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Mani Ratnam turns 65: Five films by the maverick storyteller which will leave you spellbound
Born on June 2, 1956, in Madurai, Mani Ratnam hailed from a film family. Currently, one of the Indian film’s most talented filmmakers is busy in the production of his most ambitious movie – Ponniyin Selvan. A period saga, which features an ensemble cast involving the likes of Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Vikram Prabhu, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Lal and Sobhita Dhulipala.
On the occasion of this legendary filmmaker’s birthday, we look at five films directed by Mani Ratnam which have created a permanent place in our hearts.
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1. Mouna Ragam: This is a Tamil romantic drama film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. This movie narrates the life of Divya played by Revathi, a free-spirited college girl who is forced into an arranged marriage with Chandrakumar a successful businessman played by Mohan. The arranged marriage was set up by her father. Divya is secretly mourning her former lover Manohar played by Karthik who was shot dead. She didn’t want to get married. The movie stars Revathy, Mohan and Karthik in the lead.
2. Roja: This is a romantic thriller film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. It follows Roja, a simple girl from a village in Tamil Nadu, making desperate efforts to find her husband Rishikumar after he is kidnapped by militants during a secret undercover mission in Jammu and Kashmir. The theme of the film is based on the relationship between Savitri and Satyavan of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. This film introduced Arvind Swami to us. Roja’s soundtrack is still one of A R Rahman’s best work.
3. Bombay: A Muslim woman and a Hindu man fall in love and elope to get married as their families object to their relationship. However, when they move to Mumbai, they end up facing the wrath of communal riots. The film was dubbed in Hindi, Telugu and Malayalam with the same title.
4. Nayakan: Nayakan is loosely based on the life of the Bombay underworld don Varadarajan Mudaliar and the American film The Godfather Kamal Hassan’s performance was considered one of his best and earned him the National Film Award for Best Actor The film was later remade in Hindi as Dayavan
5. Anjali: Anjali is a Tamil-language drama film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. It stars Raghuvaran, Revathi. The film deals with the story of a dying mentally disabled child, and the emotional trauma experienced by her family. The film was dubbed into Hindi and Telugu and released under the same name. Anjali was critically acclaimed, winning three National Film Awards. It was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars in 1991, but was not nominated.