and television rights have been futile, forcing them to get only exhibition rights that did not give them much right to go after video piracy. With a Canadian company acquiring absolute Theatrical, video and TV rights ensures every legal right to curb piracy with the help of police and the justice system.

Mr. Bedi was shown the world class Toronto venues fit to host a premiere of this magnitude by OMDC officials followed by a City of Toronto hosted luncheon in celebration of signing of a pioneer deal signed between the two companies. Mr. Bedi also chairs CII (Chamber of Indian industries), FFI (film finance of India) and is on the committee of India's International film festival held in Goa each year.

Roger Nair productions will hold a world premiere in Toronto with most of the cast and crew attending on January 11th 2007 including Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek bachchan, AR Rahman and Mani Ratnam The film opens in theaters Canadawide Cineplex, AMC and Empire January 12th, 2007.

Mani Ratnam's first interview on Guru: Courtesy:

By Subash K Jha

Aishwarya Rai in GURUThough the film has some uncanny resemblances to the life of the industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, Mani insists the plot in his latest film Guru is rooted to a cinematic reality. "Hopefully it'll have some connect with real life," he says amidst hectic sessions of background music with A.R Rahman.

Why did Mani cast Abhishek in a role that required a huge historical and chronological journey? Mani can't seem to get enough of his Yuva lead. "Abhishek was the first choice for Guru and I am very happy about his work. I think he is growing remarkably as an actor. If you shift me back to the start and ask me who you will cast as Guru I will go back to Abhishek."

This is also the second time that Mani has worked with Aishwarya Rai. "I was quite happy with what Ash did in Iruvar. I thought she was quite remarkable, given that it was her first film and in a language (Tamil) that she did not know. In Guru she was speaking Hindi, so it must have been much easier on her. She has done the role with a lot of dignity and poise. She remained very close to the character and has done it with ease. In a film that is based on Guru she stands tall and strong."

Mani has finished the film in record time. Why the rush? Is it because he needed to get into your Aamir-Kareena starrer Lajjo right away? "No rush at all! I'm just doing work that I am paid to do. It was planned as a single-schedule film and we finished our major work by June-end. Aamir-Kareena film has now been rescheduled to the second half of 2007."

Looking back, does Mani see Yuva as an experience that didn't connect as much with the audience as you hoped it would? He refuses to find excuses for the film's failure? "There is always room to try something new. Be it in content or form or look. And when you do try something new there is always a chance that that it may not connect fully with the audience. That is a risk that a filmmaker has to take. If you take the credit when it works you have to take the blame when a film does not. But that should not stop you from growing and take a few more steps ahead. That's where Guru has taken me."

Two more songs added to the sound track of Guru: Courtesy:

GuruMani Ratnam and A R Rahman are known for their outstanding work. Mani Ratnam’s forthcoming film Guru’s music is out. And after the release of the music he has asked A R Rahman to add two more tracks in the soundtrack of the film.

Mani Ratnam informs that these two songs will be part of the background score. According to him the music just keeps flowing in, all through the making of the film and even after the completion of a film.

Currently working on Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodha-Akbar, Rahman feels that director Mani Ratnam felt the need of enhancing the musical output so he asked him for two more songs. He explains that one of the new songs has been sung by Soumya Rao. Rahman gave Rang De Basanti at the start of this year while this year’s last musical score again comes from him in the form of Guru.

Aishwarya swimming through Guru: Courtesy:

Actors have to do many painstaking jobs during the process of the film. This time it was Aishwarya who faced the hardship while shooting for a scene in Mani Ratnam's "Guru". Aishwarya had to swim across a lake in real, as Ratnam believes in realistic depiction of characters in his movies. He also made her ride a bicycle and walk through fields while shooting the film in South India to bring authenticity to the character. Ash plays the role of Sujatha a village belle. She was supposed to ride a bicycle in her opening scene in the film and while doing so she hurt herself. So Mani made some modifications and A R Rahman composed a new number called "Nanna Re", a rain song. Though Ash won't be shown riding a bicycle this time, she'll walk and swim in the lake in the film. So she stepped into a natural lake to shoot for the scene and swam a good distance across it. watch all this and more in this film slated for January release.

Guru Music Review: Courtesy:

By Joginder Tuteja, November 18, 2006 - 12:03 IST

Listen Guru here

Coming together of Mani Ratnam and A.R.Rahman is always special. Whether it is their first ever special 'Roja' or 'Dil Se' followed by 'Yuva', the music has always been spellbinding and something special. Add to the team a legend by the name of Gulzar and you can hardly settle for anything less than exceptional. 

No wonder, the desire is to be just all ears as soon as one lays hands on the album. 

Is it really Shreya Ghoshal singing the song? That's what you question yourself and recheck the album credits as soon as she begins her crooning of 'Barso Re'. Her voice sounds completely different from what we have been used to hearing since her 'Devdas' and 'Jism' days and though she has seldom disappointed over the years, with 'Barso Re' she scales new heights altogether as she goes completely carefree in her rendition of this 'rain-coming' song that is as different from 'Ghanan Ghanan' [Lagaan] as the setting of 'Lagaan' was different from that of 'Rang De Basanti'! Uday Mazumdar is heard for just a line or two in the middle of this song, which belongs to Shreya all the way. Gulzar's lyrics continue to be poetic-n-entertaining as well while the arrangements deserve special mention since they keep the song's momentum on a lively pace with the beats along with the sound of 'na na re' making 'Barso Re' a treat to hear. 

If you have been craving to hear something new all this while then 'Tere Bina' is the one for you. What makes the song special is A.R. Rahman coming behind the mike to sing a full-fledged number with regulars like Murtaza Qadir providing the background vocals. A love song with a 'big' difference due to the way the entire song has been paced and arranged, it is an amazing fusion of sufi and Indian classical mix that makes 'Tere Bina' a new hearing experience altogether. There is a rural India feel to the entire composition, which also reflects in the lyrics and takes you to a dream journey. The journey is only made much more authentic with arrival of Chinmayee who has a considerable role to play in the second half of the song. Unlike numerous Rahman numbers that take their own time to catch up with a listener, this one gets you hooked on right away and makes you wait for rest of the songs to come. 

Rural mood continues with 'Ek Lo Ek Muft', which turns out to be a huge speed breaker after two absolutely awesome numbers. A song picking up it's theme from 'Buy one get one free' schemes that are prevalent in the consumer market, 'Ek Lo' is a situational number that just doesn't appeal audio-wise. Though Ratnam's picturisation may bring some spark to this song that seems like a fun outing on screen, what is surprising is Bappi Lahiri being hardly THE Bappi Lahiri that one had expected behind the mike. He croons for a man who is drunk and though he does well in creating that right mood, it still sets one thinking about the entire thought process of choosing him ahead of any other singer! Chitra joins in later and she too sounds completely different from the way she has been heard over the years. Tanvi, Saloni, Boney and Jaidev provide background vocals support. The song moves on a leisurely pace with minimal music instruments and has a South Indian style of composing and arrangements written all over it. 

Thankfully the album is back on track with 'Mayaa Mayya' that has a strong Middle East flavor to it. The song is unlike any other composition that one may have ever heard in a mainstream Hindi film and Rahman's special touch only makes it irresistible. Mayyam Toller is the singer roped in especially for this number that is touted to be Mallika Sherawat's item song in the film. The song has a strong undertone of sensuality that flows at a lovely pace throughout its duration. Chinmayee and Keerthi only help in giving the song an exquisite feel that makes 'Mayya Mayya' a true world song. An absolutely original number that has some excellent programming and additional arrangements by Ranjit Barot, it moves to an expansive musical drive towards the last couple of minutes. Also notable is the way Rahman fuses the Middle East flavor with the Gujarati folk music in the end to demonstrate his class once again. A grand number that should look only better when seen on video! 

Alka Yagnik singing for Rahman does sound like a unique combination and with Hariharan around; there are expectations of an altogether new experience with 'Ay Hairathe'. For a very short while, there is a distinct sound of 'Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu' from 'Waqt' that is soon forgotten as soon as Rahman and Aslam Mohammad begin the song with their intoxicating humming. Hariharan arrives on the scene soon to get into his 'ghazal' singing mode and add on to an overall classy feel of the song. This is not one of those typical love songs that one is used to hearing and enters a different terrain altogether. Though there is doubt about the song getting into the popularity zone, purists may find it exciting due to it being an unconventional composition while boasting of trademark Gulzar poetry. 

After number of interesting and some unconventional tunes, 'Baazi Laga' comes as a real surprise since it hardly sounds like a Rahman composition by any means. Though the arrangements along with some additional programming by Ranjit Barot try to give the song a carnival feel, this situational number about money and playing gambles has an 80s tune which doesn't come close to Rahman's class; well at least at the beginning. Later into the song the orchestra and the arrangements save the day by enabling the song to maintain its fast pace. Madhushree has very little role to play in this song that has Swetha and Bhargavee as the background singers and though Rahman's touch starts becoming apparent towards the end, the overall impact is still not of the kind that would make the track to be one of the most in-demand! 

One is transported to the world of operas and Broadways with 'Jaage Hain' that has a magical orchestra as its USP! Though the number is too classy to find every person on the street humming the tune aloud, for those who want their music to be heard closely with lots of finer nuances to be caught, 'Jaage Hain' comes as a gift. Once Chitra sets the pace for this situational track about taking rest for a while and anticipating a new tomorrow, it is left to Rahman and his team of musicians to grip the listener with some subtle yet highly impacting orchestra. Later Rahman himself comes behind the mike and does some great rendition while going from ultra mild to high pitch and in the process Madras Chorale Group too joins the proceedings to take the track towards an all time high finale. Classy...simply classy! 

Rahman fans only have their hands full with later when they get to hear some of his best tracks like 'Rang De Basanti' [Rang De Basanti], 'Ghanan Ghanan' [Lagaan], 'Hum Hai Iss Pal Yahan' [Kisna], 'Dheeme Dheeme' [Zubeidaa] and 'Yeh Rishta' [Meenakshi] that have been added on as a bonus. 

In the end, 'Guru' leaves quite a classy impression. On one side there are some lovable songs like 'Barso Re', 'Bin Tere' and 'Mayya' while on the other side there is a track like 'Jaage Hain'. Though 'Ay Hairathe' would invite mixed response, 'Ek Lo Ek Muft and 'Baazi Laga' would have to depend a lot on the way they are presented on screen. Now coming to a question on whether the album would turn out to be more popular than 'Rang De Basanti'? Well, it all depends upon how the film fares at the box office. While the music of RDB was good too, it grew enormously with the film's release followed by a terrific response it garnered at the box office. In case of 'Guru' too the songs are of the kind that may not become a craze of the nation within a fortnight of the album's release but have all the valid reasons to become further popular if the film hits the bull's eye!

Gulzar on  Guru

Ever since he connected with younger listeners with 'Kajra re', Gulzar has been really letting his hair down.

'For me, it's time to freak out,' Gulzar laughed. The youthful progression continues with the song 'Ek lo ek muft' in Mani Ratnam's 'Guru'.

It is a fun song composed by A.R. Rahman, sung by Bappi Lahiri and filmed on a bhang-soaked Abhishek Bachchan dancing with twins in his hands.

The situation? Aishwarya Rai, who plays Abhishek's wife in the film, has given birth to twins.

'Hence the lines Ek lo ek muft. You know the catch-phrase in every supermarket - 'Buy one get one free',' chuckled Gulzar.

The poet is proud of his rapport with Ratnam.

'We worked really well together in 'Dil Se'. 'Chaiyya chaiyya', though poetically worded, connected with the young. Then in 'Yuva' Ratnam worked with another lyricist. Now we're together again in 'Guru' and Ratnam's next 'Lajjo', which will be a welcome challenge. It will take me back to Punjab and the pre-partition era - two of my favourite themes for writing,' Gulzar told us.

Guru postponed: Courtesy:

The highly awaited film Guru starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai has been postponed by a week to end of December. It also has a possibility of releasing in the first week of January. Sources from Kaleidoscope Films who are distributing the film have confirmed the news. They stated the reason of delay of the film was to avert the clash with Bhagam Bhaag, which releases on 22nd Decmeber. Also another reason that could have led to this delay is the fate of two biggies Don and Jaan-E-Mann, which released on Diwali. Nevertheless Madras Talkies claims that they never gave an official release date for the film.

Also another film which has been postponed to April 2007 is Yashraj Film�s Tara Rum Pum. The film was rumored to release in January but Yashraj Films seem to be in no hurry to rush the release of the film. When contacted, the officials at Yashraj Films refused to comment on the issue. Apparently they want to capitalize the holiday period around in April.

Meanwhile Kabul Express will release in mid December. Kabir Khan says "My film will release on the 15th of December". Well let's wait and watch and hope the best for all the films.

Guru Promo watch: Courtesy:

By IndiaFM News Bureau, October 31, 2006 - 09:55 IST

Abishiekh in GURU The Guru has arrived. Yes the much awaited promo of the Guru has come out and the exclusive promo is here on IndiaFM for all the viewers. The promo begins with Abhishek Bachchan who is playing the title role looking at a huge Company and then begins a story in the promo itself.

The promo shows Abhishek maturing from a childlike boy to a man. Abhishek is a man from a small village who wants to become the biggest entrepreneur in Indian history. How he follows his dreams, his visions and how successful he becomes eventually. A villager, a visionary, a winner, that's what Guru is about.

The focus of the whole promo is only on Abhishek Bachchan's character. Even a star like Aishwarya Rai isn't used in the introductory teaser for added appeal. R. Madhavan and Vidya Balan form the second couple in the film. Arya Babbar plays Aishwarya's brother as has negative shades in his character. Also Mithun Chakraborthy plays an important character in the film. The hot and sultry siren Mallika Sherawat will be seen in an item.

The characters from Mani Ratnam's Guru introduce themselves: Courtesy:

Abishiekh in GURUBy IndiaFM News Bureau, November 6, 2006 - 05:08 IST

Guru Kant Desai - Abhishek Bachchan
There�s a saying in our village, if people say bad things about you, you must be doing something good. Sounds true, doesn�t it?

Abishek and Aishwarya in GURU. Sujatha - Aishwarya Rai
I hated my father for forcing me to marry Guru. But I was sent away to Bombay to live with my unwanted husband and my anger in a one-room chawl. 

I don't know when I stopped thinking of him as a stranger and started calling him Guru. I was too shy to say things like I love you, but love was perfume I wore everyday. 

Some people call him God, some say he is evil, but for me he is the man who has to just enter the room and I can feel that perfume waft its way across and settle on me that perfume called love

Mithun Chakravarthy in Mani Ratnam's GURUManikdas Guptha (Nanaji) � Mithun Chakravarthy 
Swathantra - is the newspaper I run, and the newspaper runs me. Gurubhai was like a son to me, when I met him first on the streets of Bombay. He had righteous anger and a desire to achieve his goals. I liked that. He was in a hurry to make his own way. I liked that even more. When others told me that Gurubhai was not all white, I thought they were envious of him and ignored them. 

That was my mistake. 
No cost is too great in the pursuit of truth. 
And in my fight for the truth I knew that I'd either destroy Guru or myself. 
And I was prepared for both. 

Madhavan in GURUShyam Saxena - R. Madhavan
Gurukanth Desai should be put in a jail and the keys should be thrown away. It's not just that he is evil, but he awakens the evil in everyone. Gurubhai flirted with the law and the lawmakers, did anything and everything to enhance his business, and then buried the laws and built a fountain on top of it to make the grave look pretty. Profit and the share price were the only two parameters that mattered to him. Right and wrong, just and unjust were incidental. I will fight him and the Gurus of this world till the very end. 

Meenu - Vidya Balan
I met Gurubhai when I was seven years old. He was the only one who never asked me why I limped. While Nanaji and Shyam could only see what Gurubhai had done, I could see why he had done it. When you run fast you do kick up a lot of dust. But dust always settles. I could see it from my wheelchair but Nanaji could not. I like fights. And this one where everyone I loved was fighting each other was exciting. They cared but they fought. The contradiction was exactly like life. And I loved life. Especially when there was so little of it left.

Abishiekh goes the Ambani way: Courtesy: Rediff

Villager. Visionary. Winner. 
GURU press met in Mumbai.
That's the poster-friendly summary of industrialist Guru Kant Desai's life. 

Who's that? Well, the lead character in Mani Ratnam's Guru, played by Abhishek Bachchan and supposedly based on the life of late industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani. 

Also starring in the film are Aishwarya Rai, Vidya Balan, Mallika Sherawat, Mithun Chakravarty and Madhavan. 

The stars came together in a Mumbai function on Sunday, November 5. Hosted by none other than Amitabh Bachchan, the function saw Bollywood's filmmakers coming together to catch up with (and pay salutations to) 'Mani sir.' 

Directors like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Nikhil Advani, Vishal Bhardwaj, Rohan Sippy and Shaad Ali breezily chatted the evening away, in a celebrity-studded function. 
The event was puzzlingly called a music launch, but the film's soundtrack will only hit stores on November 15. 

Guru is an eagerly awaited soundtrack, reuniting Mani with composer A R Rahman and lyricist Gulzar after 10 years. Their last collaboration yielded one of Rahman's most critically acclaimed albums, Dil Se

Those present had a teasing taste of things to come as Gulzar read out a couple of lines from one of the songs, and Rahman accompanied him on piano. 

In the film, the life of Guru spans a 30-year journey, from ambitious bachelor to wealthy industrialist. 
The quiet director preferred to let his stars do the talking. Amitabh Bachchan asked Abhishek how he felt when Mani approached him for the role. "The first reaction was 'Thank God, he called me for this role,'" smiled Abhishek. 

"It was one of the toughest roles in my career and Mani sir discussed it with me for nearly 10 months before we went ahead to shoot the film," he revealed. 

But that was all one would get from the leading man, sealing his lips saying his director had forbidden him from saying anything else about the movie. 

Aishwarya Rai, who plays the role of Guru's wife in the film, said she was ecstatic to work with Ratnam once again. 
"I made my debut with Mani Ratnam," Ash gushed, "with the Tamil film Iruvar, so it's nice to be associated with him once again." 

"Mani sir is my guru, so for me to do this film was like coming back home," she added. 

While Mallika Sherawat wasn't around, Madhavan talked about matters of weight. "I had to lose weight for this film because Mani sir told me to," he laughed, "while Abhishek had to put on 10 kilos of weight for his role." 
"I went to London to sweat it out in a fitness institute for a month. I burnt my calories to be in shape and believe me," Madhavan grinned, "it is more difficult to lose weight than to put it on."

A Toronto based singer for Guru: Courtesy:

GURU audio launch.Mani Ratnam�s Guru is the current talk of town. AR Rahman who started off with Mani Ratman�s Roja has given some of his best tunes to the director�s film. No doubt the music of Guru that released yesterday is also keenly awaited. By now we are aware that Bappi Lahiri will be singing a song in the film. That is a unique combination.

Apart from that another interesting fact about the music of Guru is that a Toronto based singer Mariam Taller has sung a number. The track is called Mayya Mayya. Mariam Taller has an Arabic feel to her voice. She had earlier done background vocals for Rang De Basanti.

Lajjo launch shifted ahead: Courtesy:

Has Mani Ratnam postponed the launch of his new film LAJJO, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead? That's the buzz in the industry. A source close to one of the actors told this writer that LAJJO, which was scheduled to take off in January 2007, has been postponed by another four/five months.

What's the reason for the delay? "It seems, Mani is concentrating on the finishing touches of GURU and therefore, wasn't able to devote much time to the pre-shooting work of LAJJO. Also, he didn't want to rush into LAJJO while handling the post-production work of GURU. Hence, the gap, the trustworthy source reveals.

Mani has now asked his actors to allot dates after a couple of months so that he can shoot LAJJO in a single start-to-finish schedule.

Mani Ratnam and Madurai: Courtesy:

One of Mani Ratnam�s favourite locations is the Thirumalai Naicker Mahal in Madurai. It is a historic building where now that state government holds a Light & Sound show on a daily basis, which is a major tourist attraction. 

Once again Mani has chosen the Mahal as location for his Abishiekh- Ash film Guru. Remember that Mani had shot that famous Muslim wedding song Kannalanae from the film Bombay? Even some scenes from his Mohanlal-Prakash Raj classic Iruvar was shot here. 

The grand pillar inside the Mahal when it is lit up looks spectacular. Added to that the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple and its surroundings are favourite spot for film shooting. 

Mani, due to sentimental reasons chose these locations in the temple town of Madurai for the Guru song. This set off rumours that Chota B and Ash have secretly tied the knot at the temple town. 

The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of

Mallika Sherawat and Abishiekh in Mani Ratnam's Guru: Courtesy:

Mallika Sherawat and Abishiekh in Mani Ratnam's Guru


Firstly we see Abhishek Bachchan in a clean shaven look after a very long time. It is rumored that he is playing the reel life role of the late business magnate Dhirubai Ambani. Check him out in his polished suit in this title role. On the right corner is him again in another look, however this time being more casual with a cap on.

In the picture in the middle we see Abhishek and none other than Mallika Sherawat on a horse carriage somewhere in Europe. This is taken from the special �item number� song that has been picturized on Mallika. The song is the only part of the film where she will be prevalent.

Apart from Abhishek Guru also stars Aishwarya Rai as his lady love with Vidya Balan, R Madhavan, Arya Babbar and Mithun Chakravarthy in pivotal roles.

Some revelations on Mani Ratnam's Guru: Courtesy:

Abhishek Bachchan in GURUMani Ratnam's Guru is all set to hit the screens during the month of December before Christmas. The movie stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in the lead. Madhavan portrays the antagonist. The other stars in the movie include Vidya Balan, Mallika Sherawat, Mithun Chakraborty, Arya Babbar, Darrshan Jariwalla, and Deepak Yadav. Madhavan is rumored to be playing a villain  just as he did in Yuva and cast opposite Vidya Balan.

Earlier reports suggested that the movie is loosely based on the life of Ambhani. However, Abhishek denied the rumors and it is being speculated now that the movie is a mature love story. Mani writes the script with the help of Suhasini. Veterans of the industry like Rahman, Gulzar, and Rajiv Menon join hands with Mani in Guru.

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in GURU.The plans of producing the movie parallely in Hindi and English were later shelved. 

Noted composer Bappi Lahari has recorded a song for the movie and so did singer Madhusree in Rahman's music. Apanra Mehta, who is admired in the mini screen, turned down the offer to play Aishwarya Rai's mother in the film.

Interesting Mani considered Vivek Oberoi, John Abraham, Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, and Kunal Kapoor for the part of the male villain, who was to cast opposite Vidya Balan. Madhavan finally bagged the offer.

Ash and Aby's tryst with history: Courtesy:

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan are currently in Bagalkot, North Karnataka, shooting for Mani Ratnam�s Guru. The area is also the location of historical sites like Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal. Abhishek plays the role of a legendary hero of the 1857 Mutiny.

While they were shooting for the film, the duo also visited the historical monuments. And they were certainly very impressed. Aishwarya was seen wearing a sari and taking in the beauty of her surroundings. It was no easy task for the production team to get permission to shoot in these areas. The Archaeological Survey of India authorities were apprehensive because shooting in the areas would attract a lot of crowds, which could prove to be detrimental for the monuments. However, finally they relented.

The shooting began under tight security. Thousands of people thronged the area to catch a glimpse of the stars. However, they were not able to do so since the police had cordoned off the area. But the crowds were determined and climbed the tops of trees for a dekko! Apart from Ash and Abhishek, Guru also stars Mallika Sherawat. However, she was not present in Bagalkot as she didn�t have any scenes there.

A vintage Mumbai in Chennai for Mani Ratnam�s Guru!!: Courtesy:

GURU sets.Have you ever imagined what Mumbai would have looked like in the 1950's? 

Trams on the road, buildings, people and the very atmosphere exuding a sense of the old world charm That is precisely what ace director Mani Ratnam has brought alive in his forthcoming film, Guru. The Mumbai of the 1950s.

With Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Maddy and Vidya Balan in the lead roles, sources reveal that the film traces the life of the Ambanis.

A majority of the shoot is complete, with only two weeks' worth of shooting left. 

Known for his meticulous precision for detail, Mani Ratnam was intent on painting a picture of Mumbai before the 1960s. And when an image of a certain vision sits with explicit clarity in the mind of a director like Mani, there is no room whatsoever for compromise.

