Kamal as Velu Naicker

Bollywood is shorthand for Bombay Hollywood, seat of the largest Indian film industry. But it manufactures only about 200 of the thousand or so Indian feature films; a half-dozen regions boast production sites larger than most of the world?s national cinemas. Madras, capital of the Tamil state, is one such place, and its leader – arguably India’s top pop-film auteur – is Mani Ratnam. His movies, often dramatizing social unrest and political terrorism, churn with narrative tension and camera energy that would be the envy of Hollywood directors, if they were ever to see them. Nayakan, an early, defining work in his career, tells the Godfatherish tale of Velu, a boy who embraces a life of crime after his father is killed by the police. Velu (Kamal Hasan) has trouble juggling his family life with his life-and-death mob “family”; Ratnam has no such difficulty blending melodrama and music, violence and comedy, realism and delirium, into a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration that, when a gangster’s miseries are mounting, the most natural solution is to go singin’ in the rain. – Excerpt from Time Magazine.

Again, just like the Oscars for a tamil movie, I don’t think something is achieved when you have a Tamil movie featuring in the list of global all-time favorites. But it’s a feel good factor. One reason why I am personally happy is for Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan[needs subscription] making it to the Time’s Alltime Top 100 movies, is that despite being based on Mario Puzo’s God Father script, Nayakan had its own share of Mani Ratnam’s brilliance at throughout the movie. If you ask me to stick out a single favorite shot from the film, I may be dazzled.

Nayakan had a team that was one of the best during that decade. It had geniuses like Illayaraja, PC Sriram and the Nayakan himself.

I haven’t subscribed to Time and hence couldn’t read the entire article. Thanks Vilvanboy and Srivats for passing on the link, It made my day.

148 Responses


  1. Made my day as well!!
    Goddamn TRUE!!

    I got the info thru bbthots blog.

    Ha!!

    Srihari | May 23rd, 2005 - 8:20 pm

  2. mr. lazy geek please dont jump the gun in self anointing NAYAKAN into any list, because the screen play of that movie was lifted from several sources, if youre a film student(not neccesarily film institute)you will know that the movie borrows from 1. terms of endearmnet, 2.once upon a time in america, and many of the classic photographic situations were stolen from illustrations that were published in magazines conducting best photograher’s contest.
    do your research properly

    arun | May 23rd, 2005 - 8:24 pm

  3. post a comment true,
    and the naysayers descend upon in droves.
    hackles raised, they vent their spleen,
    raining their distorted verbal blows.
    plagiarism they shout,
    living their lives inspired by someone else.
    they seek orginality from everything around them,
    but are content to beg, borrow, steal ideas themselves.
    applaud they will a foreign good,
    for that is their benchmark of creativity at best.
    blinkered they remain in their belief,
    that everything else fails in their subjective litmus test.
    appreciate, applaud, encourage wholesome efforts,
    else keep silent, but refrain from displaying belligerent ‘tudes.
    let self-professed film students and the likes match the efforts of the movies they blacklist,
    then they can teach just what good filmmaking is to us enlightened dudes.

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 23rd, 2005 - 8:43 pm

  4. Lazy,

    Great news!!!!!

    arun,

    Relax dude. Either you like it or not, Nayakan is one of the best indian movies EVER made!!!

    And FYI lazy doesnt own the TIME Magazine and he didnt write THAT article :-) Why on earth he should do a research on what is published in TIME magazine?

    Do you do a research on every article you read/come across? Take the chill pill!!

    By the way I want to as you one question. ‘Neenga nallavara kettavara?’

    F e r r a r i | May 23rd, 2005 - 8:44 pm

  5. pal-katz
    now i know why we are suffering from extreme drought in tamil nadu-if your holy grail is mani ratnam-god help you and your ilk.
    arun

    arun | May 23rd, 2005 - 8:55 pm

  6. arun,

    whatever may be your complaint, nayakan was a definitely a superb attempt at film making. every department accomplished their tasks brilliantly and the end product was a sheer cinematic delight. i am positive that your bias against nayakan has to do more with personal reasons than any cinema related ones despite your self-professment of being a so-called film student. cinema is not all about coming up with an original idea, cinema is all about execution and how seamless the resulting end product is in enthralling the fans.

    far to go, film student has,
    before a master, he can become.
    darth vader not luke skywalker will he,
    if care not taken, become!

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:12 pm

  7. Lazy, there is a pod-cast link on that page. A 20 MB mp3 file. Havent listened to it yet.
    Podcast: Corliss and Schickel Talk

    aNTi | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:15 pm

  8. good one, katz… :)

    Maharajan | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:19 pm

  9. Guru dutt’s Pyaasa made the list too as did Ray’s The Apu Trilogy!

    aNTi | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:20 pm

  10. so you mean to say you will execute the same nayakan again and again like dalapathi, pagal nilavu, udhayam, desam, etc…i don’t think it ENTHRALLED the audience-cinema is attempting novelty

    arun | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:31 pm

  11. Mr lazygeek,

    Nice comments…

    vilvanboy | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:32 pm

  12. Arun,

    You never fail to amuse us man. A film student who is trying to find out why there is a drought in tamilnadu, by researching from where movies are being lifted??

    Way to go dude!!!

    F e r r a r i | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:32 pm

  13. Haaa. There he goes again!

    Nayagan didnt enthrall the audience?? Which audience?

    F e r r a r i | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:37 pm

  14. Interesting debate!Altho’ I would beg to differ on Arun’s comments. I wonder how many ppl in Tamil Nadu or for that matter India ( I mean the mass audience) would have watched The Terms of Endearment, Once Upon a Time in America or even GodFather for that matter, at the time when Nayakan was released.
    So, for a layman watching this movie, it would have been an awe-inspiring experience.There was nothing foreign abt the way in which the movie was made or the way in which the story was told.Its by far one of the best performances of Kamal.Great songs by Raja, excellent photography.
    And more importantly, every Indian living in the Basti could have related to this movie.
    I’m glad that Time Magazine voted it among the Top 100 movies.

    Priya | May 23rd, 2005 - 9:39 pm

  15. Arun, can understand your agony. Life is to live, not to analyse. Movies are to be enjoyed, not to be researched. True that the essence of a movie is lost when somethings are lifted from somewhere else.

    Even if “Nayagan” was inspired, look at the imapct that it has created. Even today after 15 odd years, this movie remains to be most’s favourite movie. And if you say it has not had an effect on its audience, I suggest you watch it again.

    Btw, when you pass out, do you plan to bring the Cauvery to the drought trodden Chennai? Surprised that sometimes good work breeds contempt too.

    Somu | May 23rd, 2005 - 10:01 pm

  16. LG, Vaarathukku intha mathiri oru post pothum…I’m becoming fan of “Debate King” Katz!

    Katz, pattaya kelapureenga boss!!

    Prabhu Venkatramani | May 23rd, 2005 - 10:05 pm

  17. Arun, Got your point. Yet what Katz says is so true. If you had the note, I said, despite being based on God Father script it had Mani Ratnam’s brilliance.

    Mani Ratnam would have been inspired by the Kubrick’s brilliance, the Fellini charm and the Martin Scorsese excellence, just like millions of other film lovers. Just stealing camera angles and sequences from their films may not be enough to make a film a good as Nayakan.

    And Katz,

    but are content to beg, borrow, steal ideas themselves.
    applaud they will a foreign good,
    for that is their benchmark of creativity at best.
    blinkered they remain in their belief,
    that everything else fails in their subjective litmus test.

    Loved these lines. True for many. Is that a sonnet(it had more lines though).

    Lazy Geek | May 23rd, 2005 - 10:07 pm

  18. Anti, Thanks a ton for the link. My next post will tell you why I’m so thankful for the podcast ;-)

    Prabhu V, Said that true. Katz has this ferocious yet brilliant way of debating. Happy to have him here!!

    Ferrari, Can you pass me that chill pill that you are consuming !!

    Lazy Geek | May 23rd, 2005 - 10:11 pm

  19. Wow, the mediocrity of the backslapping Machees is only matched by the ferocity with which Arun has been jumped upon. The mistake Arun makes is to take that piece of glossy trash called TIME too seriously – for someone who follows cinema so closely, sites like Somberi Geek’s are best avoided.

    Anda Kaaka | May 23rd, 2005 - 10:49 pm

  20. now only i realize why smokers never pay heed to the “smoking is injurious to health” warning label. likewise, mr. anda kakka who has put out the warning tag “lazygeek site is injurious to spurious cinema fans” does not only visit the site and follow the thread but also posts a comment! wah wah! apparently this is what is known in politics as practicing what you preach! ;-)

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:09 pm

  21. IyengaarVaal,

    It’s a bit like reading the trash that you read when you to the Barber’s shop – In this case, I was flying over the vast wastelands of the net and decided to rest on a tree that happened to be this site. Now I must fly off – I have already to begun to sound like you … ;-)

    Anda Kaaka

    Anda Kaaka | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:15 pm

  22. mr. anda kaaka,

    you have a choice not to read the trash in the barber shop. but after choosing to read it, you cannot complain that you are reading trash. whether what you read is trash or not is another matter of discussion. why pick up that trash in the first place unless you are curious to see what it contains? unless of course your argument is that since the trash was placed in the barber shop, i had to read it and so the blame lies squarely on the barber’s shoulders for packing his salon with the same??? btw, i am trying to figure out just what bird you are, since there is only one kind that keeps hovering above your head to see if it can feast on any available pickings! ;-)

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:28 pm

  23. katz,

    >> i am trying to figure out just what bird you are, since there is only one kind that keeps hovering above your head to see if it can feast on any available pickings! ;-)

    That was way too funny. Just cant help but roar in laughter. I think we also need to be wary of the bird’s droppings !!!

    Am wondering why we are getting too personal over Time’s top 100 movie list… Some would approve of it, and some would not, but that’s how it is right ?

