The long wait to see a Mani Ratnam movie is over. His O Kadhal Kanmani or OK Kanmani opened to unanimous positive reports from the youth, critics, multiplexes and family audiences who are extremely delighted as the ‘King of romance’ is back. But should we really confine, the legendary Mani Ratnam within a small circle called romance? Come on guys, accept the fact… he is much more than just that.
We really loved watching and reading all the recent interviews of Mani Ratnam as he was busy promoting OK Kanmani. Every single interview had this question… “Mani sir you are the ‘King of Romance’”.... We could sense the mixed reaction on his face as Mani shot back with a smile: "I've tried different genres, but you people prefer to call me like that"
We would profoundly declare, Mani as ‘King of Biopic’ and no other film-maker in the country can make good bio-pic’s than Mani Ratnam. Ah, you want some examples right? Take it! Nayagan (Varadaraja Mudaliar), Guru (Dhirubhai Ambani) , Iruvar (MGR –Karunanidhi friendship turning sour), of course all these films begin with a disclaimer ‘ “All characters and events depicted in this film are entirely fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental” otherwise the great Indian democracy and censor would have banned these epic films (sad state of affairs!)
Similarly, Mani is the king of mythological adaptation. Perplexed? Roja, Thalapathi and Raavanan are examples All these films are the inspired from mythological works like Satyavan-Savithri, Mahabarat and Ramayana. Who other than Mani Ratnam effectively conveyed the terrorism and its ill impacts via films like Roja, Bombay and Dil Se.
There is an extra-ordinary commercial director hidden inside Mani Ratnam. We loved his Agni Natchathiram, Thiruda Thiruda right? We see Kadal as another commercial attempt made by Mani Ratnam for some reasons he couldn't pull it off and the great thing about Mani is that he accepted his failure, how many directors have guts to accept their failure in media interactions?
No other director other than Mani Ratnam could effective register the political conflicts in the country. His Kannathil Muthamittal is one of the best works which portrayed the state of Tamil people in Sri Lanka, good thing about Mani is that he never blamed Sri Lankan government or LTTE in the film but as a creator he merely registered the pain of those people from which we audience should conclude what is right and what is wrong.
Iruvar and Aayutha Ezhuthu would also come under the political genre, where the latter also had an underlying biopic of George Reddy who is a research student from Osmania University and based on him, Mani sketched the character of Michael Vasanth (Suriya).
After reading all these facts, do you people really want to confine Mani as mere ‘King of Romance’? At least he won’t settle himself with the romantic stories alone.
The ambitious Mani Ratnam would definitely try and explore different genres but when we, Tamil audiences let him down with his experimental attempts, he has no other option but to make a safe-bet romantic film. We know, things were not extra-ordinary in Kadal or Raavanan but compared to the mediocre cinema we have been subjected to lately, both deserved at least average collections at the box office.
We are not really complaining, as a matter of fact fans of Mani Ratnam love his romantic movies as much as other genres he makes because he makes these films with great sincerity and painstaking effort.
By Rajasekar S