MANI RATNAM Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » mani ratnam


Mani Ratnam (born June 2, 1956) is a critically acclaimed Tamil Indian film director, writer and producer. He is one of the few Indian directors whose talent is recognised worldwide. All his films contain their  own unique style, with beautifully photographed songs and unique  back-lighting. However, his films contain substance as well as style -  Ratnam has dealt with a wide variety of topics, from the classic Indian  love story to political thrillers.


Filmmaking is in his blood; he is the  son of film producer “Venus” Gopalratnam and his brother was G.  Venkateswaran, a film distributor turned producer. After graduating  with a degree in commerce from Madras University and an MBA from the  Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, he embarked on  a short-lived career as a management consultant before taking the  plunge into his true calling. His first film, Pallavi Anupallavi  (1983), starring Anil Kapoor, didn’t make many waves, although it won  the State Award from Karnataka for Best Screenplay that year. Though he  did three more films, two in Tamil and one in Malayalam, he had to wait  until he broke through with Mouna Ragam (1986). Starring Revathy, the  film told the tale of a woman who, although forced into an arranged  marriage, chooses to maintain a platonic relationship with her husband.  The film was noted for its sophisticated approach and execution of an  extremely sensitive topic.


His next film, Nayakan (1987), was  also arguably his greatest. Often compared to The Godfather (1972), it  established Mani Ratnam as the leading director of Tamil cinema and won  Kamal Hassan the National Award for Best Actor.


Then came the  best of his early work - Agni Nakshatram (1988), Gitanjali (1989) and  Anjali (1990). The first was a tale of conflict between two  stepbrothers; shot with glossy camera work, the film resembled a cross  between an ad and a music video, and set a trend for a whole new visual  style in Tamil cinema. Gitanjali (1989), shot in Ooty to create a soft  and poetic mood, was a touching love story between two terminally ill  people with less than six months left. Anjali (1990), about a disabled  child brought back to her family with two normal children had been  chosen by India to be sent to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film.


When  Roja (1992) - the first film produced under the Madras Talkies banner -  was released, Mani Ratnam was already a household name all over India.  A patriotic love story set against the backdrop of Kashmiri terrorism,  the film was dubbed in Hindi and became a huge national success. It  reinforced Mani Ratnam’s status as a director of style and substance,  as well as proving a highly auspicious debut for the now-acclaimed  music director A. R. Rahman. It helped that India’s erstwhile Chief  Election Commissioner T. N. Seshan took the rare step of officially  endorsing the film. Thiruda Thiruda (1993) was a light-hearted and  fun-filled romp which seemed to be a departure from the serious trend  of his films, but Ratnam quickly returned to more thought-provoking  cinema with Bombay (1995), a romance between a Hindu and a Muslim  during the Bombay 1993 riots. The film, which explores more fundamental  questions of religion, harmony, relationships and human suffering, has  been declared a classic by critics and fans alike.


Delving  deeper into the connection between South Indian cinema and politics,  Ratnam made Iruvar (1997), followed by Dil Se.. (1998), his first Hindi  film. Based on insurgency in northeast India, it told the story of a  radio executive, a revolutionary and a tragic mission. With an  excellent cast, beautifully crafted scenes and A. R. Rahman’s  spectacular score, it is held as ahead of its time and a contemporary  classic.


He returned to familiar ground with Alaipayuthey  (2000), which tackled the story of a couple in love who go through the  trials and tribulations of marriage. Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), the  tale of an adopted girl meeting her terrorist mother, saw Mani Ratnam  back in form as one of the greatest storytellers in Indian Cinema. His  next film, Yuva (2004), saw Ratnam return to Hindi cinema after six  years (it was simultaneously released in Tamil as Aayitha Ezhuthu),  telling the poignant and powerful story of three young men from  disparate backgrounds brought together by a single event.


Mani  Ratnam lives in Chennai with his wife and collaborator, Suhasini  Maniratnam, a respected and decorated actress, writer, director and  producer in her own right, and their 12-year-old son, Nandan.