    Somu | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:35 pm

  24. here’re my thots on nayagan and its nayagan!
    http://www.geocities.com/ram_aishoo/Nayagan.htm

    ram | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:42 pm

  25. Beware of Anda Kakka(s)!!It is suffering from verbal diarrhoea!! Expect more ‘bird droppings’ all over the place! ;-)

    vinay | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:47 pm

  26. Well somberigeek.com seems too cool to me.Thanks Andang kaakka.

    BTW, are the you the one featuring on that Anniyan song Andang Kakka Kondakaari. Just Curious. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    Lazy Geek | May 23rd, 2005 - 11:54 pm

  27. just one last statement, for all the enthrallment
    that nayakan could provide, the movie ferociously exited out of the TN movie halls with a very poor show.
    take care, i don’t take the TIMES seriously it’s the other dude-who wants to be a bard!

    arun | May 24th, 2005 - 12:42 am

  28. arun,

    the issue was never about the quality of journalism propagated by TIME magazine. it was only about the quality cinema fare provided by the movie nayagan. the two issues are totally separate from each other, so don’t make it look we are praising TIME. and i thought dubya was unique and uncommon!

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 24th, 2005 - 12:53 am

  29. Arun,
    whatz your take on films like MMKR,Guna,Anbe Sivam,Iruvar,Kannathil Muthamittal which exited out of movie halls so quick?

    Prabhu Venkatramani | May 24th, 2005 - 12:59 am

  30. That made my day as well. thanks for the link Vilvanboy, Srivats, and Lazygeek.

    Nitin | May 24th, 2005 - 1:09 am

  31. Arun, Just two points to note ont he lines of Prabhu V.

    a) I am no film student and i don’t think it’s a measure to enjoy cinema. I have learnt to appreciate cinema the hard way, by watching ;-)

    b) You digress on your later statements. As Prabhu Venkat asked Nayakan could have ‘ran’ out of theatres. How about a nice movie called Sandhiyaa Raagam which made no starshow at the boxoffice. FYI, it was directed by a student of photography from the film institute of Pune called Balu ‘Benjamin’ Mahendra. Whats your take on Sandhiyaa Raagam ?

    Lazy Geek | May 24th, 2005 - 1:33 am

  32. Katz, I was thinking that statement should be removed from the comment list. I did. Sorry about it but as it was a personal attack.

    Lazy Geek | May 24th, 2005 - 1:37 am

  33. guru,

    i am glad that you did remove that. i was split second too late into recovering from being so taken in by the rhyming word play of it all to stop the post in time. and that is why i posted the following comment, for it was inappropriate and personal and he never even got me worked up in any way to warrant that.

    if you could remove the following post too, it will be cool or it will be sticking out like a sore thumb!

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 24th, 2005 - 1:54 am

  34. I dont think am getting this– who ever said that “nayagan” flopped at the box office????? guys, i wish had “film news” Anandan here!

    ram | May 24th, 2005 - 2:02 am

  35. Ram, I am pretty sure that Nayakan ran for over 200 days (refular shows) in Abhirami complex..It was a bonafide hit of 1987-88!

    Vijays | May 24th, 2005 - 3:05 am

  36. yeah, tho i was only 6 1/2 (1/2 nijaar payal basically!) at the time of its release, I somehow always thot that the movie was a superhit…and, prabhu has included MMKR in a list of commercial failures…?!! MMKR was *THE* movie that catapulted Crazy into the top echelon of Tamil Cinema…

    ram | May 24th, 2005 - 3:30 am

  37. ram,
    I remember reading GV’s interview in Vikatan(or Kumudam)around that time, where he said though Nayakan got great reviews, it dint fare well financially.

    Vijays,
    Films running good in Madras alone cant be considered as hits. I have seen films which were utterflops of Trichy crossing 100-day mark easily in Madras.

    MMKR was a failure in Trichy, not sure about Madras.

    Prabhu Venkatramani | May 24th, 2005 - 3:48 am

  38. ram,

    mmkr was a flop when it released. it achieved the cult status only much later.

    guru,

    why spoil the nice write-up on nayagan with including rajini in it at the end as an after-thought???

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 24th, 2005 - 3:50 am

  39. makes sense Katz. You are right. I thought so but then will put that as another post. Valid point.

    Lazy Geek | May 24th, 2005 - 4:19 am

  40. The same will be about Mumbai Express and Virumaandi. It will be much appreciated only after few years as people are doing to Rajaparvai and MMKR.

    tamil | May 24th, 2005 - 5:15 am

  41. am still quite skeptical of these comments on MMKR and Nayagan being commercial failures…oh well, I dont have any evidence so will shut up for now!

    ram | May 24th, 2005 - 6:08 am

  42. Nayakan is a great movie. Its based on the life of the don Varadarajan Mudaliar and perhaps in trying to bring it to screen, some damn camera angles might have been replicated. So? What the heck? How does that take it away from the movie being a great one?

    Any story of any movie will have its inspiration from something: a book, a real life character, an incident…if not all these, then purely out of the writer’s mind. Just because its not coming out purely out a person’s mind, but from somewhere else…doesnt mean that the movie doesnt deserve to be in any list of gr8 movies. For me, a movie is a movie. If it makes me cry/laugh/think/feel entertained (these are not mutually exclusive), its purpose is served. A movie that serves this purpose to the highest degree is a great movie and Nayakan is a perfect example.

    Chandra | May 24th, 2005 - 6:35 am

  43. Wow !! Sorry i missed the show.

    Arun, let us say, you are a film student. You do a lift on all the movies you mentioned. You could even take more. Steal the Scripts of Godfather. Make your hero get inspired by Marlon Brando. With all this, Can you make a movie as good as Nayakan ? Or make a movie that is discussed nearly 18 years after production ? I guess Manirathnam could.

    Keerthivasan | May 24th, 2005 - 7:05 am

  44. Keerthivasan Sir,
    Ondru Sonnai Adhuvum Nandru Sonnai!
    ram

    ram | May 24th, 2005 - 7:18 am

  45. Reminds me of a comment Kamal made after Vikram: “Naan James Bond-a copy adikkiratha sila paer solraanga. Appadiyae irunthaalum, enna maathiri yaaraavathu copy adikka mudiyumaa?”

    Nayakan was definitely a nice movie to watch and one of the better political movies (Roja, Bombay, Kannathil) Ratnam made. To call it his personal best would (in my eyes) be unjust to Mouna Raagam. I don’t have a problem with Ratnam’s many “borrowings” in the movie. I do think it wasn’t his best work.

    I love MMKR, and have watched it a few hundred times but it would never make my book of great cinema. If I were to put together a list of 100 best movies in the world and I had one spot for a Tamil movie, I’d give it to Muthal Mariyaathai.

    Kingsley | May 24th, 2005 - 10:45 am

  46. kingsley,

    no doubt mouna ragam was a good movie, but the impact or punch it carried was much less than nayakan. nayakan packed a full wallop, while mouna ragam did not. even today, mr. chandramouli, mr. chandramouli is the first thing people will unanimously agree upon when you discuss mouna ragam. but nayakan had so many such scenes that it makes it hard to choose which one is the best.

    mmkr is not great cinema agreed, but it is one of the greatest full length comedy movie ever made. barring the climax alone, the movie was a coherent entertainer that can never be duplicated at all. that is why despite its initial failure, mmkr is a cult classic.

    mudhal mariyadhai was a good movie, but in my opinion not deserving the one spot reserved for a tamil movie. only because that movie was too cinematic for its own good. nayagan deserves that spot for it is one of the few handfuls of movies that excelled in each department. and more importantly, despite being a movie about a human being on the wrong side of the law, it managed to create an aura of dignity around that character that it seemed more human than humans themselves. like godfather did and that is why these are great movies, for they did not make superheroes out of mere mortals, they made human beings out of them!

    in case i don’t see you all tomorrow, vanakkam, vandanam and namaskar!!! ;-)

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 24th, 2005 - 11:22 am

  47. Ooooh…
    46 comments!
    and Lazy, dont call it ur blog anymore. http://www.lazygeek.net is public! ;) jus kidding.

    Expected such response when i saw the post.
    And for political-correctness, MMKR was not a big hit. It was average grosser in A centres and quite a flop in B. Who cares?

    And, now who ever thought Nayagan was driven out of movie halls? Nayagan was one of the biggest hits of the year.

    And Katz (in case i don’t see you all tomorrow, vanakkam, vandanam and namaskar!!! ;-)), for the intense guy you are, you are bound to come back and blast the nay-sayers again.. ;) Cheers man!

    Srihari | May 24th, 2005 - 11:48 am

  48. Hi,

    To be frank, i haven’t seen Nayagan completely yet. I have seen only bits and pieces from the movie. I don’t know why but whenever i try to watch it fully, something would stop me. But know, i feel i have missed something really great, will watch it soon on the DVD. And why can’t the debate continue about the other movies in top 100 as well. Are all the movies in the list deserving? Personally i thought “Titanic”, Roberto Begnini’s “Life is beautiful” are notable missings in the list. Can anyone here tell me about, What is so great in the movie “Pyaasa” as i haven’t heard about or seen this movie.

    Smile
    Sureshkumar

    Sureshkumar | May 24th, 2005 - 12:12 pm

  49. Suresh,
    U kidding when u say u haven’t seen Nayagan yet?

    I would rather like missing Titanic ;). On a serious note, when any top-10/100/xx list is made, if we talk about movies left behind, then there are always hell-a-lot..
    ippa naama vantha movies’a paththi paesuvomae (said with Kamal’s tone in MX – ippa naama tamizh varradha paththi’yae paesuvomae!) ;)

    Srihari | May 24th, 2005 - 12:17 pm

  50. Kings, True, Mudhal Mariyadhai was top of the charts.

    Srihari, lol !!

    Suresh, Titanic could be missed not because it was an outright commercial hit but because it could have been better. I am sure it deserves a place but not sure if it is in Top 100 All time.

    Life is beautiful should have been there as you mentioned. But as Srihari said, to talk about the movies left it would be a lifetime.