Huge sets at the YMCA grounds in Chennai have been erected expressly for this purpose, with art director Samir Chanda calling the shots. The sets are massive, to say the least, and the vista presented, lifelike. 

Abhishek Bachchan in GURU Old world roads have been laid out, trams have been built, and even the costumes are a replica of the times gone by. The sets and the setting look so authentic, that a lucky few who caught a glimpse of the sets, are spellbound by its sense of realism. In fact, most people are not aware of the existence of such a setting, including a majority of the unit of the film.

Mani Ratnam has taken time out to explain the magnitude of the location only to Abhishek, who trade experts believe is lucky to have landed with such an exquisite and unique character.

We are told that Abhishek's character starts in the year 1959, when he is 20 years old, and the film traces his life till he is 65. The older Abhishek Bachchan in the film has been characterized as a rotund personality, for which a special make-up that takes close to four hours to complete has been used in the film. Industry experts say that Guru will certainly be a milestone character for Abhishek Bachchan, and his value in the industry will only shoot upwards. 

However, when Mani wanted to shoot a few scenes and a song sequence in Mumbai, Abhishek was forced to decline in fear of the media glare. With scores of rumours doing the rounds about his supposed affair with Aishwarya Rai, he is afraid that a song shot in Mumbai with Abhishek romancing Ash will only add fuel to the rumour mills that are working overtime already. Abhishek has declined a shoot in Mumbai earlier as well, for the film Dhoom 2, and requested the producer to look for an alternate location with the unit ending up in Brazil finally. 

Respecting the actor's wishes, Mani Ratnam too is looking for other locations for the song, while completing most of his film shooting in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Guru Still: Courtesy:





Mani on a mission: Courtesy: Sify

Has Mani Ratnam and his banner `Madras Talkies` stopped making Tamil films? The answer is blowing in the winds, as Mani completes his Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai, Vidya Balan, Mallika Sherawat starrer Guru. Afterwards he will start work on his new Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor film Lajjo

LAJJOLast week Ratnam flew to Mumbai for a hush-hush photo shoot of Lajjo which will start rolling in October. Aamir Khan plays a sleaze ball politician and was dressed in a starched white Khadi while Kareena spotted a village belle look. 

It looks like India best known director who became a household name with his Tamil movies is no longer interested in doing films in his mother-tongue. Mani is doing big-budget Bollywood films with top stars who are willing to work with him at reduced rates! 

Remember that Tamil superstars are reluctant to do Mani films as there is no Money for them! And the ace director does not want to make a film with newcomers in the lead as he is in no mood to experiment. 

It seems, Mani Ratnam has an axe to grind against Bollywood industry who has never given him his due. Only two of his dubbed Tamil films Roja and Bombay have been both critical and commercial success in Hindi while his straight films like Dil Se and Yuva were not only damp squibs, but was torn apart by the critics . 

Now Mani Ratnam wants to set the record straight and prove to the press and trade that he can make a commercially viable Hindi films which will also be appreciated by critics. Let us hope that Guru and Lajjo does it for him. But Kollywood is definitely going to miss him! 

The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of

Kareena and Aamir Khan finalised for Mani Ratnam's Lajjo: Courtesy:

Mani RatnamBy IndiaFM News Bureau, August 7, 2006 - 02:39 IST

Kareena is on a high these days. So giving a fine performance in Omkara, she has signed on for Mani Ratnam's Lajjo. The film will be an adaptation of Ismat Chugtai's book of the same name. The interesting part is that she will be paired together for the first time with Aamir Khan. 

This will be Kareena�s second period film after Asoka. Kareena feels glad that she has got an opportunity to play such role at this phase of her career. 

She has already started reading Chugtai�s period love story to understand her role and to get into the skin of the character. Previously she had worked with Mani Ratman for Yuva. Ratnam is currently busy shooting for his forthcoming film Guru. Lajjo will go on floor in January and will be out in mid 2007. 

Suhasini's partly scripting Mani Ratnam's Guru: Courtesy:

Suhasini Mani RatnamOn 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.

Yash Raj Films to distribute Mani Ratnam�s Guru: Courtesy:

By IndiaFM News Bureau, July 6, 2006 - 04:34 IST

There is a buzz that filmmakers Mani Ratnam and Yash Chopra have joined hands for Mani Ratnam�s forthcoming film Guru. It is believed that after the failure of Dil Se and Yuva, distributors were a little hesitant to go for Mani Ratnam's Guru, except for Aditya Chopra, who is ready to take it as a challenge as he finds a lot of potential in the film. The closest that the two entities got so far is when Yash Raj distributed Saathiya directed by Shaad Ali, which originally was a Mani Ratnam creation. Mani Ratnam had directed the original Tamil film Alai Payuthey and was given credits in the Hindi remake. If everything goes fine, then Guru will be Mani Ratnam�s first movie to be distributed by Yash Raj Films. Rumors also have it that Guru is based on the late business tycoon Dhirubhai Ambani but we don�t buy it as there is no official confirmation on the same. Guru has a mammoth starcast comprising of Mithun Chakraborthy, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, R Madhavan, Vidya Balan, Mallika Sherawat and Arya Babbar.

Guru poster: Courtesy: Lazy



Guru's first poster from Tamil Pakkam. Seems pretty original. And that's a nice font to write my name !!

P.S - Nitin calls it a spoof. He is probably right [scroll down to October month of the calendar].

Mani Ratnam creates magic of Mumbai in Chennai: Courtesy:

By IndiaFM News Bureau, June 13, 2006 - 02:51 IST

All of Mani Ratnam�s films are known for their hard hitting themes and the detailing that goes into them. This time too, the director has outdone himself by creating one of the grandest sets ever created, for his forthcoming film, Guru. The set, erected in Chennai, depicts Mumbai of the 1950s. The art director, Sameer Chanda has done extensive research and given attention to the minutest of details. It is complete with trams, houses and junior artists in costumes of that era. The exact location of the set is still a well-guarded secret. However, people who have managed a sneak peek can�t stop raving about it.

A period film, Guru stars a grand cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhavan, Vidya Balan, Arya Babbar, Mallika Sherawat, and Mithun Chakraborthy. The screenplay of the movie deals with the happenings in Abhishek Bachan�s life in between 20 and 65 years. Sources say, he has put on some weight for this character. All the scenes portraying Mumbai are being shot in Chennai.

Madras Talkies deny accident on sets: Courtesy: Sify Movies

Madras Talkies, Mani Ratnam�s production house has denied rumours appearing in a section of the press that an accident happened on the sets of his Hindi film Guru at YMCA grounds in Nandanam, Chennai.
Mani Ratnam who is very secretive about Guru is chronicling the life and times of Dhirubhai Ambani in a hush-hush manner. He refuses to talk to the press and there is no one to handle the media which has resulted in lot of negative reporting.

Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan are currently shooting for Guru in Chennai for the last one week. Even the hotel they are staying is kept as a �state secret� and the rumour is that they are changing hotels to keep the press away!

Lahiri and Rahman team up: Courtesy: Sify Movies

IndiaFM | Thursday, 25 May , 2006, 16:12 

Bappi LahiriUntil a couple of years back, Bappi Lahiri was almost lost amongst the new composer crowd in Bollywood. A couple of his albums followed but it was with Vishal-Shekhar�s Boombai Nagariya which he sung with a retro charm that put him back in the public eye� or should we say ear. That was the first time that Bappi had sung for any other music composer. 
And now Bappi has taken to the mike, once again. He recently completed recording the title track of Mani Ratnam�s Guru, composed by none other than A.R.Rahman. Few people know that Rahman and Lahiri have known each other since a very long time. Lahiri was only too happy to work with the maestro. In fact, he is not hesitant to say that according to him, Rahman is the best from among his contemporaries. 
A seven minute song, the lyrics of the title track has been penned by Gulzar. In fact, they were all so well prepared that the recording was completed in a single night. Bappi da didn�t want to talk too much about the lyrics of the song, at this stage. But we do know that it will be used for the credits of the film. Everyone was satisfied with the end result of the song. Bappi is now open to more playback singing, provided he gets good numbers.

Bappi wins Rahman over Abishiekh

Here is a trivia on the music of �Guru� that is not known. While A R Rahman was working on the music of �Guru� he was keen to use the voice of Abhishek Bachchan in one of the compositions �Ek Lo Ek Muft�. But the actor missed out on the opportunity owing to his busy schedule. So this refrained the ace musician and the heartthrob of Bollywood Abhishek Bachchan from working together. Rahman then considered hearing Bappi Lahiri. In his true-blue style Bappida made the impact and recorded the song in two hours flat. In any way the song was not at all a bad bargain for Rahman, what say?

Rajeev Menon talks aout GURU: Courtesy: Vikatan

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 ?

Mani Ratnam to teach screen writing: Courtesy: The Hindu

Rajiv Menon's institute offers course in cinematography

Staff Reporter

Mani Ratnam to give lectures on screenwriting

Mani Ratnam and Rajiv Menon.

GOING ACADEMIC: Cinematographer Rajiv Menon (right) with film director Mani Ratnam at the launch of his film institute in Chennai on Wednesday. � Photo: V. Ganesan

CHENNAI: A cinematographer expands on the vision of the director, puts to rest the insecurities of the actors and works as part of a team, said Rajiv Menon, perhaps the best-known name in the business.

Launching Mindscreen Film Institute (MFI) on Wednesday, where the first specialised course to be offered will be cinematography, a six-month course, Mr. Menon explained that it is aimed at people who are keen to join the film industry as soon as possible. He intended to make this knowledge available to students of MFI through frequent interaction with industry people. Mr. Menon's teacher M.N. Gnanasekharan is the dean of the institute. Graduates in any discipline from a recognised university or those with three years work experience in films or video or multimedia are eligible. The film school syllabus will be enhanced with technological developments, he said. The course fee is Rs.1 lakh, and they are considering an intake of 10 students.

Mr. Menon said that they intend to expand the number of specialised courses offered at MFI. A course in screenwriting is next: "An under-developed area in Indian cinema. That is our real problem," said Mr. Menon. Director Mani Ratnam was present at the launch of the MFI. He will give lectures on screenwriting.

The application submission deadline is May 15. Call 044 - 24996417 for details or log on to

Mani Ratnam's GURU based on Ambani!: Courtesy: Sify

Mani Ratnam is very secretive by nature and all his projects are kept under wraps till the release. And for his latest film Guru he made the lead actors and the crew sign confidentiality bonds! Well, now the cat is out of the bag! Guru seems to be based on the life and times of India�s biggest textile tycoon-The late Dhirubhai Ambani. According to industry sources the film takes a hard look at the phenomenal rise and the making of the Ambani empire right from his early days in Aden (in the film it is shown as Turkey). Abhishek Bachchan plays Dhirubhai Ambani and Aishwarya Rai plays his wife Kokilaben the simple lady. The basic plot of the film hinges on the famous Ambani philosophy-accomplishing what others think is impossible. In the film, Mithun Chakravarthgy plays a sophisticated negative character pitted against Abhishek (shades of Bombay Dyeing chairman Nusli Wadia?) Mani sir is also giving Guru a romantic touch with some great melodies tuned by A R Rahman and has already shot the first schedule in Turkey with the lead actors and Mallika Sherawat who plays an important role. Remember that Mani has a weakness for basing his films on real life characters like Velu Nayakan of Nayakan that delved into the life of Bombay underworld dreaded Tamil don of the 70�s and 80�s Varadaraja Muthaliar. Similarly 10 years back Mani shot Iruvar under top secrecy as it was the story of MGR-Jayalalithaa-Karunanidhi. He did it at a time when Jayalalithaa was the Chief Minster of Tamil Nadu! Who can forget his portrayal of the Mumbai riots and the depiction of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray played by Tinnu Anand in Bombay?

Aish injured in GURU sets: Courtesy:

rediff Entertainment Bureau | April 21, 2006 15:12 IST

Aishwarya Rai fell from a bicycle while shooting at Badami in Karnataka's Bagalkote district this morning and suffered 'minor abrasions,' police sources said.

"She suffered minor abrasions in the leg. She was given treatment and there is nothing to worry," a police official said.

The actress was shooting for Mani Ratnam's Guru, in which she plays the lead role opposite Abhishek Bachchan. Guru is said to be a historical film set against the backdrop of India's struggle for Independence. Shooting for the film was in progress for the past few days, sources said. 

This is not the first time Ash has been injured on film sets. Earlier, she had met with an accident when a jeep backed down on her on the sets of Rajkumar Santoshi's Khakee.

Director Mani Ratnam has also witnessed accidents while filming before. During the Yuva shoot, Ash's former beau Vivek Oberoi injured himself in a bike accident.

Arya Babbar joins Abishiekh and Madhavan in GURU: Courtesy:

By Taran Adarsh, April 22, 2006 - 02:08 IST

Arya Raj Babbar�s son Arya Babbar, who had a high profile launch in Raj Kanwar�s AB KE BARAS opposite Amrita Rao, has been signed to play the third vital lead in Mani Ratnam�s GURU. Abhishek Bachchan and Madhavan head the cast, while the search for the third lead was a big suspense. The role is that of Ash�s brother in the film, who happens to be Abhishek�s best friend as well.

Is the role substantial enough? �Yes, it�s a challenging role,� Arya, who is currently shooting for the film in Karnataka, called to say. �More than anything else, it�s an honor to work with Mani Sir. To be recognized by someone like Mani Sir and being cast in his film is no small achievement,� he sounds excited.

He continues in the same breath, �The best part is, I never bagged GURU through any source or contact. I actually auditioned for the role before it fell in my lap.�

It�s the first time that Abhishek and Arya are working together in a film project, although the two families have known each for a long time now. �Abhishek is a warm guy. Extremely helpful. The camaraderie is like brothers,� he adds.

Things seem to be picking up for Arya on the career front. �I have just finished shooting for a Hollywood film called THE PARTITION. I portray a negative role in this film, which looks at the partition of India in 1947,� he divulges. Co-starring with Arya in this film are Neve Campbell [WILD THINGS, THREE TO TANGO] and Jimi Mistry [THE GURU].

Madhavan will play parallel lead in Mani Ratnam's GURU: Courtesy:

Subhash K Jha

R MadhavanVidya Balan has found her leading man for Mani Ratnam's Guru. Ratnam has indeed roped in his old favourite to play the long-vacant parallel lead. Although Madhavan isn't allowed to talk about it, the deal was signed just before he flew off to London for a serious session in weight loss.

The search took its time�it almost resembled a game of musical chairs. After confirming Abhishek Bachchan for the title role, Ratnam considered and then discarded a roster of names for the other male lead: Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham, Viveik Oberoi, Madhavan�

The bets, however, had been hedged in Madhavan's favour as the actor has been Mani's favourite from the time the both collaborated for the Tamil film, Alai Payuthey.

Says a source close to both actor and director, �Madhavan was over the moon when Mani Sir finally... ... asked him to do the role. In fact he was wondering why Mani Sir had been hunting around when the ghar ka hero was in front of him all the while. Don't forget, they've made neo-classics like Alai Payuthey, Kannattil Muttumital and the Tamil version of Yuva, in which Maddy played Abhishek's character. The two are almost like family. So it's no surprise that Maddy bailed Mani Sir out.�

Apparently, the director gave his favourite hero a distress call. �Maddy didn't even want to hear about the role. He immediately said yes,� the source mentioned.

Another incentive for accepting the film was Abhishek Bachchan. Madhavan and Abhishek are quite fond of each other. If Maddy played Abhishek's role in Yuva, Abhishek was the original choice for the lead in Saathiya, the Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam's Alai Payuthey. Abhishek also played the Hindi version of the Tamil film Run which had Madhavan in the lead.

Guru is now being shot in Turkey. Madhavan joins the cast at the end of this month. Incidentally, Madhavan has been roped in for another Hindi film by none other than Sanjay Gupta.

Aamir Khan teams up with Mani Ratnam: Courtesy:

By: Taran Adarsh

Aamir KhanAamir Khan has never had it so good! The reticent actor, who lets his work speak for himself, has just delivered a super-success in RANG DE BASANTI. Agreed, Aamir has been a part of many a successful film in the past, but RANG DE BASANTI is his biggest grosser to date. Obviously, he has reasons to feel euphoric.

�Yes, I am thrilled with the success,� a cheerful Aamir tells me. The supremely talented actor had gone off press after MANGAL PANDEY and now that RANG DE BASANTI has hit the bull�s eye, his belief in letting the work speak for itself has only strengthened. �My reasons for staying away [from the media] were strictly professional. The media is supposed to be the watchdog, guiding and enlightening the nation all the while, but look at what it has stooped to these days? Sensationalism has taken over completely,� he sounds concerned.

Back to RANG DE BASANTI. It�s indeed surprising that the actor hasn�t teamed up with Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra again. Generally, in Bollywood, a successful film only cements the relationship between two professionals. �He [Mehra] feels the script of his new film doesn�t suit me. In fact, he was toying with the idea of making this script during RANG DE BASANTI itself and it was understood that I wouldn�t be a part of it,� the soft-spoken actor divulges.

Not that there are dearth of offers for Aamir. Now that FANAH is complete [�I haven�t seen the film,� says Aamir], he�s ready to start work on two films. And, coincidentally, both the projects will be directed by South-based directors.

Surya and Asin in GAJINI.The announcement that�s bound to create ripples is that of Mani Ratnam and Aamir teaming up for a film. Yes, Mani has signed Aamir for his forthcoming project that�s expected to roll in October this year. �We were keen to work with one another for a long time. In fact, he had approached me earlier too, but things didn�t work out. However, it�s happening finally,� he smiles.

Unlike Mani�s last few films, this will be a one-language film, to be made in Hindi only. �I can�t speak Tamil,� Aamir states, �Right now, Mani hasn�t finalized anyone else. Not even the leading lady. All I know is that I have allotted dates from October onwards.�

The second project Aamir has given his confirmation to is the remake of the Tamil hit GHAJINI. �It�s the first time I am acting in a Tamil remake and I am pretty excited about it. It�s not one of those typical masala films imported in Bollywood. There�s solid substance in this one,� Aamir enthuses. The director of the Tamil film, Murugadoss, will direct the Hindi version as well, the actor adds.

Script No way: Courtesy:

Mumbai Mirror has some news on Mani Ratnam's next flick, Guru.

This is the first time that Mani Ratnam is finding it difficult to get a star for his next, Guru. He can't find a hero opposite Vidya Balan in his film. Ratnam has signed Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai as the lead pair of his film, while Vidya Balan has been finalised as the second lead. But it seems that most of the Bollywood actors are giving this ace filmmaker grief as none of them seem to be interested in playing second lead to AB Jr.

While we go to press, we have been informed by our source that Mani Ratnam is disappointed with the attitude of Bollywood actors, and he wants to cast a fresh face opposite Vidya Balan. Mani sir will come to Mumbai to conduct screen tests and in all probability he might sign on a new face for the film, he informs.

I would love if Ratnam drops the entire plan and returns Chennai to shoot the movie in Tamil.

By Guru Subramanian

It�s no show for Ratnam's script

Vivek, John, Saif, Kunal, Madhavan ask for complete script narration, Mani refuses to give it

Ram Kamal Mukherjee

This is the first time that Mani Ratnam is finding it difficult to get a star for his next, Guru. He can't find a hero opposite Vidya Balan in his film.  Ratnam has signed Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai as the lead pair of his film, while Vidya Balan has been finalised as the second lead. But it seems that most of the Bollywood actors are giving this ace filmmaker grief as none of them seem to be interested in playing second lead to AB Jr.

Mani had personally called Vivek Oberoi for the film, Vivek too showed interest in working with Mani again after Yuva. An industry insider reveals, �Vivek wanted to work with Mani sir, he had asked for a complete narration of the script but Mani kept on delaying. He needed to know his role in the film, more so because Abhishek Bachchan is in the main lead. He has no problem in working with Abhishek and Ash, but he didn't want to do an inconsequential role.�

However, Mani didn't narrate the role, and approached John Abraham instead. But John too wanted a narration, which was not given. A close associate of Mani Ratnam informs, �Actually the final script is yet not ready. Anurag Kashyap is still writing the script and once it's over, Mani will be able to give a narration.�

Finally, out of sheer desperation, Mani approached Saif Ali Khan for the role, but he too politely turned down the offer stating 'date problems'.  Now the latest development is that Mani has approached Kunal Kapoor and Madhavan for the role. When contacted, Kunal Kapoor says, �Nothing has been finalised yet. I need to read the script.�

It seems that most of the actors are clueless about their fellow actors in the film. �Mani keeps the casting a completely hush-hush affair. No one is informed about the story idea and the cast until the film goes on the floors,� says our source.  Actress Vidya Balan, for instance, is clueless about her hero. �I don't care who will be my hero. I am excited that I am working with Mani sir,� Vidya smiles.

Incidentally, Mani is supposed to start the shooting of the film from the first week of April, in Chennai. �Mani sir has already blocked the dates of Ashwariya Rai. As soon as she is back from Melbourne, she and Abhishek will join Mani sir in Chennai,� informs Hari Singh, business manager of Ash.

While we go to press, we have been informed by our source that Mani Ratnam is disappointed with the attitude of Bollywood actors, and he wants to cast a fresh face opposite Vidya Balan. �Mani sir will come to Mumbai to conduct screen tests and in all probability he might sign on a new face for the film,� he informs.

Mani starts shoot: Courtesy: Sify

By Moviebuzz

Mani Ratnam has started the shoot of his new Hindi film Guru quietly with hardly any publicity at Chennai�s Binny Mill near Perambur. Scenes featuring Abhishek Bachchan are being canned and nobody is allowed inside the sets.
It is nearly two years since Mani�s bilingual Yuva and Ayutha Ezhuthu released and we understand that for health reasons he is trying to keep the shoot in Chennai as much as possible.

The others in the cast like Aishwarya Rai may join the shoot only in Mumbai location in April. A.R.Rahman has already delivered two songs for the film.

Niruthanum...Ellathayum Niruthanum: Courtesy:

A scene from DALAPATHI.

Filled with tight close-ups and trolley shots, the 5 minute sequence where Deva - Surya meet Arvind Swamy, is probably one of the best edited scenes in Kollywood. The broad view of Arvind Swamy's office is never shown until the conflict happens. Until then the camera just captures the emotions on the faces. As the trolley moves and the camera comes behind someone it cuts surprisingly to another face. May seem to be an old technique now but then it was so new.
A true team effort from the cast, Mani Ratnam, Suresh Urs and Santhosh Sivan. Illayaraja seems to have provided ample support with a perfect silence during the close-ups. Classy.

Is Vishnuvardhan the next Mani Ratnam: Courtesy: Sify

By Moviebuzz

Director VishnuvardhanIs Vishnuvardhan the new Mani Ratnam of Tamil cinema? The audience, critics, stars and Tamil film trade think that the young director like Mani Ratnam during the 80�s and 90�s has opened a market for a new genre of films with Arindhum Ariyamalum and now Pattiyal.

Pattiyal (130 prints) has opened in cities along with B and C stations and collections show that the audience are ready to embrace something new that is within the commercial format (gloss and songs). In a superstar driven industry, Vishnu has proved that money can be made at the box-office without big names or stars. He has also shown that a film with sensibility, story and presentation can reach a wider audience.

The popular rule in Tamil cinema is never to let the protagonist die, but in Pattiyal both the heroes with negative shades are brutally killed in the end. Like Mani Ratnam, Vishnu has not made any drastic change in the format of the film which has its own adequate dosage of songs, dance, fights and human emotions.

If Mani had A.R.Rahman, Vishnu has the backing of Yuvan Shankar Raja the hot-shot composer who is the favourite of today�s generation next. The idea is that both Mani and Vishnu are making films with earthy characters and reach out to a larger audience without actors being hams or the film being over the top.

Vishnu offers the audience a brand new formula- movies that are crisp and sleek like Pattiyal (running time: 2 hours 5 minutes), no separate comedy track, built in item number by lead stars (Namba Kattile�) and a lot of care given to song picturisation.

Pattiyal may or may not be a super hit, but it certainly has hit us with something new.

The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of

Note: It may be noted that Vishnu was a child artiste in Mani Ratnam's ANJALI. Remember the scene in which Master Tarun (Anjali's brother) fights with a boy and that boy says "Ivan yen cousin..." to police constable Charlie. That boy is Vishnu.

