One of the greatest filmmakers of Indian cinema, Mani Ratnam turns 65 today. The Padma Shree recipient made his directorial debut with the now cult film Pallavi Anu Pallavi (1983) starring Anil Kapoor. Mani Ratnam’s films are famous for their craft and the exploration of socio-political themes. He has made about 40 films and has created an upcoming web series named Navarasa. On the occasion of his birthday, we take a look at some of his acclaimed films.
Mouna Ragam (1986)
This is the film that established Mani Ratnam as a leading Tamil filmmaker. Mouna Ragam is about the conflicts faced by a woman (Revathi) forced by her father into an arranged marriage with Chandrakumar (Mohan) while she mourns the death of her former lover.
Inspired by the life of Indian mafia leader Varadarajan Mudaliar and also Francis Ford Coppola’s The Gofather (1972), Nayakan secured three trophies at the 1987 National Film Awards. TIME magazine included the film in its “ALL-TIME 100 Movies” list.
Anjali deals with a terminally ill, autistic child (Shamili) and the societal and emotional challenges faced by her parents, played by Revathi and Raghuvaran, in looking after her. The film received three National Film Awards.
Terrorism Trilogy (Roja, Bombay and Dil Se..)
Mani Ratnam is mostly remembered for the above three films on terrorism. Roja which brought nationwide recognition for Mani Ratnam is about a village girl’s (Madhoo) desperate attempts to rescue her husband (Arvind Swamy) from militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Bombay (1995) starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala, was based on the 1992-1993 Bombay riots that took place following the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Dil Se.. (1998), starring Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala, deals with a love story with the insurgency in Northeast India serving as the backdrop.
Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)
The film deals with the Sri Lankan Civil War and an adopted child’s desire to meet her biological mother, who has joined the militant organization LTTE. It stars Ranganathan Madhavan, Simran, Keerthana Parthiepan and Nandita Das among others and won a record six National Film Awards.