    Lazy Geek | May 24th, 2005 - 12:46 pm

  51. Srihari,

    I mean it, believe me, i haven’t seen Nayagan yet fully. Yes, ofcourse there is a lot to debate if we talk about the leftouts. So, we better not. What about Pyaasa. Do you know anything about that movie?

    LG

    honestly speaking i don’t see chance of any betterment in that movie? To me, it is a perfectly made movie. I personally feel that its huge commercial success makes the so called critics to find fault in it and get name and fame out of it just like the local politicians do by bashing on Rajini and Kamal continuously.

    Smile
    Sureshkumar

    Sureshkumar | May 24th, 2005 - 1:08 pm

  52. It really surprizes me that ppl can turn against a friendly, neutral blogsite like this too!!! Andankaaka shd be a funny person in real life with a screw slightly popping up :)
    Nayagan is no doubt a wonderful movie for the uninformed, plain, sensible movie goers. Whether it is “THE ONE” or not is purely a personal call.. (My personal all time favorite is “Vedham Pudhidhu”, although be it with umpteen flaws, and who knows, lifted from somewhere :) )
    I am again not sure of TIMES magazine’s quality of the list but it has helped a great deal on one thing – It has made its vast readers’ pool notice that there is some language called “Tamil” and movies are made in that.. Thanks a lot for that to TIMES and even many more to the crew of “Nayagan”, which made this happen. Now probably the left-out, buried movies like Kannathil, Iruvar, Sandhya Ragam, Veedu and even Vedham pudhidhu (:) )would probably get digged out by movie buffs around the world…
    Long live these wonderful TIMES :)

    P.S.: Katz, the poetic prose was gr8!!!

    Bart | May 24th, 2005 - 1:46 pm

  53. Geek…

    Chanceless. 52 Comments as of Now. Great Going for OUR NAYAGAN (Thats U MAN).

    -Shiva

    shiva | May 24th, 2005 - 3:01 pm

  54. Calling Mani the leader of Tamil filmdom is what is the cruelest joke about the whole article.
    It just shows that, what Hollywood knows about Tamil filmdom is through Bollywood. I can’t imagine Nayakan being recognised had Mani or Kamal not been regularly making movies in Hindi.
    Bharathiraaja,Mahendran and Cheran are surely better directors than Mani but never will they attain the same status. Their fault being that they make more natural films which will be quintessentially Tamil or (in the case of moviemakers like Balachander quintessentially Indian).And they will make it in tamil only.
    It is for this reason I care two hoots for the Time’s comment (though Nayakan is one very good film). My criticism is not about the movie but about the overhyping of the director. It is again a case of the typical Bollywood and Bollywood approved products being showcased to the world as the Indian output.
    As some one already pointed a Vedam Pudhidhu is as good a movie as Nayakan with very good performance from Sathyaraj Saritha and the kid Dasarathy.
    But would it have come to the notice of Times. I doubt it.

    mutRupuLLi | May 24th, 2005 - 6:50 pm

  55. Shiva, Thanks.

    Mutrupulli, I can agree to your comment in parts. But then Cheran ? Cheran ???

    Lazy Geek | May 24th, 2005 - 7:38 pm

  56. full stop,

    in your view the directors could be better than manu rathnam and you may have your own reasons for the same, but the matter of fact is none of them made or will ever make a movie like nayagan! this is not about the man or men who created a movie, but this is about a movie that was brought to life by men. btw, mani rathnam never made any hindi movie prior to roja. and for you to think the only reason nayagan was selected was because of kamal’s exposure in hindi movies seems short sighted. it is like saying the only reason the india is famous in the world today is because of BPO!

    and nayagan was natural and indian in its creation. now because it was selected in the TIME’s list, it ceases to be indian?? what next, isi’s sadhi to blacklist tamil cinema by ensuring nayagan was on the list? and what do you mean by your directors will make movies only in tamil? nayagan was in which language then? urdu? remember, movies have no language for a truly good movie can be relished all over the world. like nayagan. finding fault with someone for making movies in hindi is an extremely narrow-minded approach.

    finally, bollywood did not approve of nayakan, the world approved of it and that is why it is on the list my friend ;-)

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 24th, 2005 - 8:31 pm

  57. mutrupuLLi,

    Balachandar made quintessentially Indian Movies.
    Wow. Does it mean every Indian indulges in bigamy/polygamy??

    No wonder you are not able to appreciate Maniratnam movies!

    And as Lazy asked you rate Cheran more than maniratnam??

    F e r r a r i | May 24th, 2005 - 8:48 pm

  58. mutRupuLLi!
    Nice point made.

    Mahendran, sure is, THE man we should all be talking about in Tamil Cinema for years. And, Mani has no qualms in accepting this as he has told in many interviews of his. But, as Lazy already pointed out, Cheran????

    Just as an info, read Mani’s interview here where he mentions abt Mahendran, Uthiri pookkal, and Bharathiraja’s 16 Vayathinile. Great to go thru if you hadnt already.

    Srihari | May 24th, 2005 - 8:59 pm

  59. and mutRupuLLi!
    Regardless of all these things, Nayagan sure is a landmark in Tamil Cinema.
    and IMHO, the movies from Cheran have never even come anywhere near Nayagan or any of Mani’s better efforts.
    And for KB and BR, IMHO, none of the movies from them have equalled a movie like Nayagan. Though they did make some excellent movies.

    Srihari | May 24th, 2005 - 9:08 pm

  60. Cheran was a wrong quote in mutRupuLLi’s list. However Mahendran (Uthiri pookal, mullum malarum), Bharathiraja (many a movies), Balachander (again, many a movies) and Balu Mahendra (for a few movies) are all greats of tamil filmdom who’ve changed the regular movie parameters and patterns in their unique styles. Now certainly Maniratnam is part of that list. No denying that. But to say Nayagan is “THE BEST” all time movie in Tamil film industry is highly subjective.. For that matter, “Veera pandiya katta bomman” might seriously contend against “Velu nayakkar” for the crown. So, “Nayagan”, being a good movie better known to the current generation has made it to the top 100 list doesn’t mean it is officially “THE ONE”.. For that matter, even oscars are debated around and cannot be the final verdict delivered for each year.. But yes, its great that it has made it to the list and hence made our section of the world proud and popular…
    Now coming to the bollywood approval stamps on Indian regional movies, I disagree with it. Many a malayalam, bengali, tamil and other regional movies which are lesser known to “bollywood”, have made it big in international film festivals and other events. It is upto the film maker’s enthusiasm, belief and capacity (financial inclusive) to push his film to any arena that will decide the popularity of a movie. So, when Mani had the belief and capacity, probably Bharathiraja didn’t have the push and belief perhaps… Who knows, else we could’ve been hailing Mahendran’s “Uthiri pookal” in the top 100 list …
    Letz not pull cheran or thankar bachan into the debate, comparing against the remaining signposts of the industry, as they are just toddlers who are also trying in their own way to show the smell of the earth they know in their movies.

    Bart | May 24th, 2005 - 10:46 pm

  61. KATZ,
    I very clearly stated that my comment is not about the movie( I love the movie as much as the next man) My point is about the comment on Mani( calling him the leader and all that).
    So i am in no way commenting about the movie.

    LG and others,
    Why cheran???? Because he makes natural movies. He does not spoil his movie like the Mani’s and Shankar’s bringing in 6 songs and some irritating comedy(in Shankar’s case) and hope that it will boost the movie at the box office.Neither does he dilute the issue he takes like Mani. Mani and Shankar are masters at it. They take good themes but goof up in the execution. Bombay, Mudhalavan, Uyire are prime examples of a good idea spolit.
    I didn’t have a good opinion about Cheran for a long time.After experiencing DESIYA GEETHAM i changed my stand. Here was a director who would dare to make a political movie in his third film and not goof up.Though a commercial failure this one was on par with Balachander’sThaneer Thaneer and Achhamillai Achhamillai and Bharathiraaja’s En Uyir Thozhan. Cheran should conduct classes for Mani and Shankar about where to include songs
    in a movie.(ofcourse Kamal too could teach them that). Nearly 5 of the 7 songs in DG are perfectly situated and have just the lyrics necessary for the situation. And the core idea and execution of the movie are just a few other points about the movie which I found was incredible.
    Now is it justifiable to call him a great director on the strength of one good movie ?But even his not so good movies like Autograph, Vetri Kodi Kattu and Pandavar Bhoomi were refreshingly different,had good themes and were sensitively and sensibly handled. He for one surely does not do “arachamavaye arachufying ” activity. And he does make movies which are more closer to the people of TamilNadu, thereby retaining the native flavour which is so absent in most of the movies today. This can be seen very clearly in his choice of heroines.
    Finally was I right in including Cheran with KB
    and Bharathiraaja and Mahendran? Maybe not. But give the young man enough time.He surely has the spark in him to make more meaningful cinema. Cheran is no mean guy and serious movie watchers should pay him a lot of attention.
    And i personally rate him above Mani.

    mutRupuLLi | May 25th, 2005 - 12:07 am

  62. just the idea of including cheran in this debate and talking abt him in the same breath as mani ratnam mahendran and bharathiraja is laughable!!

    and cheran shd take classesn for mani ratnam abt placement of songs?!! HA! that is preposterous!!

    rehashing mera naam joker and calling it autograph is NOT great cinema!

    each filmmaker has his own style and way of narration..just coz mani ratnam’s movies are not rustic or rural enough does not make him any less a genius!

    and mr. fullstop…by stressing again that you have nothing against the movie but against the man..you are not placating yourself..you just made it worse…displayed what an ignoramus you are!

    and seriously…cheran???

    anon | May 25th, 2005 - 12:49 am

  63. All those who said Nayakan didnt fair well in the box office.. give one slap yourself on your face.. Poor memory or amnesia…
    Nayakan was released on Deepavali of 1987.. Its staunch competitor was ‘Manithan’.. but Nayakan won the race hands down all over Tamilnadu.. It was a silver jubilee hit in all the major cities.. It was such a unique movie.. it did very well in all A, B and C centres.. so much for ‘art movie’ tag, huh?