Mallika Sherawat and Mithun Chakraborthy in Mani Ratnam's GURU: Courtesy:

Mallika Sherawat Mithun Chakraborthy Mallika Sherawat with Mani Ratnam � now doesn�t that comes in as an unusual combination? But when Sherawat can be a part of Ram Gopal Varma and Subhash Ghai�s productions then this shouldn�t be as surprising. Mallika has signed Mani Ratnam's next venture called Guru which also stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. It is believed that she has been signed for an important role. The actress plays a crucial cameo which plays a significant part in the narrative of the film. Another interesting casting in the film is in the form of Mithun Chakraborthy. Mithun was to work with Ratnam years back on a Tamil film called Anandam. However but it didn�t work out because Mani wanted Mithun to chop off his hair and Mithun was committed to work with other directors at that time. Also it was reported that actor Vivek Oberoi has opted out of this film but the final casting is yet to be announced. �

Mani Ratnam's next film in Hindi called GURU: Courtesy: Times Of

Rajiv Menon, A R Rahman, Gulzar, Anuraag Kashyap, Abishiekh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Vidya Balan.Will Viveik Oberoi also be part of the cast? While the Mumbai film industry is abuzz with Mani Ratnam's next film with Aamir Khan, the cat is more or less out of the bag that the movie moghul will first bankroll and direct a Hindi film tentatively called Guru, starring Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Parineetha Vidya Balan. The much-feted director of films like Nayagan, Anjali, Roja, Bombay, Alai Payuthey and Kannathil Muthamittal was recently holed up at a Mumbai hotel, location hunting and script narrations and finalisations of his cast. The search is on for the role of the antagonist who spars with Abhishek Bachchan. It could just be John Abraham, though rumours were also circulating that the role might be offered to Vivek Oberoi. Anurag Kashyap will helm the Hindi dialogue, A R Rahman will score music. The director has zeroed in on Gulzar for the lyrics. Director Rajiv Menon who was the cinematographer on Ratnam's Bombay, will photograph Guru. The Aamir Khan project will roll only at the end of 2006. But as of now, it will be action time for Guru in April-May, with its first shooting schedule in Aden. Ratnam's Hindi feature film forays including Dil Se and Yuva were commercial failures. Neither Ratnam nor the cast members, including Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan were available for comment.

Saif turns down Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma:

IANS MUMBAI: Saif Ali Khan has declined lead roles in Ram Gopal Varma�s �Sholay�, where he was offered the part of Veeru, and Mani Ratnam�s latest bilingual in Hindi and English to be shot in London. �Practically speaking, I could do just one of these three huge projects. All of them were top-of-the-line stuff with great roles for me,� Saif told IANS. �The dates for Mani�s films were clashing with Siddharth Anand�s next, which I have agreed to do. I�d have loved to work with Mani. He is after all... Mani! As for �Sholay�... yeah, who wouldn�t want to do it? �Some day I�d love to do a big gangster film. In fact, Vishal Bhardwaj�s adaptation of �Othello� is a big gangster film.� After a lot of deliberation, Saif has decided to play Iago in Vishal�s much talked about Hindi adaptation of �Othello�. �Vishal wanted me in January-February 2006 and that suited my schedule just fine. It is a bloody good script. And I get to do a full-on rustic character with a UP accent and all. I have never done all this before. It�s got really cool dialogues.� Saif is going to spend a lot of time preparing for Vishal�s Iago. �I am already thinking of a scar and earrings for sure.�

Mani Ratnam's film in Israel: Courtesy: Cine

Mouna RaagamThe only two Tamil directors who are in the know of the international film festivals and they realize that showcasing their films would be lucrative and take action in that direction.

Cheran came to know about his film 'Porkalam', though selected for international film festival, but could not be shown there owing to the delay in sending it, from Mani Ratnam.

Amir who participated in the Indian Panorama recently expressed his grievance thus: senior people like Mani Rathnam don't educate the juniors like us about the international film festivals.

In January there is going to be an Indian Film Festival in Israel. In this Festival, along with 'Mister and Mrs. Iyer' staring Konkona Sen, Mammooty starrer 'Vidheyan', a Tamil film will also be screened.

That film is 'Mouna Ragam' starring Karthik, Revathi and Mohan that brought to the surface the artistic side of Mani Ratnam. (The Festival is being held in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Capital of Israel and Haifa.)

There is no doubt that 'Mouna Ragam' is a good film. Mani Ratnam himself has directed several good films after that. Yet 'Mouna Ragam' has been selected.

It is a matter not to be silent about!

Aamir and SRK in Mahabharat: Courtesy: Rediff

Onkar Singh | December 30, 2005 13:10 IST

Producer Bobby Bedi, who collaborated with Aamir Khan in the big budget Mangal Pandey, missed out on the actor's wedding on December 28 due to a family commitment.

But he is already thinking about his new film with Aamir. And the film will be based on the Mahabharata.

Jazz for Mr & Mrs Khan

Bedi has put together a panel of scriptwriters to research on the epic. It will be directed by Mani Ratnam.

"I have spoken to both Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan a year ago But I am in no position to tell you that whether one or both will feature in the project. It is still too early to talk about it," says Bedi.

Though it is rumoured that Rani Mukerjee will play Draupadi in the Rs 3 billion project, Bedi is non-committal. "I have not spoken to the female star cast as yet," is all he says.

And when will the shooting begin? "Nothing can be said at the moment," Bobby replies, adding. "I will revert to you when the stage is set for doing so."

Watch this space!

Mani Ratnam's next a Hindi film: Courtesy:

Mani Ratnam has been keeping a low profile throughout the year and hardly stirring out of his Alwarpet residence in Chennai. Now the big news is that he has signed Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai to do a Hindi film!

Remember that Aishwarya Rai had made her screen debut with Mani sir�s Iruvar and Abhishek Bachchan had done Yuva with him. In fact Abhishek is said to have struck a great rapport with him and was one of the few invitees for his 50th birthday early this year.

Mani is a big brand in Bollywood and he is not keen to do another Tamil film especially at a time when the industry is superstar driven. This new Hindi project will start sometime in January and is said to be �a matured love story� which would be shot in Mumbai to give it the Bollywood feel. A R Rahman will be providing music and will have technicians and supporting cast from Mumbai.

Meanwhile Mani is also doing some spade work for Bobby Bedi�s ambitious mythology Mahabharatha.

The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of

Mani Ratnam's latest - A Romantic Comedy with Aamir Khan: Courtesy: Lazy

Aamir KhanWith all the hulla-golla over Mani Ratnam directing Mahabharata coming to an end, there is some rumor on Bollywood circles that Mani Ratnam is directing Aamir Khan, produced by Bobby Bedi. Well, its not Mahabharata but a romantic comedy. And I'm already thanking my stars that Mani Ratnam isn't directing the three-series Mahabharata, atleast in the recent future. And I hope he never does it. I would love to see if he makes Mahabharata in Tamil. However, we know Tamil cinema's market isn't as big as Bollywood.

Anyways on the Mani Ratnam-Aamir Khan-Bobby Bedi project, Mid Day reports -

Aamir Khan will be again seen in a comic mould after a long time. Mani Sir is directing and scripting; it�s a special project, as it marks the coming together of Aamir and Mani Ratnam for the first time. Talking about the format, Bedi adds, �It�s completely different from whatever romantic comedies you have seen so far. A lot of changes and incorporations are being made, so I can�t really talk about the story.�

Mani Ratnam directing romantic comedy seems very exciting given Mani's mood to make some serious cinema, these days. Above all that is Rahman joining the team, will be a question to be answered in the coming days.

Guru Subramanian

Producer Bobby Bedi 

with Aamir Khan.Producer Bobby Bedi has been talking about his plans to take a year-and-a-half off before starting a three-film series, based on The Mahabharata.

But we hear that Bedi has already signed Aamir Khan for his next film. The flick, yet untitled, will be directed by Mani Ratnam and is scheduled to hit the floors in April next year.

Paisa vasool

It is reported that Bedi has paid Khan a whopping Rs 10 crore for the project. When quizzed, the producer is reticent about the budget, �I really don�t want to talk about that.

Let my project start, with the complete cast in place, and then we can start talking about it. I can only say that we start shooting next year. Aamir plays the lead, and as far as the lead actress is concerned, we are yet to finalise one.�

During the post-production of The Rising, the producer had been quoted as saying, �No other actor would have given that kind of time and involvement to the film as Aamir did� � meaning the price paid (reportedly Rs 7 crore) was worth Aamir�s contribution.


A romantic comedy, Bedi�s latest film will see Aamir re-staging his humorous turn in Andaz Apna Apna (1994) and Ishq (1997).

Marks a first

Says Bedi, �We are working on the script, which revolves around the lives of the protagonist; there are loads of comic elements.�  Adds a source close to the producer, �Bobby is never sure of the title of his film, until the release date has been fixed.

Aamir Khan will be again seen in a comic mould after a long time. Mani Sir is directing and scripting; it�s a special project, as it marks the coming together of Aamir and Mani Ratnam for the first time.�

It�s different

Talking about the format, Bedi adds, �It�s completely different from whatever romantic comedies you have seen so far. A lot of changes and incorporations are being made, so I can�t really talk about the story.�

Our source says the cast has been instructed to keep mum about this mega-project. While Aamir remained unavailable for comment, his secretary revealed, �I�m not aware of it. But if the producer has acknowledged it, it�s true.�

By: Sandipan Dalal
December 23, 2005

Iruvar is what Iruvar does: Courtesy: Lazy

Baradwaj Rangan's posts an old column on Mani Ratnam's Iruvar in his blog, Blogical Conlclusion. Given the lucid flow and his 'too' perfect references to the most appropriate trivia/persons of Tamil Industry, makes this column an eminent research material.

I aspire to pen one such article on both Iruvar and Hey Ram. But after reading this column, I probably wouldn't do that with Iruvar. If you are Tamil cinema geek or a Mani Ratnam fan, this is a must read. One hell of a read, this is.

From Two People, One Industry -

Iruvar has a breathtaking style that brings to mind Tamil cinema, both old and new. The film is a passage through time, and an early song sequence showing Anandan � this name is itself that of a small-time hero of the fifties and the sixties who starred in the likes of Vijayapuri Veeran and Veerathirumagan � romancing his lady is shot in black and white, with the elaborately ornamental wipes found in films of the Ambikapathi period. Vairamuthu�s lyrics here incorporate suitably chaste Tamil words, A R Rahman�s heavily Carnatic-style music appropriates the characteristics of early composers like G Ramanathan and SV Venkataraman, and this song is sung by Unnikrishnan and Bombay Jayashree.

Guru Subramanian

Mani Ratnam keeps quiet: Courtesy: Sify

Everybody in the industry is curious about why Mani Ratnam kept quiet when his wife Suhasini was at the receiving end of the vicious campaign unleashed by the so called protectors of Tamil culture.

Mani Ratnam who has made some of the finest movies with strong women characters, is keeping cool. The guys who are playing the role of �moral policemen� of Tamil Nadu are some of his biggest critics. Mani has shown a great amount of maturity by not getting involved in unnecessary slanging match with people who do not believe in basics of democracy and freedom of expression.

It is said that Mani sir is working on the script of his next film. Recently, at the private screening of a film, a much relaxed Mani when questioned about his next film said in a lighter vein: �Right now, I am a jobless man, at the same time I keep myself fit by playing golf�. Mani has a handicap of 14 which they say is the signs of an emerging player.

Abishiekh Bachchan stars in Mani Ratnam's Hollywood flick: Courtesy:

Abishiekh BachchanA full pot does not overflow. Mani Ratnam does not over react. Why, he doesn't talk much either. Unnecessarily dragging him into his wife Suhasini's controversy, the idle mischief mongers called for a ban on screening his films in any part of the globe, and publicity hungry media also indulged in writing about this useless information. In the meantime, Mani Ratnam stepped into Hollywood cinema.

As usual, the story, scenes and first day of shooting are all a suspense. The only news that leaked out was who the hero of the film would be. It is none other than Abishiekh Bachchan of Yuva fame, where he was one of the three heroes. The sacrifices Abhishek did for starring in a Mani Ratnam film is expressive of the charisma his films have for Bollywood people. 

Many years back, Sholay was such a super bumper hit that it ran for actually years. Now Ram Gopal Varma plans to give a new avatar to it in Sholay 2. Amitabh Bachchan will do the role of Gabbar Singh. Abishiekh will do the hero role of Amitabh. When all was finalized and he was to leave for shooting, Abishiekh got the call from Mani Ratnam. He was in a dilemma. Sholay or Mani Ratnam? The latter won hands down.

Mani has ruled supreme in Kollywood by making Hollywood type films. Of course, what type of film he will make for Hollywood, is a million dollar question!

Mani Ratnam on Cinematography: Courtesy:

Mani Ratnam is quietly making plans to direct a film for an American production company. He also was in a mood to talk.

Mani Ratnam's films are always known for their excellent cinematography. What kind of relationship does he have with his cinematographers?

"My cinematographer and I share a husband-wife kind of relationship when it comes to work. We have our occasional fights but those fights are simply meant for making the film better. But our relationship is based on trust. My favorite cinematographers are Ravi K Chandran, PC Sreeram, Santosh Sivan and Rajiv Menon.

Ilayaraaja and A R Rahman are considered some of the best music composers in the history of Indian cinema and you have worked with both. How would you rate them?

It is my fortune that I got to work with both. Both have very different approach to composing music. Ilayaraaja impresses you with his sensitivity to the character. His music touches your heart. Rahman has his unique style. I believe that he brings in a different dimension to music.

Mani Ratnam's bit for his pupils: Courtesy:

Mani Ratnam's bit for his pupilsDirector Mani Ratnam is always a team man. He always goes out of the way to help his assistants and his prot�g�s.

And that is what he did yesterday at Hyderabad as he was at hand to clap off the film Chukkallo Chandrudu.

The film is directed by his former associate Shivakumar while his find Siddharth is the hero.

Produced under the banner Creative Commercials, Chukkallo Chandrudu also stars ANR and Waheeda Rehman, two of the biggest names from yesteryear.

Akkineni Nageshwara himself was called to switched on the camera, while director K Raghavendra Rao directed the first shot.

The film has a bevy of beauties with Sada, Charmee, Saloni all in the cast. their presence added glamour to the function.

The interesting aspect of the film is that Siddharth has written the story.

Siddharth, who says that he is no hurry for signing up films, had used his spare time after NVNV's success to pen the story for this film. The fact that he knew Shivakumar from his Mani Ratnam's days will help him to have a good rapport.

With both of them being Mani's chelas, the film will be technically excellent with wonderful production values. Chakri is the music director.

Abhik Mukhopadhya, who worked in Bunty Aur Bubli and Rain Coat, has been roped as the cameraman. A trendsetter.

Mani Ratnam's fame spreads to the West: Courtesy:

Director Mani Ratnam does not need to be introduced. Every Indian knows him. And now, his talent is even recognized in the west. His popularity in Indian cinema has spread to the west.

He had already left his footprints in Bollywood and Kollywood. His films like �Mouna Ragam�, �Nayakan� and �Anjali� made waves not only in India but also abroad. He took a break from films after doing the remake of �Aayitha Ezhuthu� as �Yuva� in Hindi.

But he was not idle all the while. Instead, he was busy with his new project. He is to make a film out of the three stories he has. This time, it won�t be a Kollywood or Bollywood film. He is into bigger venture. Hold your breath! A well-known American company is going to finance the budget of the film. It is a Hollywood film and the shooting of the film begins next month.

There is no stopping for Mani Ratnam. Of course talent has a place everywhere.

Cine 11-8-2005.

After showing his talent in Bollywood and Kollywood, Mani Ratnam is all set to wow Hollywood. Films like �Mouna Ragam,� �Nayakan� and �Anjali� were real gems that drew the attention of viewers not only in India but all over the world.

After he remade �Aayitha Ezhuthu� in Hindi as �Yuva,� Mani Ratnam took a break for a few months, but he has started to rack his brains for his next project now.

This time his work lies not in Kollywood or Bollywood, but in Hollywood. The budget for this film is by a prominent American company.

Mani has 3 stories in hand, out of which, one is to be made into a film. The shooting is to start next month and the main characters will be revealed shortly. Our best wishes to the American producer and our talented Mani.

Bedi, Ratnam to recreate 'The Mahabharatha': Courtesy:

By Vickey Lalwani

After 'The Rising', which hits the theatres on August 12th, Bobby Bedi will nosedive into making 'The Mahabharata'. Mani Ratnam will direct the venture, which will cost at least 100 crores. 

In what would be Bollywood's biggest cinematic venture (grapevine says that the budget could touch even 300 crores) and the mother of all blockbusters, the buzz is that Bedi and Ratnam are thinking of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Rani Mukherjee in pivotal roles. Further grapevine suggests that Aishwarya Rai will play Draupadi. Speaking to this writer, Bobby Bedi said, "Yes, I am planning 'The Mahabharata'. I am not too sure whether it will be my next film after 'The Rising' because I plan to shoot only from January 2007 onwards," adding, "I have not yet cast anybody, But yes, I will make the film with big established actors." 

Bedi says that the thought of making this film arose while reading Girish Karnad's book Agnivarsha that is set in the pre-Mahabharata days. "I read Karnad's book about five years back and that is what set my mind ticking in this direction." 

Bedi explained why Ratnam will don the director's hat. "I've known Mani for 25 years. I have seen all his films. He is a great filmmaker who dwells upon every detail in his films, which will be of paramount importance in recreating the epic." 

Work on the script has begun. "There will be more than one writer involved; some from abroad. We are in the nascent stages of the script," informs Bedi, adding, "Designer JJ Valaya, Sufi musician Madan Gopal and artist Manjit Bawa are my friends and I have spoken to them about being part of this project." 

On the speculated budget, Bedi revealed that it may or may not exceed 100 crores, "The budget will not be a problem. We plan to have some local and international distributors chipping in." "We will have to set up a special set, perhaps in Mumbai or some part of North India," he added. Bedi concluded saying that he has no clue on Raj Kumar Santoshi's plans to recreate 'The Mahabharata'. 

Can Bedi and Ratnam do what others could not?

Aamir and Salman have worked together in 'Andaz Apna Apna'. SRK and Salman have worked together in 'Karan Arjun', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Hum Tumhare Hai Sanam' and 'Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega'. Yet, Aamir and SRK have never been in the same film. The efforts made to cast them together have not materialized so far. 

Mansoor Khan's 'Josh' was originally supposed to star Aamir and SRK. Aamir backed out citing his health as the reason, but his reservations about the script were said to be the real thing. Sharad Kapoor stepped into Aamir's role. When, Raj Kumar Santoshi tried to pull off the casting coup, it was SRK who took a step back. Santoshi couldn't get the duo together for a single story session. 

Reportedly, SRK had been briefed for a very short (20 minutes) but crucial role in 'Rang De Basanti' and he had approved in principle. Hearing that SRK had shown inclination, Aamir decided to go through the film with a fine toothcomb. By the next narration, SRK's role had been drastically chopped and his interest flew out of the nearest window. 

On Raj Kumar Santoshi's 'Mahabharata': According to reports, Sanjay Dutt, Aishwarya Rai, Sunny Deol (having patched up with Santoshi after 'Lajja') and Arjun Rampal had been finalized to play Duryodhan, Draupadi, Karna and Arjun respectively. Santoshi was also talking to Ajay Devgan to play Lord Krishna and Suniel Shetty to play Bheem. Vivek Oberoi was also being considered for some role. The sets had been in the making at Ramoji Rao Studios, Hyderabad, from mid-2001. Shooting was supposed to start in 2004 after 'Khaki' released. The budget had been estimated at 115 crores. But the dream failed to turn into a reality. 

When the writer called Santoshi to quiz him on whether the 2001 thought could translate into practice, now when Bedi had expressed a similar desire, Santoshi replied, "I am not aware about Bedi's film on the same epic. I am still working on the script and trying to set up a collaboration. Let's see. I don't know when I'll start."

Rahman's musical extravaganza: Courtesy: The

Sudhish R. Kamath

Mani Ratnam to direct galaxy of stars who will perform on a jumbo stage measuring 80 by 40 feet

CHENNAI: When Mani Ratnam directs Kamal Haasan, Vikram, Madhavan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek, Laila, Sadha, Asin, Pooja among others for an A.R. Rahman musical, with sets created by Sabu Cyril and lit up by Rajiv Menon, on a stage which is 80 feet wide and 40 feet deep, you know it does not get bigger than this, At least, not in this part of the world. With over a hundred dancers around sets such as the train from `Chayya Chayya' and the ship from `Atho Antha Paravai Pola,' the latest edition of the `Netru Indru Naalai' show will be nothing short of a spectacle. On par with what people usually find only in musicals in Broadway and Westend, Mani Ratnam told the media at The Banyan on Tuesday evening. "We have one change to announce. We are positioning it in August to make it a spectacle," he said.

"We want to make it a special show because it is for a special cause and for special people," the filmmaker said. "It's our desire to recreate the magic of the songs over the years. We are looking at the journey of the film industry over the years, from the black and white era to colour to the futuristic sets and sounds of A.R. Rahman. We will hopefully recreate those moments," Mani Ratnam explained.

"Mani Sir's energy is infectious," says Vandana, co-founder of The Banyan. "He does not want anyone to go on stage without 30-40 rehearsals. Even a person like A.R. Rahman calls just to find out what more he can do for the show."

Rahman was in for a surprise when he landed at The Banyan premises. "They called. I came. I did not know there was a press conference," he said, wishing the team all the best.

"Kamal will do a Sivaji song and a MGR song while Vikram will do a Kamal song and a Rajni song," Mani Ratnam said, explaining the theme for the musical. "As a part of the audience, I would be more interested in how the stars of today interpret what the stars of yesterday did.'

Will Superstar Rajnikant make it?

"We approached him. But he does not make too many public appearances. And we want him not just to appear but also to perform for us," says Vandana.

Director Vasanth is co-ordinating the artistes for rehearsals. The Vijay TV and Madras Round Table No.1 are supporting the show. The TV channel is yet to decide date of telecast.

The show will be staged at Sri Krishna Gardens, near Koyambedu

30 seconds to Nayagan: Courtesy: Lazy

Mani Ratnam directing NAYAGAN.This interview of Mani Ratnam on the occasion of Nayagan 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 treat 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 Nayagan 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 Nayagan was a movie that was perfect in every regard. He goes on to praise Kamal Hassan, Illayaraja, PC Sreeram and Thotta tharani for their exemplary contribution. Nayagan'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 Nayagan

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.

Kamal and I - Mani Ratnam: Courtesy:

Director Mani Ratnam accepts the compliments for his work, with his trademark smile. He is now busy shooting his new film. American magazine Time compiled a list of the top 100 films from 1927 to 2002 and the fact that Mani Ratnam's film 'Nayagan' made it to this list is a matter of great prestige and honor. Out came that captivating smile. "I am sure Kamal is as thrilled as I am. Since he's out of town shooting, we have not been in touch," said Mani Ratnam.

"The same effort goes into the making of every one of my films. Sometimes, a particular film is able to touch the hearts of the audience. The sincere efforts of not only the director and actors, but the music composer and technicians as well, go into the making of a good film. But not every film makes its mark. At such times, we just have to get up, stand firm on our feet and carry on.

It's about 20 years since 'Nayagan' was made. If Kamal and I get together to make another film, we must definitely set our sights higher. As soon as I get even a germ of an idea, I will definitely approach Kamal. Till then let's wait and watch."

Mani Ratnam's Nayagan in TIME List:

By IndiaFM News Bureau, May 25th 2005 - 1500 hrs IST

Kamal Hassan as Velu Naicker in NAYAGAN.Time Magazine has released its list of 100 all- time favourite films. Besides the widely acclaimed Satyajit Ray's Apu Triology (Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar and Aparajito), Mani Ratnam's Nayagan and Guru Dutt's Pyaasa have found place in this unranked but alphabetical list compiled by the magazine's critics, Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss.

The two critics separately picked up 100 films, out of which 40-50 titles made both the lists.

��Ray's filmmaking is direct in manner, simple in its means and profound in its impact,� said Schikel.

