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On the Eve of Reaching 10000 MS Points
Sep 14, 2004 01:25 PM 5513 Views
(Updated Sep 14, 2004 01:32 PM)

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I am celebrating this day because I reach 10000 MS points by submitting this review and on this eve I like to write about my favorite Director Maniratnam.


Maniratnam needs no introduction. He is one of the finest directors in Indian cinema. I got matured and started to understand the real cinema and admired the creativity and brilliance of the people behind the screen only after watching his movies especially the movie ?Mouna Ragam? which is the first movie I watched from his direction. It still remains as my all time favorite. Here I don?t want to give any personal details about him, as many of them would know about him. Let me analyze his movie making style and no gossips about his personal life.


Importance to Kids in Maniratnam Movies


Maniratnam has always used a child character in his movies whatever the subject may be.


He is one in India to extract best and natural performance from kids in his movies. When asked about this in an interview he replied, ?Kids are innocent and very spontaneous and they have got extreme absorbing power, it is very easy to extract work from a kid but the only thing is you have to select the right kid for the character?.


Anjali and Kannathil Muthamittal ? in both these films the protagonist is a kid. Shamili as anjali in ?Anjali? and Keerthana as Amutha in ?Kannathil Muthamittal ( Peck on the cheek)? gave a brilliant performance and both of them got National award as best child artist. Tarun and another girl as brother and sister of Anjali in the film ?Anjali? also came up with good performance and got national award. Can anyone forget the dialogue ?Enthiri anjali enthiri? delivered many times by the girl after the death of Anjali. The unforgettable Kamal Bashir and Kabhir Narayanan, the twins in Bombay and entire second half revolve around them. Yet another noteworthy performance from the two kids.


Apart from these, he has deliberately inserted kids as brother/son, sister/daughter of main characters in almost all movies. These inclusions and the conversations of these kids in the movie make it more lively, natural and believable. Bhanupriya?s daughter in Thalapathi, Revathi?s sister in Mouna ragam, Madhubala?s village girl friend in Roja, Madhavan?s brother?s daughter in Alaipayuthey and though not a kid a teenage brother of Siddarth in Ayutha Ezuthu (Brother character of Vivek oberoi in Yuva), Sister character of the heroine in Gitanjali / Idhayathai Thirudathey are the other kid characters.


Path between Commercial Cinema and Art cinema


If you look into the premise of most of his movies, it looks like can be made only as an art movie or a documentary but Maniratnam has found the right formula to make such sensitive and strong subjects commercially acceptable. His screenplay dilutes the subject to make it understandable to a layman without compromising it artistic appeal and also sensitivity of the subject. Though many moviemakers are doing well in this new path these days he is the one who started it. The scripts of Roja, Bombay, Anjali, Nayagan, Kannathil Muthamittal are very sensitive and heavy but yet he added all elements to entertain and also gives some food for thought in the movie. That is why all these movies are internationally acclaimed and also well received by local audience for whom it is made.


Versatile themes


Though predominantly one may say that Maniratnam always makes movies with Love caught in Terrorism as the theme. He has tried various themes. Each movie is different from one another. Anjali dealt with sufferings of a parent having a mentally retarded kid which is counting its final days. Thiruda Thiruda is an adventurous action movie about two theives. Roja is based on story of Sathyavan, Savithiri that is about how a wife struggles to save her husband from death with terrorism as a background. Bombay is about riots between Hindus and Muslims. Iruvar is docu drama and a true portrayal of real life of two friends cum ex-chief ministers of tamilnadu Karunanidhi and M.G.Ramachandran.


Mouna Ragam is about how a newly married couple applied for divorce falls into love on each other in one year before getting divorce. Alaipayuthey is a joyful, romantic and realistic portrayal of Next Gen lovers and their love and problems they face after marriage. Kannathil Muthamittal is about a nine-year old girl?s search for her biological mother who has turned a terrorist in Srilanka. Ayutha Ezuthu is about politics; he insists the educated youth should enter politics. Idhayathai Thirudathey is about two cancer patients falling in love and its consequences.


Thalapathi is modern mahabharatha, it portrays stylishly the friendship between Karna and Dhuriyodhana and also the mother-son relationship of kunthidevi and Karna. Dil Se / Uyirae is about suicide bomber falling in love and caught in a dilemma between love and love (for mother land). Agni Nakshatram is a courtroom drama about clashes between two youngsters who have father in common but different mother. ?Nayagan? is the jouney in the life of a Bombay dada called ?Velu Nayakkar? based on a real story. How diversifying isn?t it?


Technical perfection and brilliance


Maniratnam has never gone to any foreign locales to shoot his songs and never used graphics unnecessarily. His technical crew is meant to support his screenplay and nothing more. But yet you can see some technical brilliance and perfection in his movies. Maniratnam always had a great technical crew for his movies. The way he composes the shot is always very different. All his movies had Breath-taking visuals supported by popular cinematographers like P.C.Sriram, Rajiv Menon, Balumahendra, Santosh Sivan and Ravi K.Chandran. Realistic Audiography supported by A.S.Lakshminarayanan in all his movies. Authentic set in the background supported by famous art directors like Sabu Cyril and Thotta Tharani. His movies bagged many national awards in technical categories.


Songs and BG score in Maniratnam movies


Maniratnam has great music sense and he concentrates more on Background music too. Illayaraja was a great BG composer himself and when such a director joins with him, you get nothing less than a masterpiece. Illayaraja?s background score for mani?s movies like Nayagan, Mouna ragam are still ringing in all cell phones in tamilnadu.


He is the one who brought A.R.Rahman to Indian film music (Thanks to the clash with Illayaraja). A.R.Rahman would have become a music director even without Maniratnam but such a terrific start would have been impossible. We know even know Maniratnam extracts the best from A.R.Rahman, which ARR himself accepts.


The choice of Title


He chooses very title for his movies. The very poetic ones are ?Kannthil Muthamittal (Peck on the Cheek)?, ?Mouna Ragam (Silent Symphony)? and ?Pagal Nilavu (Moon in Daytime)?. Conceptual with in depth meaning in title are ?Ayutha Ezuthu? and ?Agni Nakshthram?. Romantic title ?Alaipayuthey?, ?Uyirae / Dilse?. Obvious apt titles ?Iruvar?, ?Roja?, ?Anjali? and ?Bombay?. He has never used English title for his movies and that is one quality I like in him.


Quite a lot to analyze but the space is less. Let me analyse more if in my reply to your comments on this review (if I get any).


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