    GP | May 25th, 2005 - 5:00 am

  64. GP, apdiye MMKR b-o status pathiyum konjam clarification, please!

    ram | May 25th, 2005 - 5:08 am

  65. Mahendran is a very good director but I don’t think his movies must be in Time’s elite list. Making a story about a possessive brother is nothing path breaking. Mullum Malarum was presented very well and had natural acting from its lead cast. It is a good film but is never a contender to represent Tamil Cinema on Time.
    Uthiri pookal was a brave attempt, Mahendran had the courage to penetrate harshness but Kamal was more honest and bold in Mahanadhi. Uthiri Pookal is a very good movie but not a Top 100 contender.
    Maniratnam is far better than Mahendran, Balu Mahendra, Balachander, Bharatiraaja and the little kid Cheran.

    Rdx | May 25th, 2005 - 5:16 am

  66. mutrupuli,

    songs and dances are the spirit of all indian movies. if you believe that mani rathnam spoils movies with songs, then why not utilize the same barometer for cheran and the others? the question is not whether the the songs in the movie called desiya geetham was perfectly suited, but whether they were needed at all? the only time when songs act as deterrant in a movie is when they are tacked on just for commercial reasons. shankar has done it in the past with maya machindra in indian (kamal apparently felt that was an unnecessary song). but it cannot be used as THE criterion on whether a movie is good or bad. as for your claim that shankar confuses the issue, shankar believes in commercial cinema and his aim is to sugar coat any serious issue in order to help it reach a bigger audience. if properly executed, it can really work well (indian for example).

    you are right in saying that cheran cant be judged by one movie and the other three movies listed offer proof of his versatility???? are you implying that mani rathnam does the same movie over and over again? compare mouna ragam, nayagan, alaipayudhey, agni nakshatram, anjali and tell me that they are all the same?? be fair dude. one can pick holes in all of cheran’s movies too if you want to.

    tamil flavour??? what is tamil flavour?? heroine selection is tamil flavour?? dude, where is the objectivity when it comes to comparing movies??? cheran retains the tamil flavour because he makes movies that are village based? then bharatiraja has got to be the best director in the whole wide world. pandavar bhoomi was a nice attempt, but i am sure loving brother-sister combos have been done before him too. but the bottom-line is all of his movies combined together still cannot match upto A NAYAGAN! it is not what you are capable of that matters, it what you end up doing that counts! mani rathnam did a nayagan. cheran has not. so lets leave this who is better than another and just wholly agree that nayagan was a great movie. for this post is about nayagan only.

    katz

    ps- was cheran the one who did the movie with parthiban and murali who get conned by gaja on getting to dubai???? if yes, then please leave cheran on the bottom rung of the directorial ladder!

    iyengarkatz | May 25th, 2005 - 6:56 am

  67. MMKR was a moderate success.. Released in 1990 , it came out as the most successful of Diwali movies. This movie too did uniformly throughout Tamilnadu.. marginally worse in C centres. It crossed 100 days in a theatre each in Chennai, Madurai, Trichy and Kovai.

    GP | May 25th, 2005 - 7:30 am

  68. katz, the cheran movie u r referring to is “vetri kodi kattu.”

    ram | May 25th, 2005 - 8:05 am

  69. Guys,

    Why waste time on someone who is saying cheran is better than maniratnam. And also talking abt Mani and Shankar in same breath. Ulloor vaitherichal ghosthinga paa. Vittu thaLLunga

    mutrupuLLI,
    By your same argument, I would rate ramarajan and ramanarayanan much above than cheran. If you talk rural thing as subject, karagattakaaran was way above your paandavar bhoomi or whatever! Karagattakaran was very realistic!!!

    And rural areas la everyone respects and worships snakes elephants and all. Adha vachi ramanarayanan 100 movies kku mela eduthutaaru. And many of them were successful too.

    So I feel they both are far better when compared to cheran.

    BTW how come you left P Vasu, TP Gajendran etc from your elite list??

    F e r r a r i | May 25th, 2005 - 9:32 am

  70. ferrari,

    lets not put down village oriented themes. sometimes, those are the stories that have a lot more basic emotions without any distractions. the argument is not that cheran is not a good director or cannot be a good director. the argument is only that he cannot be adjudged a good director because he makes village oriented movies thereby retaining the tamil flavour. that cannot and should not be the criterion.

    and c’mon dont compare karagattakaaran with pandavar bhoomi. while both were cinematic in many aspects, especially the villains etc, the latter had a less toned down and a very natural feel to it compared to the former. and in the city also people worship elephants and snakes. in fact, i love to get blessed by the kovil yaanai. i have dont it since a child and continue it today too, just because i like it. dont use that as reasons to dumb down the villages and the people who live there. now you are going off on a emotional tangent away from this thread.

    can cheran outdo manirathnam? we will have to wait and see. right now we cant compare, for mani has yet to make a good village based movie (his script for doj maghal sucked). and likewise, cheran has to make a city based movie to show his range.

    the only comparison between cheran and mani rathnam can be is that nayagan was mani’s fourth movie (source: imdb.com) cheran’s was probably vetri kodi kattu or autograph and comparing those two products alone, mani comes on tops with a great movie while cheran comes with a good movie (if it was autograph). therefore, looking at it objectively, NAYAGAN RULES!!!

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 25th, 2005 - 10:37 am

  71. * done it since the time i was a child

    iyengarkatz | May 25th, 2005 - 10:38 am

  72. lol…. I guess it is unfair to compare Cheran and Mani…I feel all Cheran’s movies are too loud…”idam sutti porul vilakam tharuga” stuff…

    Everytime a topic which is rempotely related to Mani is written , then this issue pops up time and again…Maybe it is time to rank up the directors of tamilcinema without any prejudice…ofcourse,each one of these directors are special in their own rite ,but a ranking would stop all Mani bashers from bashing him(Me included)…Cos it is the overhyping of Mani that piss them off..

    My ranking would be this…

    1)Balu Mahendra
    2)Kamal Haasan
    3)Jayakanthan(yea..only 2 movies..but they were gr8)
    4)Mahendran
    5)Maniratnam
    6)Rudraiya
    7)Bharatiraja
    8)Balaji saktivel
    9)K.Balachander
    10)R.C.Sakthi

    Ofcourse i have left gr8 directors like K.Vishwanath and Singeetham Rao ,cos they rarely make tamil movies(most of their tamil films are dubbed verisons)

    Well,u may question why a Balaji Saktivel comes before KB and why Mani is at fifth place…the ratinale Behind the raking is simple…a bad movie will move the directors position down as a good movie will take his position up…simple…

    that is why a Mani is at numero 5..cos he made some lousy movies off late…(if one could take only Mouna Raagam , Nayagan , Iruvar and Kannathil..into cosideration , droping the terrorism trilogy of Mani ,assuming that he never made those movies , then I would most certainly rank him at number 2(or even no 1 ,cos balu Mahendra made a lousy movie offlate)….

    watsay people?

    Arvind | May 25th, 2005 - 10:40 am

  73. As Ram was asking about MMKR, MMKR was a decent above-average hit in A centres, meaning madras (It completed 100 days in Baby Albert which was/is by no way one of the leaders in the theatres cicuit). But dint go all that well in other cities & B-C circuits.
    Cheran vs Mani?? hmmm… No comments!

    Srihari | May 25th, 2005 - 11:33 am

  74. Arvind!
    “idam sutti porul vilakam tharuga” stuff…
    LOL!!
    I kinda agree with you on Mani’s lesser-than-his-standard efforts, i.e., the terrorism trilogy. I would discount a “Pagal Nilavu” coz that was during early days. But after making Nayagan, Mouna Raagam and then going backwards until the inimitable Iruvar (leave Anjali alone coz I don’t want to call it “sub-standard” straight away) was not quite acceptable.
    Ironically thats what (Terrorism Trilogy – Roja, Bombay and Uyire) he is famous for at a national level. All these movies put him on popular bollywood map (I say, popular bollywood map to talk about the common bollywood audience; Of course, the bollywood industry ppl knew Nayagan all too well and remade it time and again ;). Though Dil Se was a flop, it was originally made in hindi, first of its kind for Mani. And thanks to ARR’s soundtrack the movie sustained Mani’s place in the so-called Indian Cinema. Thank God Time chose a movie like Nayagan rather than an effort like Roja/Bombay.

    Srihari | May 25th, 2005 - 11:51 am

  75. katz,

    Dont get me wrong. I stand by what I said. I say ramarajan and ramanarayanan are better than cheran. I enjoyed karagattakaaran more than paandavar bhoomi. And I never said anything bad abt village movies or animal movies!!!

    I am saying there are people better than Cheran who can handle such movies!!!

    F e r r a r i | May 25th, 2005 - 11:58 am

  76. TP Gajendran was a nice choice Prabhu !!

    Lazy Geek | May 25th, 2005 - 12:20 pm

  77. Srihari,

    Thanks for the link to MR’s interview. I don’t remember reading this at all! I loved Sujatha’s question to MR which sums it up all:

    “How do you feel when some films are criticised just because you are Mani Ratnam, without acknowledging their true merits?”

    Sunil | May 25th, 2005 - 12:51 pm

  78. ROTFL @ TP Gajendran!!! I agree, Cheran is too loud and melodramatic…

    In Paandavar Bhoomi, two big fat middle aged babes do skipping(!!)… and if that itself is a heart breaking scene to digest, their brother Raj Kiran makes them jump on his hands!!! And still worse, he doesnt end up with a fractured hand!!! Did Cheran have to stoop down so much so show something called “brother’s love”!! If THIS is called realistic cinema, give me a break!!! Even Paasa Malar would lose out on the melodrama scale, if compared to Paandavar Bhoomi!!!