On Ratnam, Corliss remarked, �He has no such difficulty blending melodrama and music, violence and comedy, realism and delirium, into a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration��

For Pyaasa, Corliss said, �The writer-producer-director-star paints a glamorous portrait of an artist's isolation through dappled imagery and the sensitive picturising of S D Burman's famous songs. And Rahman, in her screen debut, is sultry, radiant - a woman to bring out the poet in any man, on screen or in the audience.�

Bollywood is shorthand for Bombay Hollywood, seat of the largest Indian film industry. But it manufactures only about 200 of the thousand or so Indian feature films; a half-dozen regions boast production sites larger than most of the world's national cinemas. Madras, capital of the Tamil state, is one such place, and its leader - arguably India's top pop-film auteur - is Mani Ratnam. His movies, often dramatizing social unrest and political terrorism, churn with narrative tension and camera energy that would be the envy of Hollywood directors, if they were ever to see them. Nayagan, an early, defining work in his career, tells the Godfatherish tale of Velu, a boy who embraces a life of crime after his father is killed by the police. Velu (Kamal Hasan) has trouble juggling his family life with his life-and-death mob "family"; Ratnam has no such difficulty blending melodrama and music, violence and comedy, realism and delirium, into a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration that, when a gangster's miseries are mounting, the most natural solution is to go singing' in the rain. - Excerpt from Time Magazine.

Again, just like the Oscars for a Tamil movie, I don't think something is achieved when you have a Tamil movie featuring in the list of global all-time favorites. But it's a feel good factor. One reason why I am personally happy is for Mani Ratnam's Nayagan [needs subscription] making it to the Time's Alltime Top 100 movies, is that despite being based on Mario Puzo's God Father script, Nayagan had its own share of Mani Ratnam's brilliance at throughout the movie. If you ask me to stick out a single favorite shot from the film, I may be dazzled.

Nayagan had a team that was one of the best during that decade. It had geniuses like Illayaraja, PC Sreeram and the Nayagan himself.

I haven't subscribed to Time and hence couldn't read the entire article. Thanks Vilvanboy and Srivats for passing on the link, It made my day.

The TIME Magazine in its latest issue has listed the �100 Best Films of all Times�. Its critics, Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel after much study and lot of deliberations have come up with the tour-de-force of the film world. It is indeed a matter of great pride and honor to see Nayagan being named one in the 100 films. There are virtually no words to describe the happiness of the South Indian people, especially the people of Tamil Nadu.

Mani Ratham, has time and again proved he is a different director from the rest. His film that came in 80�s and 90�s were all gems in their own way and he was in top form at that time. At present, he may be a bit silent, but he could always bounce back.


Hassan and Saranya in Mani Ratnam's NAYAGAN.The film, �Nayagan� is one of those films which could be seen any number of times without any jaded feeling. The film had the one and only Kamal Hassan who gave the performance of his life.  It is quite an irony that, both the director and the actor have lost their Midas touch these days. Nayagan deserved the TIME magazine honor.

The other films from India to receive the great honor include the three films of Satyajit Ray, the Appu Triology and Guru Dutt�s masterpiece Pyaasa. Mani Ratnam is proud to be in the select group of the ultimate directors of India.

The other important films listed are, Steven Spielberg�s ET, Francis Ford Coppola�s Godfather- Part 1 & 2, George Lucas Star Wars, Alfred Hitchcock�s Psycho, Sergio Leone�s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and the great masters classics Federico Fellini�s 8 1/2, Akira Kurosava�s Yojambo.

Mani Ratnam has made South India proud.

Two giants of Tamil cinema got together to make a path breaking film Nayagan. That the sentiments it aroused then, still holds good today is testimony to the acting prowess of Kamalahasan and perfection of director Mani Ratnam.

The film that got Kamalahasan accolades and the National Award, has earned him yet another honor. The American publication Time has recently compiled a list of the top 100 films from 1927 to 2002. The inclusion of 'Nayagan in this prestigious list has brought international fame and glory to Tamil cinema. Other films include Satyajit's Ray's 'Apu trilogy' and Guru Dutt's 'Pyaasa.'

According to Time, Mani Ratnam's handling of the subject and the brilliant cinematography are believed to have roused the envy of even Hollywood directors!

While the US generally confines itself to appreciation of American films as in the case of the Oscar awards, it is indeed a rare occurrence that an American publication has thought fit to bring the top 100 of world cinema into focus. The fact that a Tamil film has received this special honor is equal to winning an Oscar itself!

The 'Nayagan' is indeed an evergreen hero!

Mani Ratnam has proved beyond doubt that he is the master among Indian film makers. The latest issue of TIME Magazine has an �All time 100 Best Films� and Mani�s Nayagan (1987) features in the list.

The list was made by noted TIME film critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel and contains memorable films like Steven Spielberg�s ET, Francis Ford Coppola�s Godfather- Part 1 & 2, George Lucas Star Wars, Alfred Hitchcock�s Psycho, Sergio Leone�s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and the great masters classics Federico Fellini�s 8 1/2, Akira Kurosava�s Yojambo and many others.

The only other Indian films featured in the list are Satyajit Ray�s Appu Triology-Pathar Panchali, Apur Sansar, Aparajito and the great Guru Dutt�s Pyaasa. So Mani Ratnam is in the haloed company and is the only living Indian director to be featured in the list.

Richard Corliss on Mani Ratnam - �Madras- capital of Tamil state is one ssuch place and its leader arguably is India�s top Pop-film auteur- is Mani Ratnam. His movies, often dramatizing social unrest and political terrorism, churn with narrative tension and camera energy that would be the envy of Hollywood directors, if they were ever to see them�.

The tagline of Nayagan in TIME- : �A terrific gangster epic in the Godfather style�.

Mani Ratnam's New Film's: Courtesy:

Mani Ratnam is a different man indeed. He, not only teach things to his disciples but also give chances to enable them to stand on their own legs. This is his style!

Azhagam Perumal, had worked as an assistant to Mani Ratnam. His debut venture as an individual director was the film Udhaya. That film had stopped in midway due to fianc� problem. He didn't have any other chances. On seeing the hardship of his disciple, Mani Ratnam had produced the film Dum Dum Dum, and had made Azhagam Perumal as director of that film.

His another Assistant is, Susi Ganesan. He also faced the same kind of problem. His first film Virumbugirean was delayed due to finance problem. Then again Mani Ratnam had produced the film '5 Star' for him.

Now Mani Ratnam is producing another film for Azhagam Perumal. The script of this film is written by, the writer S Ramakrishnan. it is now ready. Next comes the matter of hero.

Azhagam Perumal's choice is Madhavan or Surya. But both of them are now busy. Whoever gets free first from their commitments would get the chance. They say, Madhavan has more chance than Surya.

This is the third script of the writer S Ramakrishnan. He is the one who also had written the script of Laingusami's 'Sandaikozhi', is to be mentioned here.

Ameer stuns Mani Ratnam: Courtesy:

Director Ameer's RAAM. (Jeeva and Saranya).There may be difference of opinions about the film 'Ram' among viewers. But nobody would doubt whatsoever about the capability of Ameer as a director any more. Among the films, which got released recently, only the film 'Ram' had registered perfect 'take off'. Mani Ratnam is a director who is known all over India for his technical know how. He is the one who made Tamil films to cross the borders of Tamil Nadu and spread all over India. All most everybody had expressed, commendation about his capability. But Ameer's film had indeed stunned even Mani Ratnam.




Director AmeerAfter having seen this film, Mani Ratnam had appreciated Ameer very much. This appreciation is a fitting praise for Ameer's two-year toil to make this film. 

This kind of recognition by the acclaimed directors would definitely encourage youngsters to give many more good films like 'Ram' Mani Ratnam had indeed opened that gate wide open, so that others can follow suit. We would like to express our best wishes for both of them.




Mani Ratnam's films released in DVD & VCDs: Courtesy:

Surya, PC Sreeram, 

Mani Ratnam, Keerthana and Madhavan at Landmark.The films of the director Mani Ratnam, were released in DVD and VCD forms. This function was conducted at Land Mark bookshop here in Chennai.
Mani Ratnam is one of the front line directors of Tamil Cinema. He had also directed successful films in Hindi. He had, gained fame through his film 'Mouna Raagam', 'Nayagan', 'Roja', 'Bombay'. The function of releasing the DVD and VCDs of the films which he had directed and also the films produced by his own Production Company 'Madras Talkies' was conducted on Saturday (26-02-2005) evening

This function was held at 'Land mark Book shop' in Nungambakkam in front of public. Apart from the invited dignitaries, many customers who came there have also participated in this function. This function was conducted in an interactive style. Mani Ratnam had answered the questions from his fans in a humorous way.

Actors Surya, Madhavan, Cinematographer PC Sreeram and Keerthana who had acted in the film 'Kannathil Muththamittal' had participated and spoke in this function.

When Surya spoke, he said, "I was an average student while I am studying in college in real life. But Mani Ratnam sir, had shown me as a bright student in the film 'Aayitha Ezhuthu', I do feel happy about it' Madhavan, narrated the incident by which he got introduced to Mani Ratnam. 

He also told that, Mani Ratnam's film was the turning point in his film career. Parthiban's daughter Keerthana had revealed her wish to become an assistant director to Mani Ratnam. PC Sreeram had shared his experience with Mani Ratnam as Cinematographer.

During interactive session, the scenes from Mani Ratnam's films were shown using digital technology on a very big screen behind the dignitaries. The interaction was done fully in English. Surya, had started to answer in English in the beginning and then switched over to Tamil. When Mani Ratnam was speaking he said, "The word 'Commercial' is not a wrong or a bad word at all. In fact we have to put in lot of effort only while filming song sequence".

Film fare Award for Mani Ratnam: Courtesy:

'Film fare Award' completes Fiftieth year in this year. This is considered to be almost equal to National Award. This is the most colorful function connected with film stars all over India. In the beginning, the awards were given only for Hindi films. Then they came to understand that Hindi cinema alone couldn't be termed as Indian Cinema. So they are conducting separate function to give away awards to South Indian Cinema.

But, it is a rarity indeed to give awards to Tamil film personalities in Hindi cinema related function. Kamal Hassan had received this award for the remake of his Tamil film 'Thevar Magan'.

After that, Mani Ratnam had recently received award for the best screenplay for the film 'Yuva'. This award is a solace for Mani Ratnam, because of the fact that, this film didn't do well at the box office.

Others who had received the awards include.

Best film- 'Veer Sara' ( Director- 'Yash Chopra')
Best Director- Kunal Kohli (Film- 'Hum Tum')
Best Actor - Sha Rukh Khan (Film- 'Swades')
Best Actress - Rani Mukherjee (Film-'Hum Tum')

Actors Rani Mukherjee and Abishiekh Bachchan had received special award for their performance in the film 'Yuva'.

Retrospective�- An evening with Mani Ratnam!: Courtesy:

�Restrospective�- An 

evening with Mani Ratnam.Mani Ratnam is ahead of his times. He knows the importance of DVD and watching a movie sprawled on your favourite couch at home is an unbeatable experience! The Cassandra�s of Tamil film trade who has been shouting from the rooftop about pirated CD�s eating into their earning but at the same time refusing to give DVD rights will have egg on their face. Mani sir is formally launching the India and world DVD rights of �Madras Talkies� titles which also includes classics like Roja, Bombay, Uyire, Iruvar and Kannathil Muthamittal. Landmark in association with AP International who is marketing the DVD is conducting this �Restrospective�- An evening with Mani Ratnam, on Feb 26 at Landmark, Nungumbakkam, in Chennai. The event marks the launch of the Mani Ratnam collection on DVD. At the show, Mani sir will field questions on his art and craft. An audio visual presentation will follow on the master�s career, film personalities and his technicians will share their experiences and a short quiz will spice up the evening. �Retrospective� is conceived by Gautam Padmanabhan and hosted by Dr Navin Jayakumar. Three cheers to Mani sir for taking a bold step to release his works on the DVD format.

'Mani Ratnam gave me a second lease of life': Courtesy: Cine

Tamil Poet, Vairamuthu, 

Mani Ratnam and veteran music director, M S Vishwanathan.Can poetry be converted into song? Or whether song can become a poem? As if to answer these questions, Vairamuthu had released his poems in song form in a cassette.

Twelve Poems have been selected from many books of Poem written by Vairamuthu, and have been converted into songs with music. The music is scored by, Iniyan in a light music melody. Mass Audios have produced this cassette. The cassette release function was held at Good luck Theatre yesterday evening.

In this function, Mani Ratnam and M S Vishwanathan have participated and had expressed their well wishes briefly in one or two sentences. Towards the end, Vairamuthu had addressed the gathering in a way of acceptance speech. In this, he talked for full half- an-hour and gave vent to his feelings in his usual emotional manner.

A few 'droplets' from that speech:

"Many people are asking me for a long time, whether poem can be converted into songs. This cassette 'Kavidaiye Padalaga' had answered those questions.

In this function, M S Vishwanathan honored me by his presence and Mani Ratnam who have created name and fame for Tamil Cinema at all India level have also came here. This makes me feel doubly happy. Mani Ratnam spoke, he said that, "now that you have made poems into songs, do not forget about us". I will never go out of the film field, through which, my thinking had reached the Tamizhian living in remote villages. I do prostrate before the Angel called Tamil Cinema.

Bharathi Raja had given me an opening in the film field. Mani Ratnam had given me the second lease of life in Tamil film field. In that sense, it is only fitting and correct that Mani Ratnam should participate in this function to wish me"!

A Mani Ratnam scoop or a spoof: Courtesy: Lazy

AALAYAMA friend of mine, Karthi, did forward the above pic with a subject - Mani Ratnam's New Film, Aalayam.

I probably wanted to verify the source and then post this. Am not posting this to make a scoop out of it or to bring in a speculation. Infact, going by previous instances this isn't the way Mani Ratnam unleashes his new movie. Because I believe the movie shooting hasn't started yet and many a time such teaser posters get released only when post-production works are in progress.

This could be true on one reason. K Sera Sera production house's name is there on the list. Maybe K Sera Sera is co-producing the film along with Madras Talkies. But be it a spoof or a scoop, am posting it just because I am happy for the way the poster is designed. He/She must have been a Mani Ratnam fan. The font and the collage of pics at the background just makes it for a Mani Ratnam flick. Just couple of small mistakes, Mani Ratnam usually makes sure that he has the crew names written in Tamil when its a poster for Tamil movie. Also silly statements like With an International Cast never happen on a Mani Ratnam flick banners. I am sure.

Anyone with the details on the source of this so-called-Mani-Ratnam-poster gets a warm applause in the next post.

Update 1 - Koushik, got inspired by this poster above, created one more using the same poster. Check it out here.

Guru Subramanian

Mani Ratnam's assistant becomes director: Courtesy:

Priya V, Mani Ratnam�s assistant is making her debut as a director with Kanda Naal Muthal.

This film will be produced by actor Prakash Raj under his Duet Films banner. It is a triangular love story told in a candy floss manner and has Prasanna, Laila and Karthik Kumar (of Vaanam Vasappadum fame) with Revathy in a pivotal role.

Mani�s one time favorites, like P C Sreeram is the cameraman and Thotta Tharani is the art director. Editing will be by Sreekar Prasad and the only outsider will be music director Yuvan Shankar Raja. Says Prakash Raj: �Priya is extremely talented and when I heard the story from her, I readily agreed to fund the project�.

Now Duet films is producing Kanda Naal Muthal which is being directed by Mani Ratnam�s former assistant Priya V. Along with Prasanna, Prakash Raj is also giving a break to Karthik Kumar whose debut film Vaanam Vasappadum directed by P C Sreeram was critically acclaimed.

Mani Ratnam is back in Chennai: Courtesy:

Mani Ratnam who was hospitalised in Goa during the IFFI for acute chest pain is now back in Chennai.

Accompanied by wife Suhasini, Mani looked cheerful at the Chennai airport and said: �I am fully fit and there is nothing to worry about. I am back to my regular chores�.

According to sources close to the director, he is writing a script for a Tamil film for which he plans to start shoot by April 2005 with all new comers.

Mani Ratnam suffers chest pain, condition stable: Courtesy:

India�s finest director, Mani Ratnam was taken to hospital in Goa following chest pain on the concluding day of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) today (9 Dec). 
Mani Sir as he is affectionately called, was rushed to Appolo Victor hospital after he complained of chest pain minutes before he was to announce the awards, as the jury chief of Asian competitive section at IFFI. 

In fact this is his third attack for the 49 years old director. In 2001, during the making of Kannathil Muthamittal he had his first attack on location in Kerala and had to be rushed back to Chennai where he was hospitalised for a month. The second attack happened last year on Howrah Bridge in Kolkata where he was shooting for Yuva

Doctors in Goa has said that his condition is stable. Uday Kanolkar, his doctor says: "He experienced chest pain due to exertion and high blood pressure but that has now been brought under control through medicines. Ratnam would be confined to the ICU for the next two days".

Panaji: Eminent film maker Mani Ratnam on Thursday suffered chest pain shortly before the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival of India and was admitted to a hospital where doctors described his condition as stable. 

"He is stable now. He experienced chest pain due to exertion and high blood pressure but that has now been brought under control through medicines. Ratnam would be confined to the ICU for the next two days," Uday Kanolkar, who examined the 48-year old director at the Apollo Victor Hospital in Margao told PTI here. 

Confirming the initial diagnosis of Angina, Kanolkar said, "Yes, it was Angina which was caused due to extreme exertion. I have also had a look at the initial ECG and there is no sign to point to heart attack. We shall have to assess his condition and then decide whether he can be moved out of the ICU." 

Ratnam was rushed to the hospital after he complained of chest pain minutes before he was to announce the awards as the jury chief of Asian competitive section at IFFI here. 

His initial ECG showed an irregular heartbeat and doctors attending on him suspected that it could lead to a heart attack. 

"He was cold and sweating and I suspected that it would be angina where the supply of blood to the heart stops for a moment or two. He was therefore taken to Apollo Victor hospital by a team of doctors," a doctor, who did not wish to be named told PTI earlier. 

Ratnam has had a history of heart trouble and had done all medical tests just a month ago, the doctor said adding his blood pressure was very high when he was examined at the venue of the closing ceremony. 

"Although he insisted that he would like to sit through the entire closing ceremony, I was apprehensive and told him that he would be better off with proper medical care," he added.

More Info

Where are the southern mavericks? Courtesy:

Mumbai, Dec 9 (IANS) There was a time when south Indian filmmakers functioned with marginal success in Bollywood.

Big names from Tamil and Telugu cinema like S.S. Vasan, L.V. Prasad and A. Subba Rao made many successful films during the 1950s and 60s.

In the 1980s, faithful recycling of Tamil and Telugu flicks by K. Raghavendra Rao and K. Bappiah, most of them featuring Jeetendra in the lead, were the order of the day. But none succeeded to the extent that they could threaten the hegemony of the Mumbai stalwarts.

In the recent past, big names from southern Indian cinema like K. Balachander, Bharathi Raja and Bapu who have virtually re-written the codes of Tamil-Talugu couldn't establish themselves as names to reckon with in Mumbai.

Even the mighty Mani Ratnam who is considered by many movie aficionados to be the ultimate Indian moviemaker faltered badly in Hindi. First the admirable "Dil Se" and then the rich and fascinating "Yuva" both slumped at the box office, leaving Ratnam awfully confused about his supposed supremacy as a visionary.

If Ratnam is really the best, how come Hindi-speaking audiences don't find him good enough to give his films a thumbs-up all over the country?

Another southern Indian filmmaker has emerged a clear winner in the nationwide sweepstakes.

Priyadarshan has an interestingly chequered career in Hindi. Though earlier on he made remarkably textured Hindi films like "Muskurahat", "Kala Pani" and "Saat Rang Ke Sapne", success came to him in Bollywood    a few years ago with the freak comic hit "Hera Pheri".

At a time when everyone thought comedies don't click Priyadarshan has proved the cynics wrong not just once but thrice over. After "Hera Pheri" and "Hungama", Priyadarshan has just delivered more mirth.

"Hulchal" is all set to be one of the biggest hits of the year. It completes a hat trick of comic hits for Priyadarshan. But his next venture tentatively titled "Rang" isn't a comic film.

Featuring the director's new favourite Kareena Kapoor with Salman Khan, it's going to a serious look at the relationship between a doctor and her mentally disturbed patient.

Says an actor who has worked repeatedly with Priyadarshan: "It's stupid of him to move away from comedy when farce is obviously his forte. No one will accept him in a non-comedy mould now."

Famous southern Indian filmmakers of the past, however, were known and recognised for their versatility. No two films of L.V. Prasad were similar in content.

Should Priyadarshan tow the line only to cling on to his hard-found success? Will he remain our only successful southern Indian filmmaker in Bollywood?

The rule of the Punjabi brigade of filmmakers in Bollywood has been broken only by Ram Gopal Varma in the true sense so far. The filmmaker from Hyderabad not only broke all the ground rules of Bollywood but also invented his own rules of success.

His new dream film "Naach" didn't do well. But Varma is going right ahead making the kind of films he believes in.

Would Priyadarshan exercise the same kind of creative freedom to join Varma as the only successful Hindi filmmaker from the south in recent years?

Mani makles Selva's day! Courtesy:

Director SelvaraghavanSelvaraghavan�s mobile has not stop ringing since the release of 7-G Rainbow Colony, which has been declared a blockbuster by the trade.

Selva has been getting accolade from all quarters including parents, teachers and students who are calling him up or waiting outside his office to congratulate him for making a film that has a message for the youth of today. He has also getting a lot of offers from Bollywood producers to do a remake of the film.

But the young director is unperturbed by all this new found attention and says that �This is all part of success trappings. I have to take it in my stride and not get carried away with it�.

But a call from noted director Mani Ratnam came as a pleasant surprise to Selva. Mani had seen the film at the Mayajaal multiplex with the public and wanted to congratulate Selva for making a good film.

Said Selva: �Mani sir seemed to have liked the film and truly my day was made when �the master� himself made a call which has made me proud and happy�.

Dil Se: Sachin stars in Mani film: Courtesy:

Mani Ratnam directing Sachin Tendulkar.CHENNAI, Oct 11: Ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar will take part in the shooting of a documentary film, scripted and directed by Mani Ratnam, here on Tuesday to promote the cause of physically challenged persons.

The film, being made for city-based Shakthi Foundation which works for the cause of physically challenged and underprivileged sections, seeks to sensitize people on the issue of providing ramps in public places to ensure a barrier-free environment for physically challenged persons.

"Seeing the struggle of a child in a wheelchair devoid of movement left an impact in my mind, which propelled me to want to form a human network strong enough to lobby for ramps," Tendulkar said in a message.

The batting maestro also appealed to fellow citizens to support the foundation in its efforts to help more children come out and live a quality life.

The batsman, recuperating from a tennis elbow, will be here in the city for the second Test match between India and Australia starting on Thursday.

Tendulkar, along with the other members of the Indian team, had mingled with over 100 physically challenged persons here in August last.

Vasanth Raghuvir, the woman behind the foundation, told PTI that the Persons With Disability Act made it mandatory for public places such as shopping malls and hotels to have ramp facility. But only 47 buildings in the city had ramps.

She said the Tamil Nadu Government had been helpful in this regard.

Mani Ratnam and Sachin come together

Sachin Tendulkar may not be playing the Chennai test against Australia. But he is certainly appearing in Mani Ratnam's documentary for a social organisation called Shakthi Foundation on physically challenged kids. Seems like Mani Ratnam wished Sachin to be a part of this documentary and Sachin had agreed instantly. It's reported in today's dailies that the documentary is set to be shot from today in Chennai.

While it came as a surprise to me as I have been looking around and guessing what will be Mani Ratnam's next project after Aayitha Ezhuthu. And a big plus when you know Sachin is also contributing to it. I am not speculating here but only hope Ilayaraaja would tune for it. Then this event would be a great catalyst to bring together Mani Ratnam and Ilayaraja, after a long time.

Update: The shoot is scheduled to held at SAF Tennis Stadium, Nungambakkam.

Sachin lends a helping hand

By Karthik Subramanian

CHENNAI, OCT. 12. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, filmmaker Mani Ratnam and music director A R Rahman have come together for a promotion on ramps for the disabled in public places.

