Mani Ratnam is an Indian filmmaker deeply rooted to mainstream Indian cinema. His all films have garnered commercial success. This great filmmaker successfully combined features of both art and commercial cinema, an early example of this was ‘
Roja’( a love story that gets lost in country’s terrorism issues), which was both a commercial and critical success. It paved the way for a new wave in Indian cinema too. Man Ratnam became thus one of India’s most successful filmmakers, who also reflected the changing middle-class-ethos (Alaipayuthey). He also built plots on revenge attitude in Thalapathi movie or even matched a suitable tale of a gangster lord in the slums of Bombay( Nayakan). Though he got noticed from ‘
Mouna Ragam’ (a smooth and tender love story), but it was with ‘
Anjali’ that Mani Ratnam found his voice. ‘Anjali’ dealt with the story of a dying mentally disabled child and won the film many national awards. It was an entry in Oscar. Thus, critics felt that Mani Ratnam has arrived.
Afterward, he dealt another serious issue in ‘Bombay’ which dealt with a sensitive subject like Bombay riots after Babri Masjid demolition. Through this film, Mani reflected the changing middle-class ethos and carved a middle path between the extravagance of mainstream cinema and the stark realism of art cinema. He actually wanted to integrate art and commercial cinema through his story, plot, camera techniques, screenplay, and direction. His films like Roja, Bombay, Anjali, Nayakan, Thalapathi did gain him international fame too. He was soon considered to be one of the most prolific filmmakers in South East Asia. His films also carried the rising costs involved in film production and the commercialization of the films (Thalapathi, Nayakan,
Dil Se) that put a positive impact on box office. The fact was that the investment returns were guaranteed in every film that he made despite the fact even the piracy factor could not bring any fatal threat to any of his films. Mani Ratnam was a business management graduate that no way could make his career in filmmaking. But his hidden talents had to get exposed, and he did reign an imperious presence in the celluloid. Though critics rate ‘Nayakan’ as his best, many felt ‘Thalapathi’ had a unique subject as it dealt with colors of justice. During his early days in his career, he formed a team with B. Lenin (editor), Thotta Tharani (production designer) and Ilaiyaraaja (music composer) and made few movies. He continued with Ilaiyaraaja till Nayagan. Later, the rapport of Mani Ratnam, PC Sreeram and A R Rahman and
Thota Tharani stood out in making many fantastic films which were a milestone in Indian cinema. Whether it is the screenplay, art direction, editing, dialogues, music, background score, technical collaborations, Mani strengthened every aspect in his filmmaking. His Hindi films like Yuva, Raavan and Guru too dealt with social issues and had
Abhishek Bachchan in a lead role.
Mani Ratnam handled screenplay for a majority of his films he also collaborated with cinematographers like
Rajiv Menon, Sreeram,
Santosh Sivan and Ravi K Chandran. The editor for all his films till date is
Sreekar Prasad. The director was honored with Padma Shri in 2002. Two films ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ got
Nargis Dutt award. Other films like Mouna Ragam, Anjali, and Kannathil Muthamittal received best regional cinema award at the
National Film Awards. His films were screened in International Film Festivals too. The filmmaker was born on 2 June 1956 in Madurai. He is married to renowned actress Suhasisini and the couple is blessed with a boy Nandan.