    Compare that with Mullum Malarum, Rajni will keep marudhani on Shoba’s hands after she sleeps… Isn’t that a much more poetic way to show sibling love? A good director should be able to tug peoples emotions without any dialogues, without any tears, but jus with Silence! Mahendran does that in Mullum Malarum…

    Btw LG, mailed you a marathon sized comment, would like to know what you think!:)

    Nithya | May 25th, 2005 - 1:28 pm

  79. Agree with Arvind’s listing except for Balaji Saktivel (just one good movie). Am pleasantly surprised that people still remember Rudraiya and Jeyakanthan.

    Ferrari, I can see you are angry about comparing Cheran and Mani. But you can’t place Cheran with Ramanarayanan and Ramarajan. Cheran is far better than them. If you liked Karagattakkaran, you should have metioned Gangai Amaran as he was the director, not Ramarajan :-).

    One point in favor of Cheran is he doesn’t give into commercial compromises like having a fight scene / song scene unnecessarily. And his films reverberate with the pulse of rural Tamilnadu, where everything is loud. He might not be there yet as a great director, but for heavens sake dont place him on par with Ramanarayanan.

    Chenthil | May 25th, 2005 - 1:29 pm

  80. Katz,
    Maybe i did not explain fully. I am no way against songs or dances. A perfectly placed song is a better way of making a point(like the “Yaar Yaar Sivam” in AS and “Karumathur Kattukulle” and “Karbagiruhamvittu sami veliyerudhu” song in virumandi) The question is , is the song necessary for the movie? Tell me, are most of songs in Mani’s movies neccessary?. Even in nayakan the NaanSiricha Deepavali song could have been done away with.What did it add to the movie.
    Wouldn’t Bombay Uyire and Iruvar have made better viewing in the absence of all those stupid songs.
    Those songs slacken the pace and in my opinion
    do not allow the viewer to gel with the theme of the movie.
    I don’t find the arguement that all this additional items are to ensure the mass acceptance of the movie, having any strength.
    If a director has to resort to all such tomfoolery to make people accept his product then how can he be very good director? Even here i can accept a certain amount of flexibility.But not downright submission to formula.
    Tell me was the first half of Anjali anyway related to the rest of the movie. I can understand him trying to set the context for about 30 minutes.But the rest was total crap?
    Same too with Bombay. I am not wasting my breadth commenting aboutAgninatshathiram.
    And yeah one can find flaws in Mahanadi and Hey Ram too, but what makes them Tamil Classics is the effect of the flaw on the movie as such.
    Mani falls behind when we take that into account.

    And calling Cheran’s movies loud..!!!!. Isn’t our culture loud. Everything we do is loud and flashy( yes even the city bred snobs like us). And that is how we are!! Nothing to feel bad about that.
    And if that is the comment about Cheran, is the
    way Mani’s characters speak very natural. All that monosyllabled words and half sentences…yuch.
    My comment about heroines was a comment pointed at Shankar, I guess. But the spirit of the comment is still valid.

    And “mamamia” ..what levels of snobbery from our citybred cousins.

    mutRupuLLi | May 25th, 2005 - 6:40 pm

  81. Mutrupulli, I have to interuppt here to add a point that might take this discussion on a desired path.

    If songs are needed are not is a diff issue and we shouldn’t be talking about it here by citing various movies. It’s a commercial path set and people like Mani Ratnam are still trying to come out of that vicious circle. Vidai Kodu Engal Naadey !! and the other Srilankan song of Kannathail M never had devoted time on-screen. There were situational like many Kamalhassan movie songs these days. So songs is a diff topic and its needs its own bandwidth to talk,

    As you said, I could agree that we are often loud and hence Cheran movies end up loud. In my opinion Cheran is like Nannan. Remember Vazhkai Kalvi on DD. He has a stick in his hand and teaches lesson. So he doesn’t amaze me. If only he reduces the tone of his movies to be subtle yet on target, I would prefer. But I don’t think it may often in recent future. So comparing Mani and Cheran isn’t right atleast now. They are from different schools of thought and the side you take depends on which school you subscribe to. I subscribe to the school which says not to advocate any theologies through movie but subtly hint at them, making people think about it as they leave the theatre instead of taking 2+ 2=4 class inside the theatre ;-)

    Lazy Geek | May 25th, 2005 - 8:02 pm

  82. Ask Cheran to make a 2 year old baby act!

    And you are talking abt songs as an intrusion.

    Adhu eppadi sir ora vanjanai? Karuppu dhaan enakku pidicha coloru appadinu malavaika dance aadina it gels with the story!!!

    But oru brothel kku pora dharavi guy, paata rasikaradhu intrusion!!!

    If village bred people can think they can get away with double standards, city bred have no other option to be snobbish!!!

    over and out!

    F e r r a r i | May 25th, 2005 - 8:33 pm

  83. Boss.. Did u listen to that podcast? Interesting a irundhuchu :)

    aNTi | May 25th, 2005 - 8:42 pm

  84. Whom are we comparing Mani to?
    Talking abt songs in Mani’s movies, the only mainstream filmmaker who cares a heck abt songs (with almost zero-intrusion) is Kamal Haasan.
    I dont think we are we talking abt filmmakers like B. Lenin who dont have songs in their movies?
    If its Cheran, only noticeable difference between songs in Mani and Cheran is that the songs from latter’s movies range from poor to absolutely unpalatable.

    Srihari | May 25th, 2005 - 8:45 pm

  85. **I dont think we are talking abt filmmakers like B. Lenin who dont have songs in their movies.**

    Srihari | May 25th, 2005 - 8:47 pm

  86. Srihari,

    Maddy singing pachai nirame is an intrusion to the movie.

    But that gundu lady dancing with rajkiran in ovvru vaazhvilum song is realistic!!!

    madhubaala singing chinna chinna aasai is an intrusion and pathetic picturisation.

    but meena jumping and dancing for chingu cha chingu cha is damn realistic!!

    oru emotional vegathula kamal telling delhi ganesh, vaangarom. onnu illai..4 ambulance vaangarom is illogical and cityish.

    but parthiban going to muralis village and murali coming to parthiban village. and both acting that the other has gone to dubai is realistic.

    murali singing thanjavur manneduthu is amazingly realistic. man paanai seyyaravanga ellam appadi dhaan iruppaanga

    but oru arasiyal vaadhi avaroda ichchaigaL poorthi seidha ponna paathu ‘unnoda naan irundhu ovvoru maNi thuLiyum maRavadhu kaNmaNiye’ is too filmy.

    F e r r a r i | May 25th, 2005 - 9:11 pm

  87. More errata:
    **the only mainstream filmmaker who doesn’t care a heck abt songs (with almost zero-intrusion) is Kamal Haasan.**

    Srihari | May 25th, 2005 - 9:21 pm

  88. Anti, I did listen to the podcast on my new Zen ;-) Yeah it was pretty intereting but I had a thinking myself on which lines the selection was done. After hearing the podcast, i was happy that i was right. But because of the echo the audio quality was poor.

    Ferarri, rendu naala nee ezhuthara comment semma comedy. comedy time thaan po !!

    Lazy Geek | May 25th, 2005 - 10:18 pm

  89. I take LG’s point to a certain extent…Cheran does preach..esp in Vetri Kodi Kattu..and Porkaalam.But wasn’t that what Mani did in the climax of Bombay and Roja. Roja was atleast palatable. Bombay’s climax was downright laughable.
    And making a two year old act is certainly a feat but that does not erase the blunders of 4 songs, and the hordes of precocious
    kids talking and actinglike adults and people talking in hushed voices for no reason.

    Cheran will remain a notch above Mani for me.
    But my original point was not Cheran..but was about Mani being referred to as leading the pack in Tamil.
    While all the emphasis was on describing Cheran
    as a persona non Grata of tamil cinema, my original point still remains undiscussed. Bollywood does not represent Indian movies and there are great movies which go unrecognised just because the movie was not accepted by Bollywood.So is nayakan the best Tamil filmdom has produced. My answeris NO.

    mutRupuLLi | May 25th, 2005 - 11:39 pm

  90. nirutha sollu…
    ellathayum nirutha sollu… :-)

    Arvind | May 26th, 2005 - 12:21 am

  91. Mutrupulli,
    Innikku date-la, undoubtedly, Mani Ratnam is the one who is leading the pack. He’s the one to look out for. There are a lot of new guys who are quite promising, like Gautham Menon etc, but Mani rules! But does that make him the best ever, may be not, but that’s not my point.

    I agree, our culture is loud… a good point would be our weddings, all of them being gala 3 day affairs.. but still I would say the weddings shown in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun or K3G were jarring, but Monsoon wedding was excellent! Both showed the same gala weddings, but wasnt there a distinct difference in treatment? [excuse me for talking abt Hindi movies completely out of context, but I cudnt think of a better example]

    Same thing holds good for anything.. A brother and sister katti pudichindu azhuthu, sapaadu ooti vittu, idhellam senja thaan affection illa… For friendship too, the stuff shown between Murali, Parthiban, Charlie etc had me in splits! Whereas see Dil chahta hai, they have differences of opinion… they are not “ideal”… thats what is real life, and that shud reflect in movies… Jus coz we are emotional people and our culture is loud, ellathayum exaggerate pannaradhu is totally unacceptable! Which is what ur favorite Cheran does!

    All his movies were loud… In Bharatikannamma, that guy will jump into the fire when she dies!! Does it happen anywhere? Not the case of being loud, its being very unrealistic… In porkalam, Murali will talk pages and pages about physical and mental handicaps etc… if that wasnt enuf, you had Vadivelu singing too!! and you actually think that song gelled with the movie???? I am literally going ROTFL!

    And for heavens sake, don’t argue jus for the sake of arguing… It dilutes the topic in discussion.. Ferrari has pointed out so many funny instances of lousy songs in Cheran’s movies, and yet you say he is better than Mani!! Yaen sir ippadi kuppara vizhundhalum meesaila mann ottala madiri irukkenga?