On Tuesday, the master batsman took some time off from his schedule in Chennai, where India will meet Australia in the second Test match from October 14, to act in a TV campaign directed by Mr. Mani Ratnam. The shooting took place at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium. International wheelchair tennis champion, Boniface Prabhu, from Bangalore was also present.

The film is being made for the Shakti Foundation, a Chennai-based non-governmental organisation working for the physically challenged. Representatives of the organisation said Mr. Rahman had agreed to score the music for the campaign.

In the film, Mr. Tendulkar speaks out on the need for ramps for the handicapped. "Give the champion what he deserves," he says, as he helps a wheelchair-bound tennis champion receive his trophy. The winner was not able to get his wheelchair on the podium.

Mr. Mani Ratnam told some of the onlookers after the shoot that Mr. Tendulkar was pretty good at facing the camera. "He was able to complete most shots in a few attempts.

With the stadium locked up during the shoot, a few students climbed the compound wall to catch a glimpse of Mr. Tendulkar. Students of a nearby government school were waiting by the gate. When he left the venue after the shoot, Mr. Tendulkar waved to them and was greeted with cheers.

Letter to Foundation

In a letter to the Shakti Foundation, Mr. Tendulkar recalled that he once saw a child confined to a wheelchair. "A thought process was stirred in my mind as to how important access and barrier-free environment is. How does one who cannot walk, see or has mobility problem enter a building where there are steps?

Seeing the struggle left an impact on my mind, which propelled me to want to form a human network strong enough to lobby for ramps." He congratulated the foundation on its fundraiser and rounded off with the question: "Could we please give ramps serious thought?"

A mother's gratitude

Vasanth Raghuvir, mother of the Shakti Foundation's founder, Velan Raghuvir, was in tears, describing the "spontaneous" gesture by Mr. Tendulkar, Mr. Mani Ratnam and Mr. Boniface Prabhu. "They are all celebrities in their own right. I am really moved that Sachin was able to spend four hours for the shooting. I am glad he feels so much for the cause," she said.

Ms. Raghuvir said she lost her son, who was physically challenged. He was not able to realise his dreams.

"He was so full of life... I only hope that no other physically challenged child faces the troubles that he faced," she said.

Mr. Boniface Prabhu, who recently inaugurated a wheelchair tennis academy in Bangalore, said ramps were most important in schools, colleges and places of worship.

"I had to give up my dream of becoming a doctor because none of the colleges I applied to even wanted to enroll me. They were not prepared to shift all the classes to the groundfloor for just one student."

Leg spinner Anil Kumble appeared in a campaign earlier for the Shakti Foundation.

Mani Ratnam makes Aish swoon: Courtesy: Cine

Aishwarya RaiThe whole world is smitten by Aishwarya Rai but there is one person that Aish is very impressed with- director Mani Ratnam and his works. An English magazine had recently conducted a survey to find out the most beautiful face in the world. In spite of all the years that had passed since her winning the crown, Aish was still listed as the most beautiful one.

But she dismisses it as a joke. She says, "The love that my fans and well wishers have for me made them select me as the most beautiful face." Humility! Such a popular person like Aish is still so thrilled that she got a chance to work with Mani Ratnam in Iruvar. "It was a special experience to act in Mani Ratnam's Iruvar. I still haven't come across a story like that!" she says.

Mani Ratnam is not al that happy with the way his film Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva was received by the audience. But, such compliments from celebrities will surely cheer him up.

A Peck on the Cheek - Reaching Out: Courtesy:


Prakash Raj, R Madhavan and P S Keerthana in Kannathil 

MuthamittalThis is how Kansas City Star has rated Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal [A Peck on the Cheek], which is being featured in this year's Kansas Film Festival. Though with small mis-informations, this small preview, would make Kannathil Muthamittal get a warm welcome in the fest.

�A Peck on the Cheek�: This recent Bollywood hit from writer/director Mani Ratnam stars the adorable P S Keerthana as a young girl who, upon learning from her Indian parents that she was adopted, begins a journey to strife-torn Sri Lanka to find out who her biological parents are.

Part war film, part domestic tearjerker and part musical (if it doesn't have singing and dancing, it isn't Bollywood), this winning entry should provide local audiences with a fitting introduction to one of the most popular cinema styles in the world today.

Also read about the review of other films which are to be screened in the Kansas Film Festival 2004.

Here is another review of Kannathil Muthamittal made in the Toronto Film Festival 2002.

By Guru Subramanian

A Peck on the Cheek
Director: Mani Ratnam
Country: India
Year: 2002

Madhavan, Simran, Prakash Raj, Nandita Das, P S Keerthana

Upon entering the theatre to view a Mani Ratnam film, one has certain expectations: a riveting story, breathtaking cinematography, a pulsating score, and well-defined, complex characters. A lot to ask of a film, you may say, but not when it comes to Ratnam.

Mani Ratnam is one of the few Indian filmmakers, others include Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, and Mira Nair, who is recognized both artistically and commercially in India. His films fit into the Bollywood genre, yet also possess the depth and complexity which liken them to art-house cinema. Like many of his films, A Peck on the Cheek uses contemporary politics as a background to familial and romantic relationships. The extreme circumstances of war and terroristic activity bring families and individuals to situations where raw emotion comes to the surface.

Peck, a Tamil film subtitled in English, begins with the fairy-tale marriage of two Sri Lankan youths, the beautiful and innocent Madhavan (Nandita Das) and Dileepan, a committed activist opposed to the invasion and military dictatorship in his country. Their nuptial bliss is shattered prematurely when Dileepan runs away to oppose the military and leaves Madhavan alone and pregnant in a refugee camp.

Here, the film shifts to the domestic bliss of another family in Chennai. Indra (Simran) and Thiru (Madhavan) are the proud parents of three boisterous children. Of the three kids, Amudha (P.S. Keerthana), the effervescent eight-year old daughter, is the shining light in the family. Amudha is charming, intelligent and perceptive enough to know how to wrap her parents around her petite fingers. The most spectacular musical number in the film revolves around Amudha and her schoolfriends and pays tribute to the beauty, energy and innocence of children of that age.

Above the happiness of Thiru's family lies a shadow of the past: Amudha is adopted; she is the abandoned child of Madhavan and Dileepan. Thiru and Indra, liberal educated parents who raise their children with respect and integrity, tell Amudha the truth about her birth. Amudha responds with a multitude of emotions, beautifully captured by Keerthana, a sixth-grade student with no previous training or experience as an actress. Amudha's emotional deluge culminates in a desire to find her mother and confront her with questions. Thiru decides to attempt to fulfill Amudha's wish, knowing that in order for his family to move on, he will need to banish the ghosts of the past and give closure to his daughter's angst.

The final phase of the film takes the audience back to war-torn Sri Lanka where Ratnam places Thiru's family in the midst of political and ethnic strife. Suicide bombers, children with guns, and ravaged homes and villages colour the screen as the audience becomes witness to the savagery that has become routine in our times. What shines on the screen is the love between parent and child; Thiru and Indra are willing to face anything for the happiness of their child and it is this love that carries the entire film. The audience shares Amudha's pain and longing for her mother as the family combs rural Sri Lanka looking for a trace of the elusive Madhavan.

Unlike most Bollywood films, where many of the song sequences chronicle romantic love, Peck's songs passionately address parental love and childhood fantasy. The multi-talented A R Rahman has produced a joyous soundtrack for the film; the various melodies correspond perfectly to the changing moods and desires of the characters, and Rahman has incorporated the traditional Sri Lankan "bayla" beat into his music to capture a true Sri Lankan feeling. Peck is a breathtaking cinematic achievment that takes the viewer on a sensual and emotional journey. In this film, Ratnam succeeds in creating a film with mainstream appeal while illustrating true artistic genius. Bravo!

Agni Nakshathiram to be remade in Kannada: Courtesy: Cine

Mani Ratnam's "Agni Nakshathiram".While the Kannada film industry is dead against screening films of other languages, it doesn�t seem to have any qualms about remaking films of other languages. 

The latest film to be remade is going to be the 1989 topper Agni Nakshathiram. The film, the clash between two half-brothers, was one of the best that Mani Ratnam had ever made. Prabhu and Karthik had played the roles of the half-brothers. The film is going to be remade as �Agninakshatram� starring Ajay and Vinod Prabhakar in the lead.

After Nayagan and Dalapathi one more of Mani Ratnam�s film is remade. It is Agni Nakshathiram which had Karthik and Prabhu in the lead roles.
Vinod Prabhakar (of Dhil fame) and Ajay (of Excuse Me fame) are in the lead roles. Sathya, who directed Dhil is directing this film. M S Krupakar is composing the music. The original tunes of Ilayaraaja, is being used. A new lyricist Sudarshan would be introduced in this film. Ram, Kadam and Rajendra are producing this film. Cameraman is Haseb Judeja, who worked for Hindi films like Soudagar and Khalnayak.

Vijay on acting with Mani Ratnam: Courtesy: Cine


Actor - VijayVijay is riding a wave of popularity these days in Tamil films with a series of super hits to his credit. Actor Vijay had acted in the films of many young and upcoming directors, but in spite of having been in the cine industry for such a long time, why is he not starring in films of directors like Shankar and Mani Ratnam? We decided to ask him.

He said,

"I have been asked that question many times before. Is there an actor in the film industry who wouldn't want to act in films of these directors? Even people from remote villages who come to Chennai looking for chances would love to act in films of Shankar and Mani Ratnam. They are technical geniuses. Even an occasional filmgoer knows this fact. "Any actor who claims that he is a director's actor would love to act in their films. These are directors who are capable of changing an actor's image and bringing out hidden potentials. "They haven't approached me yet with any story. Maybe they don't have one that suits me. When the do, they will surely get in touch with me. I have faith. There is still lot of time ahead".

Mani Ratnam's next film...: Courtesy:

Director Mani Ratnam's next film....

Kannathil Muthamittal for World Cinema Naples: Courtesy: Cine

It is yet another proud moment for Mani Ratnam. His Kannathil Muthamittal is the only Indian movie selected under the feature film category to be screened in the �World Cinema Naples� Film Festival, Florida 2004. The festival is from April 22 � 25. The film to be screened under the short film category is the English film Anand�s No Exit. Anand Alagappan, an Indian produces, directs and has written the screen play for the film.

Is Mani Ratnam overrated ? Courtesy: Cine

Take part in the poll @ Cine

Maahi Vij � Mani�s next heroine: Courtesy:


VijAll those hoping to be heroine of Mani Ratnam's next film can give up their dreams coz the next heroine has already been selected. Santosh Sivan who recommended Madhavan to Mani Ratnam has this time asked Mani to see Maahi Vij the Delhi based model. After the screen test she has been selected. Maahi is currently acting in Santosh's brother's Malayalam film and also in Cholliyattam, another Malayalam film. While the film, Aayitha Ezhuthu and Yuva in Hindi directed by Mani Ratnam is shrouded as usual in mystery, the buyers are flocking to grab the distribution rights. The Telugu rights were already sold for a big price stating that it would be released on May 6th. But the Tamil film producer�s council has implemented a rule stating that minimum of four weeks gap is needed if two films of the same hero are ready for release. AVM's Perazhagan will be ready for May 6th and hence Mani Ratnam has postponed his film to May 2004 end. The Telugu rights buyer is insisting on releasing it on May 6th itself in Andhra.

Mani Ratnam watches Kangalal Kaidhu Sei: Courtesy:

Bharathiraaja�s Kangalal Kaidhu SeiDue to last minute unforeseen circumstances two of the Valentine day releases, Kangalal Kaidhu Sei and Autograph have been postponed. Bharathiraaja�s Kangalal Kaidhu Sei was seen by his close friend Mani Ratnam on Tuesday night. Sources close to Lakshmi Movie Makers, the producers say that Mani liked the first half but found glaring inconsistencies in the climax. The producers and Bharathiraaja have decided to re-shoot some scenes and make the necessary changes.

Bharathiraaja who was going through rough times at the box-office recently has readily agreed to make the minor changes as the suggestion was made by one of India�s finest director, who understands the pulse of the audience! Remember, that Bharathiraaja is also doing the villain role in Mani�s Aayitha Ezhuthu.

Mani Ratnam praises director Bala: Courtesy: Cine

Director BalaWhile being certified as a best film Pithamagan's director Bala is praised by one and all among Tamil Cine industry's directors.

People who saw the preview of the film before it's release during Deepavali showered words of appreciation to director Bala for his excellent works in the film. But director Bala is not the one who feels contended with the praises from the Cine industry, Since he expected the cine goers to praise the film. Now the director is exhilarated to receive praises from associate directors club members with the cherishing of his dreams of also winning the praises from cine goers.

Director Mani Ratnam had a 30 minutes lasting talk after the special show, which had all the praise for Bala. "It s a daring approach. You have etched its characters" - praised the India's No.1 director for Bala's works.

Vikram's characterisation is a novel effort. You have shown your efforts and hard works in the screen. I have also made Surya to act as hero in my film like you after seeing his capabilities. This will be a trendsetter for his acing career, remarked Mani Ratnam who continued his praising speech also about Ilayaraja's music.

It was said that Mani Ratnam has offered some tips and advices to director Bala on nomination of films in national and international award contests - as informed by Pithamagan's office staff.

Read this article @ Lazy

In Defense of Mani Saar (or) How the topic moved to Mani Ratnam Vs Bala

This Pongal 2004: Courtesy: Cine

This Diwali, people might have been disappointed, only 4 movies being released. However, the Cine filed seems to give a hint that at least Pongal 2004 wouldn't be the same. The reason being not with the great actors alone, but great directors also. Kamal's Sandiyar, Mani Ratnam's Aayudha Ezhuthu with many well known actors & actresses, Gilli, with Vijay, directed by Dharani, Kovil with Silambarasan, directed by Hari, S J Surya making his debut in New with Simran, Selvaraghavan's 7G Rainbow Colony featuring debut artists and Pudukkottaiyilirundu Saravanan starring Dhanush, recently titled 'the Indian Bruce Lee', who has indeed given scenes of that kind (!) are all rushing for Pongal 2004.

Well this time Pongal seems to be too sweet rather!

Kannathil Muthamittal bags six National Awards!: Courtesy:

Director Mani 

Ratnam receives the Swarna Kamal Award for his Tamil film 'Kannathil Muthamittal', starring Madhavan and Simran, from 

President APJ Abdul Kalam at the awards ceremony.Director Mani Ratnam receives the Swarna Kamal Award for his Tamil film Kannathil Muthamittal, starring Madhavan and Simran, from President APJ Abdul Kalam at the awards ceremony. Ratnam earlier helmed Nayagan, Anjali, Dalapathi, Roja, Bombay and Alai Payuthey.

The filmmaker is now busy with his bilingual, Yuva (Hindi) featuring Ajay Devgan, Abhishiekh Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor and Esha Deol. The Tamil version is Aayitha Ezhuthu.

Photo: Sondeep Shankar/Saab Press. These honest smiles say a million stories about achievement and hardwork. Don't they?





President Kalam 

strikes a pose with Best Child Artists Sweta Prasad (right) and P S Keerthana (centre).President Kalam strikes a pose with Best Child Artists Sweta Prasad (right) and P S Keerthana (centre). The award for Best Child Artist of 2002 was jointly received by Prasad for her bubbly and convincing portrayal of twin sisters in Vishal Bharadwaj's Makdee and P S Keerthana for her poignant acting in Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal.

Photo: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images





Mani Ratnam�s classic Kannathil Muthamittal has bagged 6 National Awards- including the Best Tamil Film. The other awards are:

Best Music Director- A R Rahman.
Best Child Artist: Keerthana.
Best Lyricist: Vairamuthu.
Best Editor: Sreekar Prasad.
Best Sound Recordist: A S Lakshmi Narayanan.

Everybody from Keerthana to A R Rahman are showering praises on Mani Ratnam the director of the film. Said Keerthana immediately after winning the award: �It is only because of Mani uncle that I performed so well in the film�.

A R Rahman�s reaction after hearing the news was: �It is a combination that has always clicked. I won my first National Award for Roja and we are all praying for Mani�s health so that we can work together again and create more movie magic�.

Undoubtedly Mani Ratnam is a team leader and a technician par excellence. No Tamil film in the past has won so many awards as much as Kannathil Muthamittal in the recent past. According to sources, Simran was a strong contender for the Best Actress till the last round.

Mani Ratnam wins Filmfare award: Courtesy: Chennai

Chennai, May 17, 2003: Popular Tamil film actor, Ajith has bagged the Filmfare award for best actor for his role in Villain while Simran has bagged the best actress award for her role in Kannathil Muthamittal. In Malayalam, Dileep has bagged the best actor award for his role in Meesa Madhavan, while Navya Nair has got the best actress award for Nandanam. Chiranjeevi was declared best actor in Telugu and Sada, best actress, while Sundeep gets the best actor and Soundarya, the best actress awards in Kannada. The best film awards went to Azhagi (Tamil), Santosham (Telugu), Nandanam (Malayalam) and Dweepa (Kannada), a Filmfare press release said. 

Following are the best directors: Lal Jose (Malayalam), Mani Ratnam (Tamil), Krishna Vamsi (Telugu) and Girish Kasaravalli (Kannada). The awards will be presented to the winners later this month at Hyderabad.

We love Mani Ratnam because..: Courtesy: Times of India

Mani Ratnam earns respect in Bollywood: Saathiya does it for him. Courtesy: Cine

Finally, Mani Ratnam has made it big in Bollywood. His successful Tamil films were dubbed in Hindi. That was his claim to fame all these years. He went on to make Dil Se.. in Hindi. In spite of having some very beautiful songs, the film crashed at the Box-Office. His dubious reputation has been turned around by the Hindi remake of Alai Payuthey, called Saathiya. There was always a notion that films made by South Indians were scorned at by Bollywood. Saathiya has destroyed that myth by winning the prestigious Filmfare Awards in four categories. Mani Ratnam won a straight award for the best screenplay. The film had also won awards for the best music composer, best lyricist and best song. Just when Mani Ratnam was hesitant about completely focusing on Bollywood, the steady performance of this film and the award for best screenplay has greatly boosted his confidence, say his friends.

"Saathiya is raking in more money than the original, Alai Payuthey did in Tamil", gushes Vivek Oberoi, the film's hero. Kareena Kapoor is ready to make any sacrifice to star in
Mani Ratnam's next Hindi film. Saathiya's Box-Office performance and the Filmfare award that Mani Ratnam had won has greatly increased the respect that he commanded in Bollywood. Now, they are all eager to hear what his next move is. By the way, Ratnam's, Kannathil Muthamittal has been chosen for the Spain Film Fest along with, Ram Gopal Varma's Satya and other 12 Indian films.

Kamal And Mani Ratnam, Uncompromising!: Courtesy: Cine


RatnamOn the Audio Release occasion of Mounam Paesiyathey, Kamal said, that he and Mani Ratnam would collaborate before long. Now, it is more than a year. What happened to their reunion? 

After Panchatandhiram there was an occasion for Kamal and Mani Ratnam to work mutually. After directing Kannathil Muthamittal and producing Five Star, Mani Ratnam started working out on the screenplay for his subsequent movie.

They made an endeavor to give another Nayagan like movie. However, a disagreement cropped up concerning the production. Mani Ratnam, who had been producing his movies for quite a long time, turned down the offer to direct the movie in Kamal�s production. And Kamal? He was willing to give any amount of pay for Mani Ratnam. However the problem was not solved, as both wanted to produce the movie.

Kamal moved on with his performance in Anbae Sivam and Sandiyar according to his preference, and Mani Ratnam with Aayudha Ezhuthu in Tamil and Yuva in Hindi, both having the same story. Now both Kamal and Mani Ratnam are on the threshold of completion of their movies.

However, there seems to be no opportunity for them to come together as anticipated. Kamal has proceeded to make movies with Singeetham Sreenivasa Rao and K S Ravikumar. Mani Ratnam is now planning to make a movie like Five Star, directed by someone else.

Mani Ratnam and Kamal : In need of a patch. Courtesy: Lazy

The much-hyped Kamal-Mani Ratnam starrer seems to be in doldrums. The estimated cost of production shooted upto 10 crores and the total estimate inclusive of Kamal's huge sum of 6 crores, sky rocketed to 20 crores. Except Roja Combines producer Khaja Mohideen, none were ready to pick it up. Also as said by Kamal in Vikatan's interview, the new story was much came out much to be a bigger aspiration than what it was thought to be. And so Mani Ratnam is writing something else which is a bigger leap than Nayagan but smaller than the first planned one.

Also Mani Ratnam is planning to direct a film for Mohideen and Kamal is planning to host three movies in his own Raj Kamal Banner. He would probably act in one of them, which is supposed to be directed by Mouli. He has called Nasser to direct the second film. The cast is undecided for this movie. The third one is undisclosed. Heard that his latest stuff Anbae Sivam is a no-nonsense film and the songs have a communist voice in them.

Its time for Mani Ratnam to reach the stars by a bigger movie than Kannathil Muthamittal. I don't want him to settle for anything smaller than that. It could probably be a story about a social cause. Some thing that we can fantasize with. Unlike
Shankar, he has stuck to realistic movie making which has made him classier. But its time to revitalize Tamil cinema with one his all time biggest grosser. I dream of Mani Ratnam movie that's far better than and much deeper than Kannathil Muthamittal and also hits a silver Jubilee. Something like Rajini's Basha, which was liked by all section of the society. A movie that will be Mani Ratnam's pinnacle. Even after such films like Roja, Bombay and Dil Se.., my all-time Mani Ratnam favorite is Nayagan. If Mani needs to direct such a class movie he needs some one as versatile as Kamal Haasan. Because the unmatched dedication of Kamal and Mani's perfectionist attitude is what that can make such a movie magic again. 

I remember Mani Ratnam quoting in an interview "Movie is an art form of 20th century which can ensemble all the forms of art into one medium. It is the medium which can collate the best dance, drama and music". It is this definition of movie that stuck me harder and I fell in love with the whole idea of movie making. To his credit, he also broke the myth that commercial cinema has to be crude, loud, luridly colorful and brimming with big stars to be popular. In its place, he incorporates all the more appealing elements of popular cinema - romance, action, songs and dazzling locations, then wraps them up in a novel and visually exhilarating package that has now become his hallmark. To work with someone like Mani Ratnam, who is meticulous in his movie making method, is no child's play.

Instinct Action Replay. Courtesy: India Today, March 03, 2003

A Sliver of blood trickles down the helmet of a Sri Lankan soldier; A Man jumps out of a wheel chair and enfolds a passing ministers car in a suicide bombers deadly embrace; three children, their faces blackened for warfare, suddenly arise from dense foliage, their guns trained for assault. These are images of war, that the media-overloaded society ceased to squirm about. But when seen through the eyes of a 11 year old, they acquire a different perspective.

For Mani Ratnam-or Gopal Ratnam Subramaniam, to give his real name-perspective has always been a tricky issue. In Bombay, it landed him in trouble with the Shiv Sena; in Iruvar he enraged both the DMK and the AIADMK, and  in Dil Se.., the story confused him so much that he didn't give his suicide bomber geographical routes. But it has never deterred him from ploughing ahead with political cinema, the latest example of which is Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek), a strong plea for peace in Sri Lanka, during the making of which he suffered his second heart attack. Hospitalised for a month, he returned to shoot the climax scene, one of the finest sequences of urban warfare in Indian cinema, set to an elegiac, almost Celtic chant, composed by the redoubtable A R Rahman. And his perspective this time is just right: that of an abandoned child of an LTTE militant played by Nandita Das.

For 20 years, ever since he made Pallavi Anu Pallavi Ratnam has gone where angels fear to shoot. Though an MBA From Jamnalal Bajaj Institute Of Management Studies, Mumbai, from where his friend Sundeep Singh Bedi who became Bobby Bedi Of Bandit Queen fame, Ratnam was clearly intended for cinema-his father Venus Ratnam was a well known producer. For Ratnam, the two decades have seen remarkable changes, especially technical. "When I made my first film" he says, fiddling with his wireless communicator, " the sound was straight mixed onto film. An old man at the mixing table would say 'It's okay, It's okay' whenever you asked. No body ever wanted to flip the film". Which is why you can understand that he would love to shoot the film in sync-sound: "Dubbing is killing. It is doing a film three times: First you write it, then you shoot it, then you dub it". But then of course Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai won't get to work with him.

