A day to go for the release of Raavan and excitement is mounting up among the masses to check on what they have in store from a true gem named Mani Ratnam.He’s directed and produced some of the most path breaking films of the decade in more than 4 languages including his mother tongue Tamil,Hindi,Telugu and Kannada.In his foray as a filmmaker,he’s never chosen a complicated story.In fact,the story line of his movies are quite simple and straightforward.The presentation is the factor that sets him a class apart.He takes great efforts to see the intensity doesn’t drop down in his movies.The characters have a lot of depth beyond the cinema hall.Not that his films lack commercial elements .His movies impress one and all with their slick treatment and a technique that has great panache and style.So on this occasion lets glance through some of the best works of this genius over the years.Here we begin…
The film made little fuss about its release but was in the headlines as it marked the debut of Aishwarya Rai.The director had to do a lot to convince Mohan Lal to do a non Malayalam film.But everything fell in place and Prakash Raj accompanied the former through this film.Unfortunately,the film couldn’t earn well enough at the ticket window though it deserved very much.Modelled on ace Tamil super star MG Ramachandran’s life it traverses the path through which he got into films and ultimately politics.Prakashraj plays a semi supporting-villainous role of a poet with his story based on Karunanidhi’s life.Mohanlal in the movie,is a huge star who enjoys huge mass popularity.Prakash Raj meanwhile is a friend of Mohan Lal since his early days into cinema suggests him to use his image to enter into politics.There starts an ugly game of politics and the difficulties Mohan Lal undergoes in his career.Aishwarya playing a double role fits in comfortably in a somewhat brief role.Her part in the second half suggested similarities with the relationship Jayalalitha shared with MGR.Partly fictional,partly factual the movie is a treatise on power,money,popularity,fame,lust and almost human emotion.A.R.Rahman’s music provides the perfect impetus to a story that penetrates into you.His background music speaks volumes on how he grew and still grows Mani Ratnam himself considers this movie as his best work till date.I’ve watched many politics centric movies but none have created an impact such as this.Its a must watch to know how powerful can a character get more than you see.Feel it!
Similar to Iruvar,the film didn’t make enough bucks to satisfy the producers but went on to become a cult classic.This film marked the entry of Mani into Hindi films though his works Roja and Bombay were previously dubbed and did quite well.So there was no one questioning his credentials.This time around,taking a break from intense dramas he chose a simple love story that had deeper meaning than it suggested.The cast too was probably the best at times with Shah Rukh Khan,Manisha Koirala,Arundati Nag.This film too had the grand launch of another bubbly actress Preity Zinta.The characters were straight and had clear intentions.Shahrukh a radio jockey,Manisha Koirala a terrorist.Love creates a bond of immense passion,love between them.This one goes straight into the topic on how people resort to the ghastly activities of terrorism and the mindset behind it.No,this one does not fantasize it but states a clear message.Love too crushes apart as a prey.The film has a tragic end quite contrary to the commercial films of that genre.Probably this is why this film has stood stall thus ensuring it a timeless quality.Mani Ratnam in his movie makes sure that the viewer gets enough of the local lingo making it look all the more natural.He sinks us in the world that we would refuse to move out from.He always has good eye for casting and having the right people at his disposal.This comes to fact yet again with this one.Music of Dil Se has stood the test of time and the classy “Chaiyya Chaiyya”,the passionate “Satrangi re”,the effervescent “Jiya Jale” will fascinate any music lover.Its one of the best tales narrated where a woman is caught between the devil and the sea and can do nothing about it.Other filmmakers should take a leaf out of his book and go into making good cinema rather than falling into the trap of the run of the mill commercial formulaic movies.
After meeting with considerable success in his works in both languages,this time the tide turned towards a bilingual.Back at what he does best,he chose the plot of youth entering politics for the betterment of society.Though it was a commercial failure in both the languages,the Hindi version impressed me a lot comparatively.Mani narrated three parallel stories and established connections between their lives.The first is Junior AB who’s a boisterous goon in the city,an utterly passionate and a rough personality.He pulled of the role with such élan and went on to give solo hits like Bunty Aur Babli,Guru,Paa,etc.Rani Mukherjee plays his wife who had to bear the mood swings of her husband very often.Her performance had class written all over it..The second story is of Ajay Devgan who’s much against the corrupt politicians and desires some freshness regarding the same.Though a bit stale at expressions and gestures,Ajay fitted into the role with real comfort.His love life centered on Esha Deol,who was utmost sincere in delivering her part.The lighter side of the three stories was that of Vivek Oberoi who cashes in his opportunity perfectly to portray a role with various emotions.Kareena too doesn’t disappoint and the chemistry between them does evoke some of the best moments in the movie.The story could have been really be destroyed of quality had it not been presented well.But Mani Ratnam doesn’t fail,his presentation and screenplay are his biggest facets and he uses it to his best.Rahman’s music added the right composure and enhances the mood of the situation well.
Though people may have various apprehensions regarding my choice of movies,it’s difficult to satisfy everyone.I equally like his other works like Guru,Nayagan and others.But these flicks have swept like none other.Hope Raavan too makes into this list when I write about this fabulous phenomenon sometime later.Off to the theatres guys now!Will review the “Dus Sar Waale”!!