    Agreed, some songs in Mani’s movies could be done with.. Like Arabic kadaloram in Bombay, Something something in Anjali, Rukumani in Roja etc… But dont add “naan siricha deepavali” and all to the list… inspite of being a brothel song, it was so aesthetically picturised, nowhere vulgar… and it perfectly geled with the movie! And even if the songs are unnecessary, can you name one director who picturises them so well as Mani? If you are in a theater watching a Mani movie, you wouldnt go out to smoke when a song comes. You would wait and watch it. Not the case with Cheran. I think picturizing songs is an art in itself, and undoubtedly, Mani is the best in that.

    Can Cheran in all his life picturise a song like “Nee oru kadhal sangeetham”? Definitely not. Both “Pachai nirame” and “karuppu thaan enakku pudicha color” talked essentially about colors… But the former being a real treat to ur eyes, the latter was a pain in the wrong place! Mani showed karuppu color with rain clouds, whereas Cheran showed hundred females showing their navels and dancing with a karuppu sari!!! Yuck!

    In the newer directors, Bala is ok with song picturization.. I loved Mun paniya in Nanda.. and Ilankaathu veesudhe was nicely done too… Even Balaji sakthivel is better than Cheran… In Kadhal, all the songs gelled with the movie… even in Samurai, he had picturised the nature song very well… I think Cheran should first learn from these guys, till then not even think about Mani and all…

    Nithya | May 26th, 2005 - 10:45 am

  92. Wow !! Nithya that one got most of the points of contrast between Mani Ratnam and Cheran. You marathon mail that you had sent me about directors in general was consummate. Let me if its ok to put that here. Great commentary !!

    BTW, I would have been happy if the discussion hadn’t turned into Mani Ratnam Vs Cheran. Even if was list of cues to Mani Ratnam about issues on his films that some cannot digest it would have been a great resource. Mani continues to remain as the most controversial director of times, for good ;-)

    Lazy Geek | May 26th, 2005 - 11:05 am

  93. If they wanted to credit Manirathnam it should have been for Roja which is an all India Hit ,
    good love film, against terrorism,good direction.

    Nayagan is just a story of mafia and doesnt
    deserve award for such a character potrayal.

    ram | May 26th, 2005 - 11:26 am

  94. Thanks LG, sure you can. Yeah, it’s sad we are discussing Mani Ratnam vs Cheran, when he shud be discussed against the likes of Mahendran! Malaikkum madukkum comparison!!:D

    Ram,
    Time hasn’t recognized Nayagan was dealing with a good subject or anything, I think its more of recognizing good film making. In that respect, Nayagan is way ahead of Roja. In fact, Godfather itself is about Mafia etc, but isnt it one of the greatest films of all time!?

    Nithya | May 26th, 2005 - 11:38 am

  95. Nithya!
    With 94 comments already, there ought to be more than a single topic that would have been discussed. Starting from “Is Mani overhyped?” and “Mani vs Cheran”, there was a discussion on songs as intrusions in the flow of movie. Now, u directed it towards who’s songs are aesthetically appealing (about which Cheran needs a preliminary education anyways!) :).
    Mani’s songs are fantastic and aesthetically appealing. But, he is yet to completely get rid of songs that are very inappropriate in their place. And in that aspect, definitely one man heads the front in tamil film industry and he is Kamal Haasan.

    Srihari | May 26th, 2005 - 12:21 pm

  96. Nithya!
    With 94 comments already, there ought to be more than a single topic that would have been discussed. Starting from “Is Mani overhyped?” and “Mani vs Cheran”, there was a discussion on songs as intrusions in the flow of movie. Now, u directed it towards who’s songs are aesthetically appealing (about which Cheran needs a preliminary education anyways!) :).
    Mani’s songs are fantastic and aesthetically appealing. But, he is yet to completely get rid of songs that are very inappropriate in their place. And in that aspect, definitely one man heads the front in tamil film industry and he is Kamal Haasan.

    Srihari | May 26th, 2005 - 12:22 pm

  97. Srihari,
    That part about appealing songs in Mani’s movies was jus to emphasize that though he adds songs, they are atleast pleasing and not jarring like Mr.Cheran!

    Ofcourse, I think it goes without saying that Kamal rules! He even went to the extent of pushing the Ram Ram number to the end titles in Hey Ram… and Nee partha paarvai, for all the classiness in it, was still not used as a whole… instead Kamal sprinkled the song generously all through the movie! And in Virumandi too, he used only one stanza of the Onna vida song… he is brilliant, beyond compare! Everyone needs to take a lesson or two from Kamal:) On how to make movies with no compromises whatsoever!

    nithya | May 26th, 2005 - 12:29 pm

  98. lets stop this Mani vs Chera thing… unfair!

    rather we will talk abt Mani Vs balu Mahendra or Kamal Haasan.that would be fair i guess…all of them belong to the same domain of filmmaking,with different styles and practices and theories(good filmmakers ,making films that reach a wider audience) Lets not bring in a Mani vs Satyajit Ray or Mrinal sen ,cos they belong to a different genre… And for godsake , no more Chera…If U r insistent about Chera , then I will bring in VIkraman ,TP Gaja , Gangai Amaran etc… and let hell break loose ……

    Arvind | May 26th, 2005 - 12:30 pm

  99. Maverick takes a single and moves on to 99. The crowd is on its feet waiting for the century.

    Maverick | May 26th, 2005 - 2:11 pm

  100. And here is the moment everyone was waiting for. Maverick pushes it past the bowler and reaches 100. ***Standing ovation****.

    Now, it is time for consolidation again and the crowd is hoping that Katz, Muttrupuli,Ferrari and others would rally around Maverick to push the score closer to 200.

    Maverick | May 26th, 2005 - 2:13 pm

  101. That was a leg bye. So the run will added to extras and not to your name :-p

    F e r r a r i | May 26th, 2005 - 3:33 pm

  102. The scorers consult and check with the umpires and the match refreee and …..

    they confirm that it is was off the bat and counts as a run for Maverick. The crowd once more erupts for Maverick’s 100th run.

    Match Referee | May 26th, 2005 - 3:47 pm

  103. Naan Innum Kuppur vizhala Nithya so ennakku innum messaiyal mann ottula.
    But i am not going to discuss Cheran here anymore.
    I fundamentally disagree with most of u( if not all of u) on your analysis of Mani and Cheran.
    So no use continuing that discussion.

    In my opinion if the top two Tamil movies would be
    1.Mahanadi( one of the best from India)
    And here too Kamal would have deliberately cut out the “Thuvakkam Enge” duet which would have certainly been a jarring note in the movie.
    And thalaivar’s acting would have reached new heights (the scene when he learns that his daughter had come of age and of course his bursting when his daughter mumbles in her sleep.)

    2. Hey ram (ofcourse thalaivar again)
    A sort of autobiographical ( kamal claims that the Saket Ram character goes through all phases which he himself went through in life)
    movie. But just too good.

    mutRupuLLi | May 26th, 2005 - 6:34 pm

  104. mutrupuLLi,

    nerungi vandhuteenga. Adhe kamalhassan dhaan. National award vaangina padam. Namma Mani sir direct panni irukkaaru. Andha police dhadiyan irukaan la. Thalaivara poattu adippan.
    Appo namma thalaivar balakumaran sir ezhudhi kodutha oru dialogue solluvaar paarunga. ‘Naan adichchaa nee sethuduve’. Andha nerathula namma raja sir oru BGM kodupaaru paarunga. Aaaha!

    Appala andha thanni thotti thaliavar kazhatti eduppaar. Thanni jo(not jothika) nnu mela varum. Thoatta tharani arumaya set poattu irupaar. And adha engaloda innoru thaleevar PC Sriram capture panni irupaaru paarunga.

    Adha vevarikka vaarthai ledhu naina!! Abirami Abirami.

    Nalla padam sir.

    F e r r a r i | May 26th, 2005 - 7:29 pm

  105. prabhu – you sound like vadivelu in movie giri. Enna elaarum pottu adichaangala aana oruthan mattum,dei ivalo adikaromey, ivaru NALLAVARUUUUNU sonaammaa !!

    lazy rasigai | May 26th, 2005 - 7:47 pm

  106. LOL! Ferrari F1-la oothittirukkanga, aana inga namma Ferrari is in full form!!!!

    Mutrupulli,
    Completely agree with you on both the movies… I’d personally rate Hey Ram a notch higher for the classy flawless direction… Talking about excluding songs, I’d like to mention about using them to create the best effect as well…

    In Mahanadhi, after Kamal rescues his daughter, what couldve been conveyed in a dozen scenes with tears and melodrama, wud be done in jus one song…

    “kai maari naan valartha pachai kili ponadhe..
    kannara naanum kaana ithanai naal aanadhe..
    adi kanne senthamizh thene thandhaiyin paasam vendradhadi…
    pasum ponne sevvandhi poove ithudan sogam sendradhadi..”

    An absolutely gut wrenching song set to the most beautiful music, rendered flawlessly by Kamal himself… brings a tear everytime I hear it!!!

    Nithya | May 26th, 2005 - 7:48 pm

  107. Adding to that song from Mahanadhi

    Naan Ganga Nadhi Kaanum Pozhuthu
    Unmai Vilanguthu

    Ada !! Inge Kulikkum Manithan Azhukil
    Gangai Kalanguthu

    Sila Polla Mathangal Paava Karai
    Neeril Kazhithu

    Indha Muttaal-Thanathai Enge Solli
    Naanum Azhuvathu..

    I love it !!

    Lazy Geek | May 26th, 2005 - 7:53 pm

  108. Ferrari
    Naan appave sonnen ennaku nayakan pidikkum. romab nalla padam than. ana maniya enakku pidikkathu. nayakan is most likely mani’s best effort. other than iruvar and thalapthi i don’t care for his other films.

