Conversations with Mani Ratnam. Baradwaj Rangan. This book, unique to Indian cinema, illuminates the genius of the man behind these and eighteen other masterly films. For the first time ever, Mani Ratnam opens up here, to Baradwaj Rangan, about his art, as well as his life before films. In these freewheeling conversations—candid, witty, pensive, and sometimes combative—many aspects of his films are explored.
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It can only be called serendipity. A journalist wants to write a book on Mani Ratnam. The filmmaker is famously reticent. So the critic decides to do a book on his films - "a mass of analysis and deconstruction" - for want of a better option. Imagine the delight of the writer then, when the subject of his book says, "You like cinema, I like cinema. Let's talk and see what happens. Rangan admits several times in his introduction, to idolising Mani Ratnam.
Many in the country do, in Tamil Nadu, more so. His very first film, Pallavi Anupallavi was in Kannada, starred surprise! Anil Kapoor as a young man attracted to an older woman Lakshmi , fuelled in young filmgoers of conservative Madras now Chennai , the thrill of being exposed to something forbidden. By the time Nayakan was out in , he was a star director. The rest of the country discovered the early Mani Ratnam films like Thalapathy Dalapaty in dubbed versions, some like Nayakan and Agni Natchathiram as not very good remakes - Dayavan and Vansh.
But Roja was probably the first dubbed film that broke the regional barrier and became a hit. After this, Mani Ratnam belonged not just to Madras, but to the rest of the country. Some feel Ratnam's films work best in Tamil, because he knows his audience. His Hindi films some made as bilinguals, including his last Raavan just never touched the audience in the 'North'. The interviews touch on his experience of growing up in a film family, his influences and then settle down to a fireside chat about his films.
Rangan hits on a tone between fan and critic and gets Mani Ratnam to reminisce about the making of all of them. He gently provokes the director, but is never abrasive.
The director, in turn, is honest, modest and precise. He is able to explain with remarkable accuracy, what he did in his films and why. He answers every question about actors, songs, shots, and in the process, gives an insight into how a "mainstream auteur" thinks and works.
Ratnam is probably one of the few directors in the country about whom such a book could be written, because there is so much to talk about. Though Ratnam jokes about books being written and lifetime achievements awards being conferred on those past their sell-by date, Rangan has caught him in his prime.
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Review: Conversations with Mani Ratnam
It can only be called serendipity. A journalist wants to write a book on Mani Ratnam. The filmmaker is famously reticent. So the critic decides to do a book on his films - "a mass of analysis and deconstruction" - for want of a better option. Imagine the delight of the writer then, when the subject of his book says, "You like cinema, I like cinema.
Excerpt: Conversations With Mani Ratnam
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Conversations with Mani Ratnam
In the end, for instance, the character does not die like Karna in the epic. In my mind, I kept telling myself that Mullum Malarum was the benchmark in terms of his performance. It is mainstream Tamil cinema, not parallel cinema. But it was very realistic, and performed very, very realistically.
ISBN 13: 9780670085200
A sumptuous treat for serious lovers of cinema as well as the casual moviegoer! This wonderful book is a tribute to his genius. Personalized foreword by a. The author is a national award winning film critic.