Master of the monosyllabic reply, a typical conversation with the 47-year old can go like this:

"You cannot sit and pre-plan everything unless it is a war scene."- Mani Ratnam

Prakash Raj, R Madhavan and P S Keerthana in Kannathil 



Q. Do you see Kannathil Muthamittal as a part of your work on Roja and Dil Se.. ?
A. No.

Q. Can you ever make a film you and Farrukh Dhondy have co-written on Indhira Gandhi's assassination?
A. Well...

Q. You won't say what you're doing next. Is it really a thriller?
A. No and Yes, Or is it Yes and No?

He isn't like that on the sets. Kannathil Muthamittal cinematographer Ravi K Chandran says that he talks a lot-Das will attest to the fact that he often uses swear words-and encourages everyone to experiment, "He's like a tiger, he pushes everybody to excel," says Chandran. The result: a four-minute  interior scene establishing the young family of Kannathil.. was shot in a single take. It can be the other way too: Khan recalls shooting the Chaiyya Chaiyya song for Dil Se.. over four days, with the end result having as many as 90 cuts. Das, who doesn't seem to mind that a lot of her scenes ended up on the cutting floor, says he gives actors a lot of room. "A director has to be very secure to allow actors to try different things," she says.

Shaad Ali, his assistant director on Dil Se.., calls him the king of organised chaos. Mention this to Ratnam, and he smiles. "It's important to have a scene written but you can't pre-plan everything unless it is a war scene," he says. "I don't do a thing. There are actors, cameramen, technicians". Indeed. All he has done is pioneered the music video-in-song format (in Agni Nakshatiram), given the anatomy of secessionism mainstream acceptability (in Roja, Bombay and Dil Se.. and captured the angst of the Dravidian politician in the under-acclaimed Iruvar.

More than that, he has always done the unexpected. After the lyrical love story of Alai Payuthey, he could have done more of the same but he decided to go back-metaphorically-to the war zone, this time in Sri Lanka. He clearly did a lot of work on it: "So much has been written on Sri Lanka in the past 20 years-reportage, fiction, poetry and propaganda. Some of it makes a Greek tragedy look mild". His script, he says, tried to capture just a "small portion of it", with all the incidents that take place in the film being taken from real life or literature.

So why, despite Dil Se.. being the first Indian film to break into the Top 10 in the UK and Kannathil Muthamittal, being highly appreciated at international film festivals, has Ratnam not made India's first crossover film? Is it, as Bedi likes to say, that Ratnam is far too successful at home? "Bobby has a theory for everything", smiles Ratnam, "I just want to make a film".

When it turns out to be a movie like Kannathil Muthamittal, it's worth it. Released to tepid commercial response in the south last year, it is expected to do much better in the north where it has been released with some excellent subtitling by the National Film Development Corporation. Beginning in the lush, green forests of Allepey in Kerala, which stand in for Jaffna, and ending in a park recreated in Chennai, which also stands in for Jaffna, the cinematic language of the film changes: from the National Geographic look, Chandran's camera becomes kinetic as it follows the remarkable child actor P S Keerthana, then become desaturated, almost colourless, when the child begins to search for her mother, till the climax where the hand-held camera jerks, shivers and shakes, as if caught in the crossfire itself.

Ratnam's already got an informal school of filmmakers going: he wrote the story and screenplay for Dumm Dumm Dumm and produced for Azhagam Perumal, his one-time assistant, and produced a Tamil film, Five Star, for another assistant, Susi Ganesan. He also supervised the script for Saathiya, Ali's remake of Alai Payuthey. Despite a wildly successful career, he's at heart a middle-class man, living simply in Chennai with actress-director wife Suhasini and his 10-year old son, Nandan. So what's next for the instinctive filmmaker? Expect the unexpected.

Mani Ratnam - A Shooting Success by Kavitha Shetty

Subject: Mani Ratnam - A Shooting Success
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
From: [email protected] (Renu Thamma)
Date: 21 Mar 94 18:26:28 CST
Organization: University of Missouri - Kansas City
Lines: 152

Hi Netters!

This article appeared in India Today, February 15, 1994. Special thanks to a fellow netter who chooses to remain anonymous, for bringing this article to my notice. :) Any spelling mistakes are mine. Renu.

MANI Ratnam - A SHOOTING SUCCESS by Kavitha Shetty

Mani Ratnam would never get a role in the movies he makes. Bespectacled, comfortably burly and disarmingly modest, he might have stepped out of an R K Lakshman cartoon. But large as life, he's seated behind a table in a 
sparsely furnished room, in his Alwarpet office in Chennai. "Mani is a very simple guy. He's the same person he was 10 years ago", says P C Sreeram, a childhood friend and the cameraman of six Mani Ratnam films. But this regular guy is the director of the moment. One reason for that is Roja, Mani's film about a simple village girl who fights to free her husband from the clutches of Kashmiri militants who have taken him hostage. The film's success has given new life to the exhausted clich้, "from Kashmir to Kanyakumari" by actually bridging that mythic stretch. As people flock to see the film, even in the troubled Valley, it has become one of the few things Indians are unanimous about. The national scale of this triumph took many people, including Mani himself, by surprise. But in the south, he's long been a well-established household name. "India's Spielberg", as he's known here, spices his movies with a sophistication that sets them apart from the usual melodramas. In the process he has even won over MTV and Hollywood-struck youngsters who thought that Tamil cinema was infra dig. And with 11 films behind him in as many years, Mani has acquired a certain mystique. A popular legend about the director even hints at a divine hand in his origin: In Madurai in 1955, so the story goes, the wife of a struggling film distributor, pregnant with her second child, circled the famous Meenakshi temple four times a day, fervently praying that the infant would not materialise. The family could not afford another baby. But the goddess would have none of it. At any rate Mani Ratnam was born in June that year. The tale may be apocryphal, but it is firmly entrenched in Tamil film lore today. Even as Mani is being mythologised, he is, to his credit, shattering another myth : that commercial cinema has to be crude, loud, luridly colourful and brimming with big stars to be popular. In its place, he incorporates all the more appealing elements of popular cinema - romance, action, songs and dazzling locations, then wraps them up in a novel and visually exhilarating package that has now become his hallmark.

"The wrappings", as Mani himself terms them, are spectacular cinematography, dramatic choreography, sharp dialogue and crisp editing. But while these elements may be the essence of film craft for Mani and his enthusiasts, his detractors, and he has a few, dismiss it as mere gloss. "Other films launch stars, Mani's films launch technicians", says one critic, referring to Mani's reliance on art and music directors. Mani himself could be chortling all the way to the Box-Office, but he is clearly irked by insinuations that he is all technique and no substance. "It doesn't affect me, but it bothers me. People put you in a pigeon-hole and want to keep you there". Perhaps for the same reason, he is reluctant to speak of his own cinematic canon or any major influences. When pressed, he concedes a high regard for Kurosawa and Guru Dutt. The admiration for Dutt is telling. "He was a master of all aspects of film making", says Mani, who considers himself only "fairly competent".

Some fellow film makers are more generous. "He is a true devotee of the craft. You can see it in every frame", says Bharadiraja, a path-breaker in Tamil cinema himself. But Mani can be a ruthless taskmaster too, as his cast and crew would attest. His cameraman describes him as a Jekyll and Hyde character: mild and affable off the sets but a raging bull once shooting starts. On the sets of Roja, the cast began to faint from the cold but Mani did not flag. And on location near Pollachi for his latest Thiruda Thiruda (Thief Thief) the entire unit was feasted on by leeches but, encouraged by Mani, they just plucked them off and soldiered on. "I try to get the best I can from myself and those working with me", says the unrepentant director. Mani's cinematic drive clearly runs deep, but his path to film making was not straightforward. Despite a background in the industry, the young Mani did not set out to work in films. "As a youngster, films seemed like a waste of time", he says. Instead he did an MBA at the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management in Mumbai and returned to Chennai, to work as a management consultant. But, he was soon disillusioned with the work. Meanwhile the cinematic urge was at work. "I didn't want to get to 40 and feel I hadn't made the jump (into films) when I should have", he says. So he wrote a script and chased people around trying to peddle it, with no success. His luck turned when his uncle, Venus Krishnamurthy, a film producer, gave him some script editing work for which he was widely praised. But his trials were not over. When he completed his first film Pallavi Anu Pallavi in 1983, his father Gopal Ratnam dismissed it with a backhanded compliment: "It's got class, it won't run". The elder Ratnam was right and the film won critical acclaim but flopped at the Box-Office. Mani's next films, Unaru and Pagal Nilavu suffered the same fate, and it wasn't until he made Mouna Ragam (Tune of Silence) in 1986 that he got it right. That film found the perfect formula of a strong storyline and great music, presented in a fresh visual style that caught the audience by surprise. Mani hasn't looked back since. But, success has hardly blunted his hunger for commercial and popular success. Nayagan may have won him critical praise and an entree to the Oscars, but Mani remains emphatic that does not want to be an art film maker. "If the theatres are not full, it hurts me. A film should be commercially viable. People who put money into my films should get it back", says the conscientious MBA. His real obsession, however, is to communicate with his audience. Mani is still rankled by an incident in 1986 when he went to a theatre 50 km from Chennai to observe the reaction to Mouna Ragam, a sensitive film about a girl who is married off after a tragic romance and refuses to go to bed with her husband. As the film ended, Mani heard a man say: "Why the hell couldn't the guy have got himself another woman if this one was being so difficult?" He recalls his dismay: "If I couldn't relate to a guy 50 KM from here, how was I going to get across to a wider audience? I can't forget that guy".

His disappointment pushed him to obsessive labours. He complains about his slow progress with scripts and screenplays, confessing he is not a natural writer. He takes four months to complete this work and goes about his research with all the zeal of a documentary film maker, reading and travelling to meet and talk to people. Meticulous in his method, he has to have the complete screenplay ready before he begins shooting. And even before he begins a script, he must have his team - cinematographer, Art director and music director -

The success of Roja may have answered some if his apprehensions about getting across to a wider audience but Mani has no illusions about his mission. "Let's be honest. In this format, you have to dilute what you want to say to get it across". His objective remains "to dilute less and less, until I come to a point where I don't have to dilute at all, and it still remains a commercial film".

Nursing his private obsessions in this public art, Mani is publicity-shy to the point of being a recluse. He guards his privacy jealously: "I don't want to be a star. I want my freedom to go and sit in a theatre, to ride a bike". And he has dodged the spotlight so nimbly that even today, not many people recognise him on the streets of Chennai. "Unless I am with Haasini!" he quips. Haasini is Suhasini, the noted Tamil actress whom Mani married in the conventional arranged fashion. Mani still remembers that when he was struggling to make his first film, Suhasini refused to accept a role in it. The couple have a two-year-old son, Nandan who sometimes calls his father "Gundu Mani" (fat Mani).

Modest about the success he has found, Mani brushes it off. "I wouldn't say I've been successful, and I hope I never get there", he says. The height of his ambition remains to have a new film to work on at the end of each project. But others certainly expect greater things. Mani's brother, G Venkateshwaran, believes he is destined for international fame: "He will go to Hollywood". As for Mani himself: "That man in the theatre 50 km from here is still bothering me".

Shame on us-Kannathil Muthamittal not for the Oscars. Courtesy: A R Rahman's Yahoo! Fan Group

Kannathil MuthamittalThanks for that collection of reviews. Mani has always been a favourite at the Toronto Film Festival. Nevertheless, it was heartening to read those reviews. Kannathil Muthamittal is definitely eons ahead of Devdas. Pity, our selection procedure is mired down in such politics.

"jelly_nest <[email protected]>" <[email protected]> wrote:

I don't know about you guys but NOW I am awfully extremely profoundly depressed at KM not making it to Indian Oscar Entry. I have consolidated a bunch of reviews from International watchers of Mani's Gem Kannathil Muthamittal. What a shame this film was not nominated for Oscars. Shame on India!! I feel so ashamed to be part of this country which hates real talent. Jealousy everywhere!! Kannathil Muthamittal got a re-run request. Only very few movies get re-run request in Toronto film festival.

I feel like murdering the B&%*%@# who sent a shitty crap like Devdas to Oscars.... painfully depressing!! Oh god save India from this Bias shit!! when will we change????? Anywhere read these reviews and enjoy... if you get depressed in the middle forget it.
Dave D-2
Toronto, Canada

Date: 14 September 2002
Summary: I defy you to view this film and not be moved emotionally!

Recently had the pleasure of seeing this emotionally charged film by Director Mani Ratnam at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. I have bestowed my highest honour of the Film Festival on this feature. Make sure that you do not let an opportunity to experience this cinematic gem pass you by ... but be forwarded: this film will make you shed a tear if you belong to the species known as homo sapian! A 10 !!


Date: 12 September 2002
Summary: Sensitive, top-notch film from a great director ...

The film has Mani Ratnam written all over it. It is subtle in its content, yet manages to be in-your-face with some trademark - Mani Ratnam blunt dialogues and blunt visuals too. I've only seen Spielberg and Benigni who have managed to balance subtlety and directness wonderfully. Mani Ratnam is not their class but very close on their heels. At times he is better than them! The performances are superb, the production values are excellent, particularly the camera and art direction. Yet I have to mention two let downs in the movie. One is sort of major - Rahman's background score. It had a widely fluctuating quality - at times (in the final scenes and in the scenes following Amudha's birthday) bordering on superb and at times (in most of the war scenes, in the scene when Amudha sees the young LTTE girls) downright intrusive. The second one is a minor let down - editing. The movie could have used a good 10 minute trimming in the middle stages. The first half hour is a series of disjointed events thrown at you at a rapid-fire pace, which may not be easy for even Tamilians to follow, not to say how difficult it is for the Western audience. Yet, being a Tamilian, while I relished the first half hour of the movie so much, I can't help but wonder how much of that brilliance remained after translating the dialogues. Personally I had a very hard time translating all the comedy in the movie when I attempted it for North Indians and Americans! That said, I have watched the movie 5 times already. I don't think I'll stop watching it anytime soon. One of the best to come out of India, heck, one of the finest movies ever made. Kudos to Mani Ratnam and the entire team!

A hearty 8.5 out of 10.0!

Mitch Gurowitz
Piscataway, NJ USA

Date: 10 September 2002
Summary: If not perfect, what is?

The Director of Kannathil Muthamittal directed the first Indian film I had seen Dil Se.. which led me down the path of buying well over 122 Hindi DVDs in the course of four months. I can say I understood the total attraction, I was somehow confused as to why the film would stop for "music videos". It was an excellent movie, I didn't know what to make of the dancing and the female vocals were a bit shrill for my western ears, but somehow I found A R Rahman's score hypnotic. I bought the soundtrack the following day and then Lagaan, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and K3G the following week and with the exception of "Ichi the killer" a few other Korean films , I can't be bothered to watch much else. Kind of strange for someone who has only watched a strict diet of Hong Kong, Horror and Action/Science fiction films for the past 30 years. But I should get back to Kannathil Muthamittal, It is one of the Mani Ratnam's latest efforts and I laughed, Cried, Got totally mad, terrified and most of all I didn't feel manipulated. The acting was superb, the photography was beautiful, I think you could stop the movie at any given time and would notice that any give frame would be worthy of painting. The music fit the movie perfectly and after the credits rolled, I wanted to watch again... so I did. It would be foolish to discuss the plot for fear that you may miss the pleasure of watching the events unfold and the characters develop. This is what great film is all about! I stood and applauded in my home theater when it was over! My wife is watching now, and I can't wait for her reaction, I can't expect it will be anything less than mine.

James McNally
Toronto, Canada

Date: 11 September 2002
Summary: Deeply touching...

I saw this film at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. This is the first Indian film I've seen in the Tamil language, and while it does share some similarities with other Indian films (wonderful music and choreography, sweeping storyline), the director attempts more than just to entertain. The film tells the story of Amudha, a precocious nine-year old whose parents reveal to her that she was adopted, thus beginning an odyssey that takes them all from India to war-torn Sri Lanka. Gorgeous visuals mix with horrifying scenes of violence expressly to make a point, though it is a simplistic one. Amudha is played by P.S. Keerthana, and she is one of the few child actors I've seen who can be precocious and yet not annoying. Her charm and beauty held the film together.

John Henderson
Melbourne, Australia

Date: 7 April 2002
Summary: WOW!!!

To tell you the truth, I do not speak Tamil, and I did not understand the film. My good Tamil friend, Kaneswaran 
Kumarswamypillai (wow, what a long name), explained every thing to me. What a great movie!!! After watching this movie, I felt I should have watched many more movies from Tollywood (Tamil Film Industry). The war scenes were amazing, camera work excellent, and plot beautiful. The actress "Simran", what a beauty. Give her an award for best looking someone. Ding, Ding, Ding, come on I smell a OSCAR winner. I didn't understand the songs, but they were excellent. Mani Ratnam is a great director, and I hope his next film was a success.

These reviews were obtained from

Manikchand Filmfare Award for Saathiya. Courtesy: Times of India

Critics Award for Best Actress: Rani Mukherjee for Saathiya (shared by Manisha Koirala for Company).
Best Music Director: A R Rahman for Saathiya.
Best Lyricist: Gulzar for Saathiya.
Best Dialogue writer: Gulzar for Saathiya (shared by Jaideep Sahni for Company).
Best Male Playback singer: Sonu Nigam for Saathiya.
Best Screenplay: Mani Ratnam for Saathiya.

Read: Rani Mukherjee is happy with Saathiya.

Rahman's cause for concert: Courtesy: Rediff Movies

Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Mani Ratnam, A R Rahman and Kamal Hassan Ad filmmaker P Jayendra's office Real Image buzzes with activity. On the walls are huge posters of A R Rahman's Unity of Light concert slated for February 21 in Chennai. You get the impression everyone at Real Image is working with one aim: to make the Rahman show a huge success. More than the concert it is the cause behind it has them charged. All proceeds from the concert will go to the Mahesh Memorial Trust created by some of Mahesh's close friends, which include Jayendra, filmmaker Mani Ratnam, actor Kamal Haasan and cricketer K Srikanth. Mani Ratnam knew Mahesh from college; Jayendra from school; Kamal Haasan after Mahesh composed music for Nammavar. Mani Ratnam simply fulfilled a close friend's wishes when he requested Rahman to perform in Chennai. Mahesh died of cancer a few months ago at 47. Jayendra remembers Mahesh was depressed when he was first diagnosed with cancer in 1989. To help him get over it, Jayendra asked him to pursue whatever he loved most: music. Mahesh chucked his management job, joined Real Image and started composing jingles. In his short career as composer, he composed over 400 jingles; one film Nammavar, which fetched him a National Award; the background score for P C Sreeram's Kuruthippunal and Kamal Haasan's Aalavandhan, before he died. Jayendra, the driving force behind the trust, says Mahesh's positive approach brought all of them together to form the trust. When he died, Mahesh wrote in his will that he would like his friends to do something for cancer, especially for poor, cancer-afflicted children. "At the memorial service for Mahesh, everyone was visibly moved and upset thinking of Mahesh as a person. All of us thought that that feeling should be channeled into something positive. That is how the trust came into being. But we had no idea where we would raise the money from. Suddenly, we thought of Rahman's concert, and Mani Ratnam said he would convince Rahman", Jayendra remembers. Rahman didn't need convincing. He had lost his father to cancer. At a recent press conference, Rahman said he was doing it for his father and Mahesh. He had no plans to perform in Chennai at the time Unity of Light was conceived. In addition to performances in Kolkatta and Hyderabad, he was to tour Los Angeles, Toronto, London, New York and Dubai. After Mani Ratnam spoke to him, Rahman changed his plans and accommodated Chennai in his calendar.

Mahesh Chitra, Mahesh's wife and one of the trustees, remembers that a couple of days before Mahesh died, he called Srikanth to the hospital to discuss ways to raise funds for the Cancer Institute. "He was discussing all this while blood transfusion was going on. Unfortunately, he died after two days", she says.

The trust wants to create awareness among people through screening camps that some types of cancer, if detected early, are curable. The most important thing the trust wants to do is help cancer-afflicted children who come to the Cancer Institute in Chennai. 

"Mahesh was so positive in spite of cancer", Jayendra says. "That is what saw him through. We want to pass the positive feeling to other people in addition to raising the level of awareness and helping the poor".

"They [Ratnam, Jayendra and Rahman] are all very busy people but they have kept everything aside to give priority to this show", Chitra says emotionally. "They don't have to do it, but they are doing it for Mahesh. If Mahesh is seeing this from somewhere, he will be touched!"

Saathiya: Some southern fresh air for Bollywood. Courtesy: The New Indian Express Jan 17 2003

By Shradha Sukumaran

SaathiyaMumbai, Jan 16 2003: The Southern Remake - it's a tag that the film Saathiya has lived with from its very first take, Yet, the film arrived like a whiff of fresh air at the end of the bad year for the Hindi film industry. It has also secured 12 nominations at the Asian Paints 9th annual Star Screen Awards, including the Best Actor and Actress, Best story, Best Dialogue and Best Screenplay.
But Saathiya has also made news for different reasons. It's one of the few films that have gone against the grain and proved that a South Indian remake can work. Virasaat, Satya, Raja Babu, Anari, Shiva, Chachi 420, Eashwar, Hera Pheri, even Ek duje ke Liye, were successes, but only too often a South Indian plot has failed to spark before audience.
First-time director Shaad Ali realised the risk, but says that he had no fears while embarking on the project. "I think it works 50/50 with any film. Also this story had worked in the South and I had lived with the script for five years, so I really didn't think that it wouldn't work", he says. Ali actually goes as far as to point out that all the big films of 2003, Devdas, Kaante, Humraaz and Raaz have been remakes. "The reason that South Indian remakes seldom work is because they aren't adapted properly. Often, they are projects only in proposal and the script is not transported properly", Ali adds.
In Saathiya's case, at least, there were no such fears. The film was based on Tamil director Mani Ratnam's, Alai Payuthey, (starring R Madhavan and Shalini) and he was an active part of the Saathiya shoot. It was also made under the Yash Raj Films banner and was largely formatted on the original. "But when there is a new set of actors and technicians, it is still an effort of direct the film. The story still has to be told", Ali points out.
And Saathiya's story did work, despite its protagonists, Aditya and Suhani (played convincingly by Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee) finishing of with their tender courting before the interval and ending up a volatile married couple soon after. Oberoi, in fact, admitted that the role of Aditya was tougher than the Chandu he played in Company.
The team also counted - most on Saathiya's other nominations have been for its music and for technical awards, proving that the entire package has gone down well. But far from breathing easy, Ali feels the responsibility of the next film weighing in.

Film personalities on terrorists' hit list.

Courtesy: [Cine]

Mani Ratnam's household is the scene of plenty of action these days. Everywhere you go, you are bound to run into cops. His friends are very upset . 

The reason for all these activities is- Lashkar-ae-Thoiba (a terrorist organization) had mentioned six prominent personalities in its hit list. Director Mani Ratnam's name features on the list, according to CBI. 

Mani Ratnam's films like 'Roja' and 'Bombay' aptly portray the hardships faced by common people in the clutches of terrorism. The film has detailed description of the Mumbai blast and the culprits behind it. 

Nobody could have forgotten the crude bombs that were thrown at Mani's house soon after the release of 'Bombay'. Security was provided in the aftermath of the attacks. 

After the announcements from CBI, security has further been improved for the director. His residence at Venus Colony is under special protection these days. Police officers during their night patrols are running checks around his residence now.

Courtesy: [The New Indian Express Jan 17 2003]

Mumbai, Jan 16 2003: Police on Thursday said at least six producers and top television anchors are on the hit list of terrorists for making films and programmes on cross-border terrorism.
They include noted director-producer Mani Ratnam, popular television anchor Shekhar Suman and producer Ujjwal Upadhyaya, who has made An Escape from Taliban.
Terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba was after Ratnam who made films like; Roja and Bombay. Security has been provided to these film personalities after it was learnt that the mission against Bollywood was being undertaken by the dreaded Riyadh-based terrorist Abu Hamza.

Courtesy: [Rediff Movies Jan 16 2003]

Terrorists gun for Bollywood folk - The Mumbai police said at least six producers and television anchors are on the terrorists' hit list for making films and programmes on terrorism.