    Namma isaignanai Mahanadilla potta “naan ganga nadiyai kannum pozhuthu unmai vilangathu” pattula antha ganga nadhilla odum pogum parunga with kamal reflecting on his life’s downward slide. Superb lyrics to add to the superb song which starts with a bengali boatman’s song. varthai illai atha solla.
    Adhuthanga tamilla sirantha padam.

    mutRupuLLi | May 26th, 2005 - 7:56 pm

  109. ROTFL!

    but ferrari , i could understand mutrupulli’s crib abt jarring songs in Mani’s films…Infact it is one of the ever continuing discussions…the crux of the issue is this… STYLE vs CONTENT … i don’t even mind the songs in Mani’s films , but it is only the pretentiouness and the insincerity in his films that disappoints me…..
    I have no problem about having the issue as the backdrop aka Life is Beautiful … but thats not happening in Mani’s films…it is this pretentiouness and the illusion created by Mani that something serious and sensitive is being told , but actually not doing so to the full extent,only incomplete stuff in his typical half-line dialogues that piss me off…
    Remember Naaser’s so-called patriotic dialogues in Roja and ArvindSwamy’s “hindu-muslim” bhai bhai stuff in Bombay !!!
    But one can ask this question — even with those halfbaked,unconvcing stuff Mani faced a lot of problems and political pressures from Shiv Shena and even a bomb was dropped into his house!How come u can expect Mani to make a bold ,open, content rich movie??Is it worth risking one’s life to make a movie??

    Well,I respect this sentiment.Though,I am not very clear about it. I can’t help thinking that it is not entirely due to the controversial subjects or the contents in his films which made some fanatic throw a bomb on Mani …but is also due to the overhyping of the movies by the national media and due to the cheap sensationalism which the subjects themselves create…
    Mani can’t be entirely blamed for this , though I would pass some of the blame for deliberately sensationalizing the films and by hyping the backdrops(like terrorism,indo-pak,north-east..)..

    A controversial film like “Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi” didnt face much problems…

    So,that argument is not fully true…though i wouldnt blame Mani entirely for it…

    Arvind | May 26th, 2005 - 8:03 pm

  110. my dream come true, all collectively agree kamal rules!!!

    MAN, this is gonna be my week!!!

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 26th, 2005 - 8:03 pm

  111. MutRupuLLi!
    Mahanadhi and Hey! Ram are THE most favourite movies of mine! and a BIG HUG to you for that!!
    And from the other (Mani’s) front, Iruvar and Nayagan are THE ones!!
    I understand ur point and that you were never against Nayagan…

    Srihari | May 26th, 2005 - 8:08 pm

  112. Arvind!
    Talking abt risks, its so strange, the behaviour of mob/people i guess.
    Mani makes Bombay, walks on the tight-rope; one-hindu-dies-for-one-muslim kind of violence is shown; he doesnt let characters speak the way they should have; no agony/pain; protagonist is very intelligent and stays neutral (u see, he married a muslim; a clever, err… may i say, escapist twist); and they blast Mani’s house.
    Mani makes Iruvar; Anandhan, a supposed take-off on MGR says “unga ezhuthum en nadippum saernthaa.. Makkal namma koottani’la mayangi’du’vaanga” to TamizhChelvan; and heck, its ADMK thats still ruling; But, Mani got no threats on this (coz of the movie’s big big failure).
    My point on this rigmarole is he has been much bolder in making Iruvar, and fate seemed to have a sense of irony.

    And when Saket Ram was shown as anybody in his place would have been, people called the movie pro-hindutva. And yeah some ppl called it anti-hindutva as well.. Everybody claimed Hey! Ram was anti-”them”.. That was coz nobody could accept the cruel fact that “they” could have been like that.. or such a thing could have happenned if “they” had been there!
    Thats Kamal being bold upfront, for you!

    Srihari | May 26th, 2005 - 8:23 pm

  113. “Sila Polla Mathangal Paava Karai
    Neeril Kazhithu”

    Lazy, i guess it is

    “Sila Polla Manangal Paava Karai
    Neeril Karayathu”

    Mahanadi got nothing to do with “madhangal”…it is the dirt in the minds of people…

    So ,its “Manangal” I guess.And yea…heart wrenching song…

    And remember the way the song begins…that transformation…those beautiful shots which move from the brothels to the river banks…And that Bengali song in the beginning…Beautiful.Brilliance

    Mahanadhi is the most satisfying screenplay kamal has ever written(along with Devar Magan)…Its full of symbols… ALl the charecter’s are named after rivers… Krishna ,Kaveri ,Yamuna , Punjabakesan…. And some people complained that the climax was too cinematic…but i think otherwise…the climax too was a symbol…”Are you going to be the apathetic complaining Panjabakesan’ or are you going to stop complaining and sacrifice a bit(lose a part of urself) to end the apathy.” Kamal losing his hand symbolises exactly this….such a tightbound script!hatsoff!

    Arvind | May 26th, 2005 - 8:41 pm

  114. Arvind!
    aahaa..
    Some nice words on Mahanadhi always puts me into the comments section.
    A very under-rated masterpiece!! Only now do I see more and more people doffing their hats.
    And Kamal as a writer scored his best indeed!
    I would always say Kamal was at his best and most ambitious in early 90′s. Such was his movies then, that he was like a virtuouso filmmaker.
    Hey! Ram is the only post-1995 effort that is in the league of what Kamal did till mid-90′s (Kuruthippunal – 1995).

    Aboorva Sagotharargal, MMKR, Guna, Thevar Magan, Mahanadhi, Sathi Leelavathi, Kuruthippunal. All movies part of the cream of his career.

    Off-shoots like Singaravelan, Maharaasan Kalaignan, Subha Shankalpam, Nammavar (yes, you heard it rite) ignored.

    Srihari | May 26th, 2005 - 9:08 pm

  115. Srihari….thanks for the hug!!!!

    Antha Mahanadi song….the correct lyrics are..
    “Sila polla manangaL paavkarayai neeril kazhuvuthu.”

    And aravind seems to be talking about the moral courge and stuff of Mani and Kamal.Kamal is very bold ofcourse no doubt.
    i’ll point one thing about Cheran’s Desiya Geetham experience
    Even Cheran faced a lot of trouble after that movie. He takes a dig at family politics. Certain politicians found it to be against the ruling party.And Cheran also goes on to eulogise Kamaraj, Kaakan. This caused him a lot of problems and it was almost a long time after which he could get even a producer to fund him. He made Vetri Kodi Kattu. And needless to say he had to make a hell a lot of compromises in that.
    This funda was provided just to increase the Cheran awareness among mutjunta!!!!!!

    And one more point about Mahandi…
    After the “Peigala nambade” song all the lights of the house are shown to switched off, very beautifully symbolising the end of happy carefree moments of the family….
    Just plainly brilliant.

    mutRupuLLi | May 26th, 2005 - 9:14 pm

  116. i meant “the junta” and not “mutjunta”

    mutRupuLLi | May 26th, 2005 - 9:17 pm

  117. nithya,

    while your comment was a good read, it also veered off topic. the debate was not about how good a song’s picturization was, but whether that song was needed in the first place itself. no doubt mani rathnam’s picturization is always good for that is his forte, but his placement of songs sometimes is suspect. take the same alaipayudhey, in my opinion, september madham was totally unnecessary and even to an extent snehithane was not needed. i was perfectly happy with the other 5 songs! just because the picturization is good does not justify the presence of that song. that is not an advantage if you are comparing mani rathnam with cheran.

    mani rathnam still does have a habit like shankar of putting in all the songs they have on hand into their movies, in their entirety. and in his recent movies, something is missing that his earlier movies had. his earlier movies could grip and maintain your attention until the end, but his latest movies dont do it totally for me at least.

    monsoon wedding is an english movie. it is not a hindi movie. it is very hard to seem loud in an english movie because the language inherently is more verbal. dil chahta hai was different yes, no doubt, but that was a city slicker movie. you cannot transplant the same into a village. people mourning a death in a city can be much different from that in a village. what seems loud to us could be natural in the village setting. take the maada vilakka song sung by theni kunjaramma in virumaandi. that could be the standard practice in the village but not in the city. so let us not get into what is the right way of showing emotions.

    is mani rathnam a better director than cheran. depends on each one’s perspective. you don’t have a common ground to compare them both. i like mani rathnam over cheran only mani’s early cinematic creations seem superior in overall aspects than does cheran’s. but is mani rathnam the greatest tamil director. probably not. is he one of the best directors in tamil or in india, undoubtedly.

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 26th, 2005 - 9:20 pm

  118. My most favorite scenes from the movie:

    - When the Nayakan’s wife (played by Charanya) is killed wins the Most Scorched Into My Retinae prize
    - Most poignant was when he had to cremate his own son – you should have seen me crying during that one
    - The Nayakan’s assassin realizing his true identity
    - Last but not least, the Sweet Romance award goes to letting a paid prostitute study for her math test

    Maitri | May 26th, 2005 - 9:36 pm

  119. Kamal is the best Actor, he can act under any Director and prove his talent, Nayakan was good and hit because of Kamal’s acting and not because of Mani Rathanam

    Sathya | May 26th, 2005 - 10:04 pm

  120. So a jump from Nayakan to Mahanadhi. Good.

    If I have to tell my first-day-first-show experiences of Mahanadhi you might be amazed. I’ll save it for a blogpost. I’ve been wanting to write on Mahanadhi for a long long time, I just can’t. Will try to say my experience at least.

