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Why is Mani Ratnam Phenomenal? – Unique elements of his Films

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Movies, as I have believed have the potential to influence people and turn their thinking upside down. Mani Ratnam films, on the other hand, are ephemeral at their best in their appeal. People usually go to cinemas in order to get entertained/relaxed but now they are just going to in order to get high or get a glimpse of their favorite heroes. Out of all the filmmakers, there is only one name that has been making people go to the theatres whenever he has made a film, and that is Mr. Mani Ratnam. While he is not the first person in this regard, but he’s the one who has been doing it for a longer time. Since his first film released in 1983, to Chekka Chivantha Vaanam in 2018, he has been pleasing people. Mani Ratnam has acquired a new fan base who especially wait for his movies, since the time of Mouna Ragam, Iruvar, and Nayagan.

Mani Ratnam has a unique sense of film making especially when it comes to drama, love stories and romance. While some of the movies in the recent times turned out to be a bit disappointing, but all of his films introduce us to new shades of characters who have lived widely different love stories. There is an X factor in all of his movies which set him from his counterparts and which is keeping him in the race of Best Film makers even after decades.

The Title:

The first element of the film itself is a brilliance in his movie. Mani Ratnam treats every film of his as his brainchild and this is why every title really matters to him. Title basically gives the first impression to the audience and has the power of conveying the theme of the film to them. An idle title will give the completeness to the film and when looked back, it should reflect the entire story as well. All the Mani Ratnam movie titles are capable of doing it. They range from simple names like Sakhi to poetic Phrases like Kannathil Muthamittal to strong titles like Kadal.

The Character Definitions:

Working for Mani Ratnam has been a dream to many of the leading actors. Even if you ask the new age Indian actors like Vicky Kaushal they only have one thing to say. Mani Ratnam. Ever considered why? Apart from the fame, the tag and the acclaim they would get, Mani Ratnam is capable of giving a differently shaped character which is challenging. If any actor performs a Mani Ratnam character, people would consider him able and feasible. He reflects actors in refined forms that were not thought before. Noone mighthave imagined Rajini Kanth as Surya in Thalapathi neither they would imagine Madhavan playing Inba in AE. The list can go longer than I can write.

The Leading Ladies:

All the leading ladies in Mani Ratnam movies are empowering and much needed. They are shown to live out of the box, they defy the social norms and they outstand. Rather than just being the love interests with glamorous outlooks, all of his characters are near to life. A Mani Ratnam woman is known for her individuality, her courage and will easily be recognized by her emotions rather than just by her looks.  We remember Raagini for her courage and will, Shakti for her bottled up emotions and boldness, Roja for her helplessness and valiance, Taara for her ambitious nature and modernity.

The Dialogues:

The key element behind his writing is brevity. All the dialogues in Mani Ratnam films are to the point. They are not poetic neither are they overly written. If there is one thing that he has taught us through his dialogues, it is to keep the conversations real as if they are happening. If is a necessity for Tamizhselvan and Anandan to be a little descriptive while acting out their occupations as writer and actor, but it is different with other characters. Noted?

Music and Lyrics:

Ilayaraja has given some unforgettable background scores to Mani Ratnam starting from Mouna Ragam. Can you imagine Thalapathy without Kaatukuvilu, Mouna Ragam without Mandram Vandha Thedraluku, Anjali without Anjali Anjali, Nayagan without Neeyoru Kaadhal or Geetanjali without O Priya? No right? It is because of Ilayaraja. After Raja, AR Rahman has made his debut with Roja and ever since there is no turning back. As people say, they are busy in creating history.


Mani Ratnam films are visual treats to audience as you will remember a lot of frames atleast one each frm one film. He is specific with the cameramen and he explains how he loves the shots, because they are just wider extensions of his thoughts, ideas and philosophies. PC Sreeram, Ravi Varman and Santosh Shivan are his choices and they have never gone wrong.

The Emotions:

Last but not the least. His movies are full of emotions. What is story telling without emotions? Mani Ratnam films are known for being filled with a wide range of emotions. All of the characters will have both white and black shades which is why they feel very close to reality. This is one of the reasons why the characters are also felt as one among the masses and not just any other celluloids. The little details that he adds, the bus episodes, the speedy trains, the mirror shots and everything else are projections of his taste.

There’s a reason why he’s brilliant and we can’t just deny it.

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