Joint Commissioner of Police Sridhar Vagal confirmed intelligence reports, which includes personalities like director Mani Ratnam, television anchor Shekhar Suman and producer Ujjal Chattopadhyay (director of Escape From Taliban), as being under threat.

Terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba is believed to be gunning for Ratnam, whose film Roja portrayed terrorist groups misguiding innocent youth and leading them to their deaths.

The film folk were given security after it was learnt that a mission against Bollywood was being undertaken by Riyadh-based terrorist Abu Hamza, who is wanted by the Indian government in connection with several acts of terrorism.

Actress Manisha Koirala and Ratnam were given police protection after they received threats when Bombay, made on the 1992-93 communal riots, was released. PTI

Mani Ratnam film bags top southern cinema awards. Courtesy: Yahoo! India Movies Dec 22 2002

By Indo-Asian News Service

Chennai, Dec 22 (IANS) Director Mani Ratnam's film Kannathil Muthamittal has bagged six awards at the 22nd Cinema Express ceremony, the biggest cinema honours event in southern India.

The awards are presented here annually and have grown into the biggest recognition for films in the four major southern Indian languages -- Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada.

This year's eagerly awaited function took place Saturday night at the packed Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, beginning with a dance number by John Britto's troupe.

Some big industry names, except the Mani Ratnam family, were missing at this year's function organised by the New Indian Express group of publications.

Big stars like Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan were not present. Neither was actor Sharath Kumar and music directors Ilayaraja and A R Rahman.

Actress Simran was judged the best actress in Tamil films for her role in
Kannathil Muthamittal, a story on Sri Lankan Tamils.

Child actress Keerthana got the best award for her role in the same film that brought the best director award to Mani Ratnam.

The film also bagged the best awards for choreography, which went to Brinda, for stunt direction, which went to Vikram Dharma, and it was judged the best Tamil film of the year.

Former actress Jayapradha, the chief guest, recalled her winning a Cinema Express award nearly 18 years ago: "This is one award every artist wants to win once in his or her life time".

Film Anandam was chosen as the best Telugu film. Hanuman Junction fetched director Raja and actress Sneha awards in the Telugu section. Jai Akash was declared best actor for his role in Anandam".

In the Malayalam section, director Rajiv Kumar and his film Sesham were honoured. Jayaram was declared the best actor for his role in the same film.

Suhasini Mani Ratnam bagged the best actress award in the Malayalam film category for her role in Theerthadanam.

Appu was adjudged the best film in the Kannada section with Puri Jaganath named the best director and Puneeth Rajkumar the best actor in the film. Gayathri Jayaram was chosen best actress for her role in Neela.

In the Tamil section, Anuradha Sreeram won the best female singer award for Gemini, and Srinivas got the best male singer award for Rojakottam.

Newcomer Gemini bagged an award for Gemini. Bharadwaj won the best music director award for the same film.

The best storywriter award went to Cheran for Pandavar Bhoomi and the best lyric writer was presented to Kavingar Thamaraj for the film Nanda.

The Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan award, the most prestigious of the honours given by Cinema Express, went to Tamil actor Chiranjeevi and was accepted by his son in his absence.

The award is named after noted Tamil actor Sivaji Ganesan.

"I didn't think I would win", said child artiste Keerthana, echoing the feeling of others, for many of whom it was a second or third award.

Saathiya Film Review. Courtesy:[IndiaFM, Taran Adarsh; Dec 21 2002

SaathiyaKaleidoscope Entertainment P. Ltd.'s SAATHIYA, directed by Shaad Ali, is a remake of Mani Ratnam's ALAI PAYUTHEY.

Aditya (Vivek Oberoi) meets Suhani (Rani Mukherjee), a medical student, at a wedding and falls head over heels for her. He follows her relentlessly in the local trains.

Suhani, who is a daughter of a simple railway employee (Sharath Saxena-Tanuja), initially brushes him off because she wants to become a successful doctor and make her parents happy. However, his persistence pays off and she agrees.

Only to be opposed by their parents. The couple decides to part ways as she is determined not to hurt her parents.

But they can't bear being separated, so they finally come together and get married in secret. Once they are married, their true story begins. Suddenly it is not at all a happy journey. There are misunderstandings and quarrels. So where do they go from here?

The biggest problem with SAATHIYA lies in its story itself. To state that it's as old as the hills would be apt, since this theme � lovers facing parental opposition � has been witnessed with unfailing regularity since time immemorial.

The film starts off on an ordinary note and one expects the story to gather momentum once the protagonists fall in love. But nothing happens.

The film does pick up at the interval point when the girl confesses to her parents that she is already married, but post-interval, the writer (Mani Ratnam) and director (Shaad Ali) seemed to have taken the easy way out by relying on the tried and tested stuff, instead of trying to come up with something novel.

In the second half, the tiffs between the couple are petty tiffs, not anything dramatic, which is why the impact is not strong. The narrative picks up again towards the pre-climax when Rani meets with a car accident (by Tabu). But the sequences thereafter move at such a lethargic pace that it tests the patience of the viewer.

Another weak aspect of the film is that it has no gloss absolutely. Set in a middle class household, the story moves on an ordinary track and those expecting bigness in terms of visuals or production values will be thoroughly disappointed.

Director Shaad Ali has tackled a few sequences with maturity, but he should've opted for a fresh story for his launch. Besides, the pace drops alarmingly in the latter part of the story, soon after the accident, which makes the climax a long drawn affair.

Also, the guest appearances give the impression that they have been added, perhaps, to enhance the star appeal of the film. However, the star presence does nothing to elevate the story or the prospects of the film.

Shah Rukh Khan's role is something that could've been portrayed by just about anyone. The superstar hardly has any lines to deliver and the length of his role is miniscule. It fails to register any impact whatsoever. Ditto for a talented name like Tabu, who has been wasted in an insignificant role.

Mani Ratnam's script is old fashioned, with nothing fresh to talk of. In today's times, when Hindi cinema is going through a transition phase, plots like these instantly remind you of the social fares of 1970s and 1980s.

A R Rahman's music is melodious and easy on the ears. The title track is the pick of the lot, but the Shamita Shetty number can easily be deleted, for it serves as a speed breaker in the goings-on. Perhaps, even this song was added to add spice to an otherwise drab story.

Cinematography [Anil Mehta] is wonderful. Dialogues are well worded and some of them do register an impact.

SAATHIYA clearly belongs to Vivek Oberoi, who enacts his part with ้lan. Enacting a role that is in sharp contrast to his first two films, the youngster comes up with a sparkling performance, which is sure to multiply his fan following.

Rani Mukherjee is efficient. She looks pretty and does her part with conviction. Amongst character artists, Sandhya Mridul, as Rani's elder sister, is first-rate. Tanuja is just about okay. The remaining names are mere gap fillers.

On the whole, SAATHIYA is too old fashioned a fare, which will appeal to a select few at metros mainly. In the face of a strong opposition (KAANTE), the prospects of SAATHIYA appear bleak.

Rating:- * ฝ.

Can Saathiya break the remake jinx? Courtesy: Times of, Dec 19 2002

MUMBAI: After Dayaavan, a disastrous remake of Mani Ratnam's gangster epic Nayagan, was released more than a decade ago, the ace Tamil filmmaker was asked what he thought of the Hindi version.
"They didn't get the point", the taciturn creator of celluloid magic said tersely. As far as Hindi remakes of his films go, Mani Ratnam has plenty of reason to complain. Although they have been trying for several years, Bollywood filmmakers still haven't got the point. As Saathiya, a Hindi remake of Ratnam's Alai Payuthey, prepares to hit theatres across the country, many in Indian cinema are wondering whether it would break that jinx. After all, there have been a string of failed remakes in the past.

In 1992, stunt coordinator Pappu Varma bought the rights of Ratnam's 1988 Tamil classic Agni Nakshatiram, the bigamous melodrama about a man (Vijay Kumar) trying to hold together two wives and two warring stepsons.
Varma's remake Vansh featured Anupam Kher as the father and Sudesh Berry and Sushant Ray as the sons. A large chunk of composer Ilayaraja's songs from the original was also appropriated and credited to Mumbai's Anand-Milind. The film was a colossal failure. Mani Ratnam's first Telugu film Geetajali in 1989 about a romantic liaison between a terminally ill street hoodlum (Nagarjuna) and a heart patient (Girija) was transposed to Hindi by director Deepak Anand as Yaad Rakhegi Duniya in 1992 with Aditya Pancholi and Rukhsar playing the two roles. That too failed miserably.

In 1988, ambitious actor-filmmaker Feroz Khan acquired the remake rights of Ratnam's most well known work Nayagan. In the Hindi remake
Dayaavan, Khan cast Vinod Khanna in the role immortalised by Kamal Haasan in the original. The film was such an inept recreation that Mani Ratnam decided then to try his best to prevent his films from being vandalised by Mumbai's directors. Two of his successful Tamil films from the 1990s, Anjali and Dalapathi, were dubbed in Hindi and received rather well in Mumbai.

In 1992, Ratnam took the bold step of personally dubbing his Tamil patriotic love story Roja into Hindi. The film's astounding critical and commercial success prompted Ratnam to again dub in Hindi his film Bombay, a controversial Tamil Hindu-Muslim love story set against the backdrop of Mumbai's 1993 communal riots.

Bombay was a roaring success and encouraged the shy Ratnam to make his first full-fledged Hindi film Dil Se.. . But its failure put Ratnam off Hindi cinema.

In Alai Payuthey and more recently Kannathil Muthamittal (the latter released in Mumbai with English subtitles), Ratnam explored a predominantly Tamilian hinterland.

To everyone's surprise, the fastidious director agreed to let his assistant Shaad Ali remake Alai Payuthey in Hindi. Perhaps young Ali's confidence and his impeccable credentials did the trick. But would this Ratnam remake work where others failed?

"Why not?" asked Ali on the eve of the release of Saathiya.

Hindi remakes of south Indian films aren't alien to our cinema. The phenomenon goes back a long way. Mehmood's Bombay To Goa and Padosan were remakes of south Indian films and very successful in Hindi.

"To date, we've had highly successful Hindi remakes like Biwi No. 1. If some of them, including Mani Ratnam's films, have failed, it's because Hindi filmmakers haven't taken enough care to ensure that the original source material is transported fluently into a Hindi-speaking milieu", reasoned Ali.

L V Prasad did terrific transpositions of his own films like Sharda, Beti Bete, Choti Bahen and Ek Duuje Ke Liye. I think for a remake to work, the adaptor has to be closely associated with the adopted material.

"Since I was a part of Mani Ratnam's Alai Payuthey right from its scripting, I felt I was in a position to carry forward the material. I feel every remake has to take the original material forward".

Dalapathi Song in BBC Top 10. Courtesy: Times of, Nov 22 2002

"Adi Rakkamma, kaiya thattu", the foot-tapper rendered by S P Balasubramaniam and Swarnalatha, from Mani Ratnam's Tamil mega hit Dalapathi, starring Rajnikanth, leads BBC World Service's Top Ten list for the 70th anniversary celebrations. Ilayaraja scored the music for the film, a runaway hit in the Nineties. Also on the Top Ten list, based on entries from 112 countries, are two other Indian songs. One is Vande Matharam, composed and sung by A R Rahman, at the fifth slot. Another Rahman-scorer Chaiyya chaiyya is at the seventh place. The Indian three are from among the 1,000-odd songs in pop and rap, Western classical and African tribals listed in thousands of votes that have thus far been recorded. The final list will be run by BBC World Service December 21, according to a BBC release.

Tamil song tops BBC top ten poll

REUTERS [ FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2002 07:33:46 PM ]

LONDON: Step aside Beatles, Queen and Led Zeppelin a Tamil song from a 1991 Indian film has beaten them all in a worldwide poll to find the most popular song on the planet.
Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu topped a poll conducted by the BBC in which radio listeners, celebrities and politicians from 116 countries participated. Cliff Richard has come a close second in the poll with his 1979 hit We Don�t Talk Any More, while American singer Cher is holding the third spot with her dance number Believe. At number four is John Lennon�s Imagine an ode to peace that features regularly in lists of favourite songs and at five is another Indian song, Vande Matharam
The BBC World Service said it had received votes from 116 countries with the maximum number of votes coming from India. So far, more than 900 songs have been chosen and The Beatles have the highest number of nominated songs. Former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos chose the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel�s Messiah as her favourite song. She told the BBC it always lifted her spirits when she needed spiritual healing. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a well known Elvis fan, chose Ennio Morricone�s score for the film Once Upon a Time in America as his top tune. The final results will be published on December 21. Our Comment: Rock Amma! Bibi see! From Sardar jokes to the Big B to Tamil pop, India�s tango with the Beeb continues. To cynics who say this is booth capturing, we say we are the best in the numbers game.

Shaad Ali tries to break the stigma of remakes. Courtesy: Times of, Nov 22 2002

Shaad is determined to erase the stigma attached to Hindi remakes of Mani Ratnam's films. Shaad's father Muzaffar Ali is much more than the maker of the elegiac Gaman and majestic Umrao Jaan. Saathiya, slated for a December 20 release, is a story of love and marriage set against the bustling backdrop of Mumbai's local trains and the hurly burly of everyday living.
Shaad and his cast -- Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee with special appearances by Shah Rukh Khan and Tabu -- have a tough act to follow, as the film is a remake of Ratnam's Tamil hit Alai Payuthey.

Incidentally, every Hindi remake of Ratnam's originals -- Vansh (a remake of Tamil original Agni Nakshatiram), Yaad Rakhegi Duniya (of Telugu film Geetanjali) and Dayavan (gangster epic Nayagan) -- has been a disaster.

Will Shaad be able to break the jinx on Ratnam's Hindi remakes?

I will stick to popular Cinema: Mani Ratnam. Courtesy: Times of, Nov 12 2002

KOLKATA: Acclaimed film-maker Mani Ratnam feels it is easy to make a film without the usual Bollywood fare of song and dance, but he will rather stick to the mainstream cinema.
"Let me be very frank. I make films keeping within the mainstream and my cinema is popular cinema. I love it this way", the director of popular hits as Roja, Bombay and Dil Se.. told a press meet at the Kolkata International Film Festival here on Tuesday.

Ratnam, whose retrospective of 10 films at the festival is drawing huge crowds, said it was an easy task to tell a story in a straight narrative without any frills.

"But ask me if I am keen on exploring the middle ground of combining the mainstream with parallel cinema, I would say I will not be very comfortable. For me, the music and visual opulence are an integral part of the film. But believe me, I don't spend where it is not necessary", he said.

To a question whether censorship was coming in the way of free expression for film-makers in India, Ratnam said it was like expecting that a country should function without any laws.

"Censorship should never go. But we can always give a little more space to the director", he said.

Brushing aside debates on poor performance of vernacular cinema in India, Ratnam said a story well told and a theme well presented always had takers. "Language, I think, has nothing to do with film-making. It is how you make your point and whether you exploit the visual medium maintaining a certain standard that does the trick", the film-maker, all of whose films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada have been big hits at the Box-Office, said.

Asked about his next venture, the quick-witted director said", I want to make another film".

"...I am working on a script. Each success gives me the adrenaline to move to another film".

The director, who is inspired by the works of legendary Japanese film maker Akira Kurosawa, said contrary to popular perception, his latest venture Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek) portraying the Sri Lanka civil war was shot entirely in India.

"I have tried to recreate the essence of a Sri Lankan village as closely as possible. The locations were largely chosen from south India".

Ratnam's retrospective at the festival includes award winning entries Mouna Ragam, Nayagan, Anjali, Roja, Thiruda Thiruda, Bombay, Alai Payuthey, Iruvar, Kannathil Muthamittal and Dil Se.. .

Dream Team - Mani and Kamal.

Courtesy: Lazy, Nov 14, 2002]

Pair Up, Gear Up & Cheer Up!!

Mani Ratnam, undisputedly the best director in India and Kamal Hassan, undisputedly the best acting actor in India are gearing up to pair up in their next blockbuster after Nayagan. A wish of all good-cinema-lovers for long time becomes a reality.

This news has been in rumor for quite sometime when they both wished to break their silence in the cassette release function of
Mounam Paesiyathey (Silence talks!!). Answering a question as to when Mani and Kamal would come together for a movie again, Mani said "Soon!" and Kamal Haasan took the mike from him and said "Very Soon!!".

Mani Ratnam is working on the script of an English movie called Dragon Fire. The novel written by Humphrey Hawksley, one of the BBC's most distinguished and experienced foreign correspondents. Kaleidoscope Entertainment and Mani Ratnam together formed a production company, Crossover Movies. This would get probably delayed because of his next venture with Kamal Haasan.

Both these news have come in the last 3 weeks and my guess is that Kamal and Ratnam would pair up for this Dragon Fire. This would probably elevate Kamal as an international actor and also take Ratnam to bigger heights. If this news is announced, it would be the biggest buzz of the year and all the eyes on would be both these gentlemen to make it to Oscars. Oscars has been Kamal's long term dream and this would probably be his best try. Much has been said about Mani Ratnam whose directorial talent is renown. I am too impressed with his story telling capabilities that I am even sure of an Oscar for him from this movie.

Courtesy: [Sify.Com, Nov 02 2002]

Will Kamal Haasan and Mani Ratnam come together once again? Nayagan was the last film they did together about 15 years back. The discussions are going on for the last six months and they are trying to work out a script. Recently at the audio launch of actor Surya�s Mounam Paesiyathey, both were on stage and told James Vasanth, the compere of the function, that they will be coming together �soon�.

But the trade is not very excited about it as they say that both are no longer hot. Kamal Hassan had a hat trick of flops, while Mani Ratnam has not only had disasters but he has slowly moved away from mainstream commercial cinema. And it is just a fact that today, if something has to work with the Tamil audience, it has to be a pucca commercial.

Still Mani and Kamal if they have to survive have to come together to create a hype which can sell their project. They should bury their ego and come out with something out of the world that will work at the Box-Office.

People make my films controversial: Ratnam. Courtesy: Times of, Oct 20 2002

NEW DELHI: He has been called South Asia's greatest storyteller of human strife, but behind his solemn golden-rimmed spectacles, director Mani Ratnam prays for peace.

"I've tried my best to tell the human story behind the blazing fires, beyond the hatred. Yes, my films have been successful, yes they've brought me fame and fortune, but no more", the salt-and-pepper haired, smiling Tamil director said.

"Violence is not a prerequisite for my cinema, I just told stories about violence because it is happening. Anyway, my films always look at violence as the backdrop of love, and I would much rather talk only of love, without the backdrop.

"I pray that there is peace and I promise to make wonderful films about peace".

From a boy with a business management degree from the Jamnalal Bajaj institute in Mumbai to perhaps Indian cinema's most poetic director, Ratnam has come a long way.

At around 50, he is a brand name, and sometimes, a controversy.

Like in 1995, when bombs were hurled at his residence after the release of his film Bombay, which retold the gory tale of communal riots that had torn apart Mumbai a couple of years before.

His mildest critics then accused him of trying to promote a kitsch communal harmony (the lead characters were a Hindu boy and Muslim girl in love), and the most vitriolic threatened to kill him for showing Hindu hardliners inciting rioters.

But Ratnam steadfastly shrugs the 'controversial' tag.

"I do not make controversial films. Some people make them controversial for their own reasons. What I just do is try to look at the problems of our society from a new perspective", said Ratnam, the son of a film distributor.

Like in Roja, the film that brought him wide acclaim and a slew of awards.

From the backwaters of south India, Ratnam transported a shy, newly married bride to the insurgency-ridden hills of Kashmir where she reluctantly, then resurgently, fights for her husband's freedom after guerrillas abduct him.

"With Kashmir increasing in world focus, there has been great renewed interest in the film", said the filmmaker who now has plans to market a subtitled version of the film across the world.

"Roja (meaning rose) was about my kind of heroine who is demure but determined".

And Mani Ratnam's kind of people are always special � from the disabled child in Anjali to the Amudha in his latest venture Kannathil Muthamittal (A peck on the cheek), which deals with the Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka.

"Sri Lanka has been happening in the backward of Tamil Nadu for decades. But I never thought of making a film on it until I found this story", said Ratnam of the film that depicts a young girl's search for her guerrilla mother fighting for a Tamil homeland in the island nation.

Poignant, witty and touching, Kannathil Muthamittal is a true Ratnam film with dollops of emotion and beautifully choreographed song and dance sequences.

"Some say you can't be serious film maker and still use songs and dance but they are our heritage as Indian film makers", said Ratnam.

"We can't be ashamed of it".

And it's not only with children that Ratnam succeeds.

Nayagan, which many consider his best ever, was about a gratuitous gangster in Mumbai, a story of crime and chivalry almost on the lines of The Godfather. Iruvar loosely dealt with two of south India's most prominent politicians.

His true forte, however, have been dealing with violence. His first Hindi film
Dil Se.. showed the simmering secessionism in the northeast of the country, and though a flop at the Box-Office, it made headlines.

Yet Ratnam shrugs violence.

"I had to tell these stories, through them I've responded as a film maker and a human being, and the same human being is repulsed by the violence".

Roja to be released for international audience: Courtesy: Times of, Sep 2002

RojaAt a time when terrorism is a world-wide concern, Mani Ratnam's ten-year old blockbuster Roja, set mostly in Kashmir, is now being released for the international audience.

The film, focusing on the power of love against the futility of terrorism, is being remastered with digital sound effects and English subtitles besides being cut short by a few minutes to suit viewers outside India.

"Westerners are open to Indian films. What is happening to Indian literature may happen to Indian films and this may be the beginning", Mani Ratnam said at a press conference here on Monday announcing the marketing of the film internationally.

On why this was being done now ten years after the film's release, he said there was "concern for Kashmir and terrorism around the world and this is the time for Roja to go around the world".

Music Director A R Rahman, who made his debut with Roja and won the National Award for it, expressed the hope that the music will reach the international audience just as did those all over India.

Though the songs have been retained for the international release, one number and a few scenes have been cut short marginally, Mani Ratnam said adding that music was an integral part of story-telling traditionally.

Roja to be released for international audience K Bharathan, of Digital Studios which is marketing Roja internationally, said the decision was motivated by a sense of security the world over.

The original Tamil version of the film, which was dubbed into five Indian languages, is being subtitled in English for the international release.

Mani Ratnam said they decided against dubbing it into English as it would bring in artificiality into the film.

The story line of Roja begins from the simple life in a small town in South India and ends in the violence hit Jammu and Kashmir revolving around the battle waged by Roja, which means Rose, to get her husband released from the clutches of militants.

Stylistically, Mani's masterpiece. Courtesy: The Hindu, Pradeep Sebastian

IF ANYONE cares to notice, Mani Ratnam's last two films have subtly changed the way we make movies. Or ought to. His innovations from Nayagan to Dil Se.. have been obvious enough in the way they have influenced Indian movies. But with Alai Payuthey and now Kannathil Muthamittal he is not looking so much at the big picture as much as the details. Scaling down the drama (from big themes to something more intimate and personal) in both movies has freed him to rework his style a bit. The result is a very stylish, beautifully crafted film with artful little details that you usually miss seeing in our movies. You hear people say Kannathil Muthamittal isn't a hit but it has just completed a 100-day run in Bangalore. (Perhaps what they actually mean is that it isn't as big a hit as Alai Payuthey). Kannathil Muthamittal isn't my favourite Mani Ratnam film either but stylistically it is his masterpiece. Its sheer craftsmanship had me in thrall, compelling me to see it several times. The overwrought, manipulative ending (not the very last scene - the freeze frame of Madhavan, Simran and Keerthana huddled under the umbrella is perfect) in an otherwise restrained film always puts me off a bit. But the rest of the film reaches a new high in Indian cinema: all through the film - scenes, song sequences, performances - there is such newness, control and inventiveness.

Ratnam sets new challenges for himself with each new film. Not in his stories, themes or dialogue (there is a pattern and predictability to them - the dialogue delivery invariably gets parodied) but in his characterisation (his characters feel so real that you think you know them), setting (the choice of Rameshwaram is sheer inspiration) and narrative style. For instance, by now, he can probably close his eyes and shoot the songs and it will still be the most rhapsodic song-sequences you can hope to see in an Indian film. But he's always pushing the envelope - never settling for what he did in the previous one, however well it worked. And he has never been more startling as he has been in Kannathil Muthamittal He reverses his own lush style for something that is austere and gentle. Very striking all right, but still austere. I'm thinking of the two versions of the Kannathil Muthamittal.. songs particularly the second version in Sri Lanka with Madhavan and Keerthana as a little Buddha before the giant sleeping Buddhas. Temples, monks, begging bowls and rivers. It achieves a kind of spiritual poetry. And the first version with Simran in blue against hot, bleached-out white sand is beautiful in a Zen-like fashion. Sundari.., the first song with the school kids, is dazzling for its energy, wit and style. A R Rahman seems to understand what Ratnam wants for each film. His background score, especially towards the end, feels intrusive but the songs lend themselves beautifully to the new style that Ratnam shoots them in. And Mani Ratnam gets fantastic ensemble performances from his actors. I mean we have all seen these actors before (with the exception of Keerthana of course) but when have they been this good? You cannot miss how good Keerthana is but why aren't more people talking about Simran? Her acting here is brilliant - perhaps the best female performance in a recent Indian movie.

Like Ray, Ratnam is gifted with directing actresses. By chance I happened to recently re-see bits of Kadhalukku Mariyadhai and noticed how mediocre Shalini is in the movie - I could scarcely believe this was the same gorgeously talented actress of Alai Payuthey. And that is when I realised how much of what she is in that film is because of Ratnam's characterisation and direction. And what about Madhavan? It is the best thing he has done - but few seem to have caught on to what he and his director have done with his character here - which was to adopt a minimalist acting style. It is Madhavan minus his cuteness and his upbeat, jolly-good, casualness. Here he is understated, quiet, coiled, unpredictable. And it's completely convincing. I believed his ironic, angry, idealistic writer character, found it endearing, and forgot it was Madhavan the actor. And he had what it took to pull it off. One of the things Ratnam has him do here is not react to people and situations or have him react minimally. Or wittily. Or even shockingly when he does not hesitate to slap his child, for instance. The result is startling: the character feels true, unusual, remarkable. (The idea for his character seems to have been Sujatha , the author and screen-writer) Adults, particularly parents, in Ratnam's movies have a real-life ambiguous quality to them - they aren't very nice people but neither are they not nice. Coming back to those artful little details, my favourite one is the child in the crib slowly morphing into a (typical) pencil sketch from Kumudham or Ananda Vikatan. It's a beauty. The story that Keerthana inspires Madhavan to write is narrated first on screen and then dissolves into Simran reading it in a magazine. From celluloid to paper, from movies to literature. It is the first time I have seen anything like this in our movies (Hollywood is full of such wonderful flourishes) and it gives the film a delightful, unexpected literary quality. Another charming literary detail is Keerthana reading from her diary and later writing in it. The film is full of such lovely narrative surprises. It is a small touch but it fills the eyes and the senses, making us grateful for a director like him.

Not a kiss on the cheek - Review of Kannathil Muthamittal at

May 2002:

Madras TalkiesMani Ratnam's newest film Kannathil Muthamittal (loosely translated, a kiss on the cheek) is anything but. The noted filmmaker has taken up the subject of adoption only to orphan it at the altar of commercial concerns. Mainstream Indian cinema has been rightly accused of trivializing and/or avoiding real issues more often than not. The only rays of silver lining all that celluloid are to be found in the visions of the men and, rarely, women who occupy the director's chair. Some of them earn a certain reputation for being more true and appreciably sensitive. Mani Ratnam is one such star whose sparkle shines through all the tinsel. Or does it? When the director chooses to approach subjects which demand a greater courage, he seems to fall short. And how.

In "Anjali" he was lauded for looking into the world of a mentally ill child. But it was a very short look - the story had her die in the end, as one activist friend put it "very conveniently" - doing away with the need to address the questions which hound parents of differently abled children, including long-term care and its attendant issues. In Dil Se.. (Uyirae in Tamil) his heroine was a suicide bomber. A gorgeous one, the very sight of whom compelled the hero to chase her to the ends of the earth (or India, in any case). In Kannathil Muthamittal too, Mani Ratnam chooses to enter the issue of terrorism but refuses to take a side on it. Why, he even goes to the extent of giving big eyes and normal dreams to those who propound it - look, he seems tell us, how human these human bombs are. Films like Gulzar's Maachis also turned terrorists into key players who sing songs in their spare time. But these directors insist they are not glamorizing misguided youth simply because they have written their deaths into the end of their scripts - as if the futility of an endeavor is enough to convey its wrongness.

Kannathil MuthamittalHis latest offering, Mani Ratnam would like us to believe, is a child's view of the world. But since the script is loyal to her voice only patchily, that vision becomes blurred early on. In the meanwhile, simply because his story considers it necessary, the issue of adoption is treated with excessive emotion and little credibility. This is what happens : Thiru, a popular and idealistic writer, early in his career, chooses to adopt a baby abandoned in a Sri Lankan refugee camp in Rameshwaram. He is single and the romance angle is woven into the story by making it look like only married couples can adopt a child (the director justifies this as the policy of that particular orphanage but the misleading impression remains). Nine years later, Amudha (for that is the name of the dearly loved girl) is told on her birthday that she is an adopted child. This pivotal scene is handled with amazing callousness - the child is taken alone to a secluded part of a beach, the mother refuses to participate saying she cannot face her and the father announces in one irritating moment of distracted child's play - "nee yenga ponnu illai" (you are not our daughter). Would any adoptive parent choose those (untrue, unless we want to rethink adoption altogether) words to make such an announcement? Besides, all the drama surrounding the revelation seemed to imply (as a foregone conclusion) that the news was terrible (why should the parents be so defensive?). The scenes of Amudha's extreme reaction, which follow, confirm exactly that. Such cinematic flourish is more than self-indulgence or creative largesse - it extracts a terrible price from the issue of adoption which is then used as a vehicle to address the director's warped take on terrorism.

The Mani Ratnam TagThe child, who is unnecessarily made out to be extra special and extra loved right from the beginning (the couple also have two boys), holds the family to ransom by behaving more like a rebellious adolescent than an innocent pre-ten. She runs away from home on two occasions and literally forces her parents to fly to a beautiful and war-torn Sri Lanka searching for the woman who abandoned her (all captured brilliantly by Ravi Chandran's camera). Here they go searching, in the middle of heart-rending strife and evacuations, for the missing mother - by now a seasoned LTTE cadre, no less. She is conveniently traced of course, and the climax centres around the meeting between a desensitized woman (who must have caused the deaths and orphaning of hundreds of other Amudhas) and her biological child - with whom she has no wish to maintain contact, much less be reunited. We leave the family there, ostensibly on their way home, with the brat who, in the course of her overwhelming urge to meet her biological mother, stops speaking (!) to the woman who has raised her and been the only mother she has known all her life. Adoption isn't a decision that can, or is, taken easily. And to all those childless couples considering it with mixed feelings, this movie becomes a metaphor for their worst fears.

That, however is only a part of the story. The other part is the media coverage of it. Eminent reviewers of even leading papers gave it uniformly splendid ratings. One even called it a superb film that is enriched with many issues - among them, war and adoption. Yes, the director's aura probably predisposes them when they sit down to watch his effort. But should something that is made well and packaged even better dazzle the critic with its superficial trappings and intellectual label? Does credibility and content count for nothing at all? The Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan even carried a cover story that had two adoption activists in a panel discussion which appeared to endorse the film - the manner of presentation was such that the lay reader would never have guessed the purported experts had not seen the movie at all at the time of the discussion (something this writer just happened to stumble upon elsewhere).

There was a great deal else wrong with the film but this isn't the place for going into it. To most people for whom adoption is a peripheral non-issue which doesn't affect their lives, what this flopped movie said was of no consequence anyway. And then, of course, I had a granny tell me at a family function - "Did you not read the Ananda Vikatan? Didn't he say there is only so much time available for telling a story through a movie and therefore he had to show it like that?" Possible evidence that we need never doubt the reach and acceptance of the printed word.

This is not a Mani Ratnam witch-hunt - I have enjoyed more than one of his films, had the privilege of interviewing the man himself and found him to be a completely decent human being. I do, however, have to wonder - does the media, sometimes, report news or create it? Profile icons or generate them? When the readership is wearying of the daily focus on riots and communalism, diseases and overpopulation, failing infrastructure and natural calamities, everybody needs a break. This is where the heroes, not just of celluloid, come in handy.

I once dragged my children halfway across the city for a beach side contemporary puppet show, organized under the aegis of a highly respected foundation promoting heritage. There are many words for the programme to which so many people came (ably aided by a willing media blitz) with such enthusiasm - it was awful, unimaginative and utterly boring. Ask any child and they would have agreed that this emperor was wearing no clothes. The following day's papers had a different story to tell - colourful pictures and copy that must have dearly tested the reporters' creative skills. Celebrity icons, NGOs, activists, beauty queens, artists, authors, cultural events, heritage movements and sundry other bleeding hearts and "isms", which include the predominant feminism and secularism, are all give a long rope by the media - not just the editors, we all need them to feel good about ourselves. Nevertheless, holy cows are sometimes just so much bull.

It was originally published at The

Ananda Vikatan (6th January 2002)

Interview Conducted by R  Kannan

Ananda Vikatan (6th January 2002)Madhavan: "When Mani Sir first described �Thiruchelvans� character, I was shocked. I couldn�t imagine Maddy playing a father of three, leave alone an intense writer, a mix of Sujatha and Vairamuthu, none the less. It�s easy to dance and sing duets, but how was I going to pull this off! My only role model was Mani Sir. I observed him closely; the way he played with kids and entertained them. I just emulated him in the film. So adding Mani Sir to the heady mix of Sujatha and Vairamuthu gave me my �Thiruchelvan�".

Simran: "When I see myself as a TV presenter who gets her family up and going in the morning, albeit with a lot of tension, I get taken aback. It�s even more challenging to stay serious, when your three kids are busy fighting, playing pranks and telling �kadi� jokes. They�re straight out of a Jackie Chan movie! ..".

Keerthana: "It was fun touring Chalakudi, Rameshwaram, Pondicherry, Ooty and so on just like a picnic. A malaria leave letter at school helped of course. There was always something happening. When Mani Sir said �Action!�, Ketan who used to bleach his hair in different colours, looking like a paintbrush, used to repeat �Action!�. He would ask why the movie camera didn�t have a flash! Suraj is a �samathu paiyyan�. But when we got together, we had lots of fun. The three of us would disappear before the shot and everyone would look for us like hide and seek"

Madhavan: "There is a popular comment about me in the industry. They say Maddy is taking people for a ride with just his smile. I can safely say that I hardly ever smile in this film!"

Madhavan: "It was very cold in Ooty. Just when we were about to go to bed, Mani sir would inform us that we have a sunrise shot in the morning, and that we should be ready by 3 am. We would joke with him that 3 am is when the sun sets on the other side. He would calmly turn around and say "Ok, make it 3:30 then!" and walk away! And that�s exactly how it would be. A few rehearsals in the biting cold, and by the time we were ready for the take, so was the sun!"

Simran: "It wasn�t like other shoots where you go and sit down and get bored when there isn�t a shot. In this film, there was never a dull moment. It was like a paid vacation. There is nothing more endearing in the world than children".

Kumudam 7th January 2002

Interview conducted by N Kathirvelan

Kumudam (7th January 2002)Keerthana: "When I performed a scene well, Mani uncle would pick me up and give me a big hug", "When shooting was completed, Mani uncle carried me on his shoulders and asked me who the heroine of Kannathil Muthamittal was. I said Simran aunty. He nodded his head and told me to guess again. Mani uncle always has a question as soon as you give him an answer!, when I finished dubbing, Mani uncle asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted to join him as an assistant director. He said OK!"

Nayagan - A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam

Nayagan"Are you a good man or a bad man?". So asks the grandson to his grandfather Velu Naicker, close to the end of this extraordinary movie from Mani Ratnam. "I don't know", replies Velu Naicker even as he is being led by the police to court to stand trial for his crimes. The answer seems strange, especially in the light of the thousands of people standing outside the court, hoping and praying for his release and well-being. But it is fully understandable.

Nayagan begins with a young Velu running away to Bombay after killing a police officer who betrayed him. He is taken in by a Tamil boy (in a terrific scene, the boy, who wants to know why Velu ran away, suggests the typical scenarios for a boy to run away like stealing or failing his exams until Velu replies that he killed someone) whose father is a smuggler. As a young man, his intrusion into his father's job gets his father killed. He searches out the policeman responsible and bludgeons him to death. But the people living there see him as their savior and protect his identity. So begins his rise as a leader to the people in Dharavi. He marries a young prostitute Neela (Saranya) and becomes the father of two children. But he loses his wife to the guns of a rival mafia gang. Wishing to protect his children from the life of crime he has been leading, he sends them away. But he continues doing good to his people. Inspite of his best efforts, he is unable to keep his son away from his business and this leads to disastrous consequences. He alienates his daughter too and she marries a police officer to repent for the sins of her father. This police officer ultimately becomes responsible for bringing Velu Naicker to justice.

With is larger-than-life yet human portrayal of a mafia don, Mani Ratnam's picture is an example of film-making at its finest. The obvious similarities to Godfather in no way reduce its luster. Velu Naicker is presented not as a legend but as a man, with all his flaws and triumphs. From production design to human drama to sharply-etched performances, Nayagan has it all. There is not a single scene here that does not work at some level. From the very first scene to the last, the viewer's attentions is riveted to the screen and only when the final credits roll is he finally distracted to deliver a well-deserved applause.

The movie is successful in making us laugh as easily as it moves us to tears. It is impossible not to smile when Velu Naicker's son imitates his father in their courtyard. He offers his solutions to his friend's problems (he orders a 'hit' a teacher who beat one of them!) and then bumps into his father who has moved into the end of the line. Quickly recovering his senses, he asks his father what he wants. On the other hand, there are scenes, like when an old woman gives up her own life to save Naicker from the police, which melt our hearts. The scene where Naicker gives in to his son's desire to follow in his father's footsteps is an example of high-class filmmaking. Kamal calls his son "Naicker" for the first time and offers him betel leaves from his own box, which Ravi quickly tucks into his mouth after turning away from his father.

Kamal Hassan delivers the performance of a long and impressive career as Velu Naicker (he won his second national award for best actor for the role). For two and a half hours, he is Velu Naicker himself and looks at home in all the different stages of his life captured here. Be it threatening a doctor to treat a poor boy or crying with a high-pitched shriek on seeing the body of his son, Kamal is outstanding. He ages convincingly, altering his whole posture and walk at each stage. There is not a wrong step in any of the other performances either. Janakaraj stands him in good stead throughout, shining in the scene where he is caught between Kamal and his daughter, who detests the violence. Saranya, in her first film, earns our sympathy as the school-going girl thrown into the life of prostitution. Pradeep Shakti is memorable as the rogue police officer. Smaller characters like ARS (a police officer who is forced to come to Velu Naicker for justice) and 'Nizhalgal' Ravi (Velu Naicker's son) are powerful too.

Mani Ratnam assembles a top-notch team to assist him. Ilayaraaja, for his 400th film, delivers a superb soundtrack and a powerful background score (listen to the score in the scene where Kamal and his group rampage a man's house and when the telugu mafia dons stare threateningly at Kamal when he challenges them). Thenpaandi Seemaiyile... is particularly soothing while Nilaa Adhu... is a dappanguthu dancer's delight. Photography is spectacular with its innovative use of lighting in many places (a feature of most Mani Ratnam movies). The way the camera weaves amidst the houses as Kamal follows the police officer leaves us amazed. There are some effective set pieces like the muddy area where Kamal kills the police officer, with water spurting out from a broken pipe.

Alai Payuthey (The Waves are restless) - A movie review by A Film Review by James Berardinelli

Alai PayutheyThe story centres round a young couple, Shakti and Karthik. He is a computer engineer and she a medical student. After a few encounters in a suburban train the duo fall in love. Her father not being enthusiastic about the whole thing, the couple enter into a secret marriage. An alliance comes for the girl's elder sister (Swarnamalya) and the girl 's family wants their younger son to marry the younger sister. And then Shakti comes out with the truth, about her secret marriage to Karthik. The sister's alliance breaks off and Shakti's father throws her out of the house. Shakti and Karthik move into a makeshift home. And then the tiffs start. Karthik's professional life looks up when a foreign firm ties up with him. He manages to bring in a reconciliation between Shakti's elder sister and her intended bridegroom. But meanwhile the couple have a tiff and Shakti, hurt by his harsh words, leaves home in a huff for college. She does learn of his good act, and rushes home to thank him, forgetting their earlier exchange of harsh words. But a passing car hits her and she is taken to hospital, and is in coma. Karthik waits for her at the suburban station but she never turns up. And when he finally finds her, she is fighting for her life. A simple story line, but sensitively told. 

The small nuances and touches that Mani Ratnam gives to his screenplay reminds one of his earlier films Geetanjali and Mouna Ragam. When his canvas was not so large, and when all the technical gloss added had not yet overpowered the narration and content, the filmmaker was more of a fascinating storyteller keeping his audience spell bound. Rather than a clever magician with his gimmicks that the audience saw through at times! The flaws are here too. Mainly the scenes at the hospital - where the IAS officer (Aravind Swamy) owns up to the accident that his wife (Kushbhu) had committed. And where he retorts to a lie, albeit to see that the doctors attend on Shakti promptly. He claims to be her husband and puts in his signature for an operation, when his influential position itself would have taken care of the matter. The flaws are there, but pardonable ones.

The dialogues are in the clipped Mani Ratnam fashion. Some slick editing (Sreekar Prasad) and catchy numbers from Rahman are some of the highlights of the film. But what was a sizzler like September Madham doing in a film of this genre? P C Sreeram's camerawork is exemplary. His camera is extremely mobile, rarely static, bringing in realism to the ambience of a middle class family and setting. At times, the softly-lit screen gives a 'dreamy' look to the frames. The song sequences are a delight to watch. Shalini has never looked so good nor performed with so much sensitivity before. Madhavan has the youthful zest and spontaneity required for the role. Aravind Swamy and Kushbhu play the understanding couple. Poor Vivek, used to talking dime a dozen, is made to shut up here. The character is shy, stutters, so there is nothing much he can do about it. Swarnamalya the chubby, vivacious compere/actress of the small screen, plays the role of a simple, shy, traditional girl here. Mani Ratnam has this habit of giving his artistes a look quite in contrast to their image. Remember Heera in Thiruda Thiruda and the glamorous Madhubala in Roja? With Alai Payuthey Mani Ratnam seems to have come a full circle. It's an eminently watchable film!

Five Star - directed by Susi Ganesan, A Mani Ratnam Production

Five StarMani Ratnam�s new production venture titled Five Star, has one of his assistants of eight years apprenticeship with him Susi Ganesan wielding the megaphone. Susi Ganesan's earlier film Virumbukirean, the Prashanth - Sneha starrer had been completed more than a year back, but due to some problem its release has been held up. Five Star slated for a September release, is produced by Mani Ratnam & G Srinivasan for Madras Talkies.

The director has completed the shooting schedule in about 48 days. Post production work is on for the film which boasts of new faces in its star cast. The story with a college campus backdrop has Prasanna, an engineering student, Karthik, the son of a Tirupur businessman, Krishna, an earlier assistant to director Rajiv Menon, Kanika, an engineering student from BITS Pilani and a former Ms Chennai, Sandhya, a model and also a former Ms. Chennai, and Mangaikarasi, a dancer based in Sweden. Both Prasanna and Karthik were chosen after a talent hunt was organised by the producers, jointly with Vijay TV.

Cranking the camera is Ravi Varman, a first-timer to the Tamil screen, but who has done some films for Malayalam directors like Shaji Kailas and Jairaj. Incidentally he�s the first cinematographer, from India, to get the best cinematographer award at an international film festival. The sets are designed by Thotta Tharani, and editing is by Sreekar Prasad. 

One is sure to have heard of Anuradha Sriram as a singer. But here she appears in her new avatar as a music composer jointly with her husband Sriram, a violinist and a classical singer himself. The duo compose songs under the name of Parasuram-Radha. Shubha Mudgal, famed singer from the North, sings for her first Tamil film. Says the director on his choice of the music director duo - "Mani Ratnam gave me CDs of songs composed by some aspiring music directors. I liked the ones scored by the duo, for their freshness and the unique blend of western and classical".

The film had a 10-day shooting schedule at the MIT College where Susi Ganesan had studied, followed by a 15-day schedule in Switzerland where some scenes and two songs were shot. The story has the engineering college as the backdrop. It centers round five main characters. "I wanted the focus to be on all five of my characters. Hence the name �Five Star� says the director.

An Article by Naman Ramachandran (The writer is a UK based South Asian cinema specialist)

Heroes worshipped as gods. Fans immolating themselves on the death of a superstar. Stars becoming undisputed political leaders of their states. Welcome to the bizarre, creative and ever interesting world of commercial cinema from the South India. Catering to the largely non-Hindi speaking population of South India, northern Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore, the Madras (Chennai) based Tamil language film industry indubitably leads the way when it comes to commercial cinema. The song and dance epics for which Bollywood is justly famous are done bigger and better in Madras. And unlike the vast majority of their Bombay (Mumbai) counterparts, these films have an engaging, often plausible, storyline and highly competent technicians. Not only are projects are turned around in a third of the time it takes a Hindi film they are also frequently remade in Hindi. In fact, the various industries feed off each other with say a plot-driven Malayalam language film from Kerala remade as a slick Tamil film, an equally slick Telugu language film in Andhra Pradesh and finally as a substandard one by poor cousin Karnataka in the Kannada language. 

The leading filmmaker in South India is without a doubt Mani Ratnam. After a quiet debut, Ratnam broke through with Mouna Ragam (1986). Brilliantly lit by ace cinematographer and frequent collaborator P C Sreeram, the film is a sensitive study of the break up and subsequent reaffirmation of a marriage. Adding to the resonating performances of Mohan, Revathy and Karthik was the mellifluous music by Ilayaraaja. Ratnam's subsequent films - the 'Godfather' themed Nayagan and the sibling rivalry tale Agni Nakshatiram - became huge critical and commercial successes and firmly established him as a commercial film maker with art house sensibilities. The year 1989 saw Ratnam make his first (and to date only) film in the Telugu language. The film Geetanjali ('Idayathey Thirudathey' in the dubbed Tamil version) was a tender love story between two people who don't have long to live. Starring Telugu superstar Nagarjuna and newcomer Girija, the film became a must see for every college going person in South India. The serene beauty of the Ooty locales, masterfully shot by P C Sreeram again, added to the appeal of the film. 

Anjali (1990) was a complete change of tack for Ratnam. The story of a young, mentally handicapped child cared for by her two siblings saw him working for the first time with a large cast of children. The film was shot almost entirely on a gigantic apartment set created by Thota Tharani and a couple of the songs owed more than a passing nod to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Roja, a sensitive look at the Kashmir issue, followed and became Ratnam's all-India breakthrough film and saw the debut of music director A R  Rahman. Hitherto a household name only in the south, he now became a nationally and internationally known director. Not one to rest on his laurels, he followed it up with the ill-received caper comedy Thiruda Thiruda

And then came perhaps Mani Ratnam's best-known film Bombay (1995). The love story between a Hindu Brahmin boy and a Muslim girl set against the backdrop of the sectarian violence in Bombay in 1993 quickly ran into controversy. Both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist leaders found portions of it objectionable. The film was in the public and media eye for a long time due to the controversy. Made in Tamil, it was dubbed into Hindi and became a massive Box-Office success. A R  Rahman's music saw him becoming a household name all over India as well. 

The politically themed Iruvar and Dil Se.. followed but did not achieve anything near the ecstatic response accorded to Bombay.
Dil Se.. was notable for being Ratnam's first Hindi film and for Rahman's chartbusting music. Alai Payuthey (2000) saw Ratnam tackling the issue of marriage again. This time around he deals with the relationship difficulties of a newly married young couple. Not one to stay away from politics for too long Ratnam's latest film Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) is the story of a child set against the backdrop of ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. 

Whatever the themes of his films are Mani Ratnam is best at exploring the nuances of human relationships, delicately. Unlike the garish excesses of most South Indian cinema, Ratnam's films are studies in subtlety. And since he works only with the best cinematographers, editors, musicians and choreographers in the business, his films look, sound and feel marvellous. What more can one ask for?

Related Links to Mani Ratnam on the web:

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The Mani Ratnam Group at MSN

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