    Lazy Geek | May 26th, 2005 - 10:36 pm

  121. I just read Ferrari’s comment on the Porkalam song Thanjavur mann eduthu. I guess he was trying to be sarcastic. But i will take the comment the way i want it. It was indeed a good song.
    Wasn’t it a nice strategy on Cheran’s part to get the protagonist to sing on his loved one while trying to maintain a connection with the hero’s profession.The hero in the movie makes mud dolls and pots.He visualises his loved one as somebody who is very beautiful.
    So he creates his loved one using the mud and clay obtained from various places.
    See the character thinks that way only.
    For him, his lover is like a beautiful doll with each part of her body made from mud from a different region. He is very clearly able to associate his loved one with the dolls he makes.Isn’t the idea good. Doesn’t it make sense. In my opinion that makes a lot more sense than dancing in Switzerland and Shimla or the more exotic locales u can come up with.
    The same can be said about the songs( except one) in Desiya Geetham. An unmarried girl talks about the village she wants to be wedded into. Coming from a dry village she wishes to be wedded to a guy from a lush gren village witha lot of water.
    (Naan vakka pattu poga pora ooru pthi kelu)
    The kidapped CM experiences the bad roads of the country for the first time when he has to be taken to the town hospital So Cheran and Illayaraja come up with a great song in “Appan Veetu Sotha Pola Anubavikka Pakuriye”.
    Sung by Pushapavanam Kuppusamy (PK), it is a right song in the right situation.
    The same is true for “Mannana porathavaga mannennaikku nikkuraga” again by PK and “Kinaru Vettu Kinaru Vettu ” sung by Illayaraja.
    All these songs last for no more than 2 minutes maximum.And they make thier point brilliantly.
    I have seen only Kamal get his songs so perfectly as Cheran did in Desiya Geetham. Ofcourse i rate kamal infinitely higher than Cheran.

    mutRupuLLi | May 26th, 2005 - 11:02 pm

  122. “So a jump from Nayakan to Mahanadhi. Good”

    lol…Now,Lazy must be thinking “Whose blog is this ,by the way??!!” … Its pubilc now and v r all the shareholders!!So,inorder to make the shareholders happy,post ur FDFS experience about Mahandahi soon.

    And Mutrupulli, Cheran might have noble intentions and moght not compromise ,but he lacks the craft PERIOD

    Tamil Pandits cannot write poems. Only poets can!
    Mani is a poet.

    (Include that ThangarBachaaan also in the Panidits list)

    Arvind | May 26th, 2005 - 11:25 pm

  123. Katz… Sure, Kamal RULES!

    Addendum: Kamal rules when his movies speak for him and not vice versa!!

    aNTi a.k.a Superstarksa | May 27th, 2005 - 1:27 am

  124. Hmmm IyengarKatz, Kamal RULES!

    Oh wait a min, I am a hardcore Rajini fan, so I gotta correct that statement!

    Kamal RULES when he lets the movie speak for him rather than vice versa!

    Other than that, I think there is too much in this discussion that I will probably spend hrs reading and commenting! Chey, miss panniten. But did I just sow the seeds for this thread to change direction? I don’t know ;)

    But ya, Mani rules, compared to Cheran! Cos we started to see Cheran in a new light after Autograph (widespread attention, i mean) and I think I will wait for a couple of more movies like Autograph from him! But potential is there. As for Kadhal and Balaji Shaktivel, I am not so sure. I was repulsed in a way and mebbe that’s a sign of good cinema for some – the shock value!

    aNTi a.k.a Superstarksa | May 27th, 2005 - 1:57 am

  125. such a big discussion on the top 100 list.First of all the list itself does not make any sense.They have listed both fedrico fellinis 8 1/2 and jackie chan’s Drunken Master II.There is nothing common between them.

    These guys seem to like gangster movies there are a bunch of them,that’s why they have listed yojimbo and not roshmon for kurosawa.Nayagan has been included for its entertainment value and not for its artistic qualities, that part has gone to appu trilogy and pyasa.Was nayagan an entertainer, yes it was.

    Are there better movie than nayagan which can make it to the list?.Yes. But they dont have the good presentation that nayagan carries to impress a foriegner.

    senthil | May 27th, 2005 - 4:31 am

  126. Hey, when we are happy about “Nayakan” getting into the top 100 movies list, yet another Mani’s movie features in Ten best soundtracks list of Time’s Magazine. Yes, “Roja” is listed in Ten Best Soundtracks. Another feather on the cap of A.R.Rahman

    Here is my posting regarding this(publicity to my blog)

    http://ursmusically.blogspot.com/

    Smile
    Sureshkumar

    Sureshkumar | May 27th, 2005 - 11:25 am

  127. Time misses lots of european movies in its top 100 list.

    I tink Nayagan,Sholay and Mother India are the best Indian films made in commercial format,so far.

    My dream of Mani getting better recognization than the national category has come true.

    Balaji | May 27th, 2005 - 3:58 pm

  128. This was the email that was sent by Nithya to me. Makes up for a good reading. Excellent observations.

    Nithya -

    Mani ratnam is definitely a great director, but far from being the best… lots of guys have been arguing their lungs out defending Mani ratnam against the likes of Bharati raja et al… Sad!

    And know what, I feel its such a pity, that the likes of Sridhar do not even figure anywhere in the argument thats running to pages and pages! I think Sridhar was a brilliant director… When tamil cinema was loud and theatrical beyond words, with Sivaji and MGR dominating the show, this guy actually made films that showed subtle emotions… there was nothing loud about Nenjil Or Aaalayam, yet it struck a chord… Nenjam marappadhillai is a chilling experience even if watched today… And one cannot deny the timelessness of Then Nilavu or Kadhalikka neramillai…

    Balachander was way ahead of his times… A Velli vizha, for instance, would be revolutionary even if it were made today… and the guy had the audacity to make it 40 yrs ago! That I think is brilliance… Man-woman friendship has been mulled over and over in scores of movies, but not a single director had it in him to not transform friendship into love… Every other movie preaches that a guy n a gal can never be friends, but KB begged to differ… When it comes to originality of content, KB is undoubtedly the #1, at least in Tamil cinema… Wonder if any other director has the wide spectrum that KB has… making a delightful comedy like Bama Vijayam, a highly controversial one like Apoorva ragangal, an evergreen romance like Punnagai mannan, and issue based movies like Thanneer thanneer… Ofcourse, of late the guy is out of his mind, making crap like Parthale paravasam… but thats a different story altogether…

    Bharati raja was exceptional when it came to treatment of the subject at hand… Mudhal Mariyadhai was great in terms of characterisation… what powerful characters, be it Sivaji, Vadivu karasi, Radha, or even Janakaraj as the cynical villager… each one stands out on their own… Thats where I think Bharati raja really takes the cake, in sketching his characters… You see only Chappani or a Parattai, not a Kamal or Rajni… His movies are identified by the characters… Balu thevar, Chappani, Ponnaatha were all very very real, very rustic and they have become immortal… Apart from Divya or Velu Nayakkar, I think Mani ratnam hasnt really achieved that success… I would rate Divya and Velu as his best characters, not even Surya was as powerful…

    Mahendran was the one who poineered the minimal use of dialogues… Mullum malarum, Johnny were all examples… he conveyed more through the BGMs and body language… Mullum malarum is one movie that proves beyond any doubt that silence creates better effect than any dialogue, if used effectively.. I havent watched Uthiri Pookal, but heard that it was a great movie too… After all, Mouna Ragam was a complete rehash of Nenjathai Killadhe, which had equally fabulous music and camera work… but maybe lacked some suave handling! Maniratnam is generally hailed for his realistic treatment and minimal dialogues, which of course were inspired from Mahendran…

    Balumahendra again I havent watched many movies, but I would rate him among the best jus for Veedu… what a simple yet relevant subject to take, that had absolutely no commercial value… and he had handled it beautfifully, especially the scenes where the thatha jus touches the walls of the under-construction house and smiles with tears of joy… that was sheer poetry on celluloid… I dont think anyone else couldve made a commendable movie with the same subject…

    And while talking about the best ever directors, Cheran etc doesnt even deserve a mention… I think he’s poineering cinema in the reverse direction… where melodrama replaces subtlety!!!! For instance, in Autograph, which was quite a good movie, what was the need to make Sneha a cancer patient or whatever? To get more sympathy votes!!! Couldnt she have jus been a normal hale and healthy female!!! Such stuff gets on to my nerves really! Vetri kodi kattu was also a pretty sad attempt… With Manorama being her usual loud self, the movie cannot have place for subtlety at all!!:-P

    Discussing Balaji Sakthivel in the same breath as the other guys is sacrilege I would say… Even a Bala wouldve been a better name to reckon with… jus coz Balaji Sakthivel’s 1st or 2nd movie was better than say Balachander’s 100th, you cannot discount the 99 earlier movies by KB! To be making films for 40+ years catering to the changing audience is a himalayan achievement in itself! Its as good as claiming Sanjay leela bhansali to be the best ever, without even having watched a Satyajit ray!!

    Mani ratnam is being hailed as a great director coz he is unique in his handling of any subject… And more than anything, he knows the pulse of the audience better than anyone else in the field… when Manohar yells ‘Mr Chandramouli’, you don’t analyse if its realistic… you jus cant deny that it brings a smile to your face… Thats where he scores a hell of a lot… And Mani has always had the support of the best technicians in the field… be it Ilaiyaraaja, AR Rehman, PC Sriram, Thotta tharani or Santhosh Sivan, they have always given him their best… and thats a HUGE reason for the success of his movies… Nayakan wouldnt be what it is if IR’s BGMs werent there… or if PC had messed up with the camera… or if anyone else other than Kamal had donned the role! so it wasnt jus Mani ratnam all the way!

    Steve waugh was extremely successful as a captain, not because he made some ground breaking inventions in cricket… but bcoz he led a team that had the likes of McGrath, Gilchrist, Ponting etc… if he had only Ashish Nehra and Agarkar to bowl and Parthiv patel to keep, he wouldnt have been any more successful than Ganguly! :)))

    I think it makes more sense to talk movie wise.. say a Kadhal was definitely better than some xyz… but will that make Balaji Sakthivel a better director that xyz remains to be seen!

    Lazy Geek | May 27th, 2005 - 10:19 pm

  129. I can’t believe you had a 120-something comment discussion on directors and didn’t bring up Bhagyaraj! The tightest scripts and some of the best execution. And one of the few directors versatile enough to handle urban and rural themes ad do justice.

    Kingsley | May 27th, 2005 - 10:49 pm

  130. Kings, Yep !! We forgot him. But I would consider Bhaghyaraj as a great screen writer than a great director. He is one of the best screenwriters in india. Following him are Mani Ratnam and Panchu Arunachalam.

    Lazy Geek | May 27th, 2005 - 11:16 pm

  131. nithya,

    your assessment was good, but i would hold back calling mani rathnam a great director just yet because he has to yet tackle different genres like k. balachander did.

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 28th, 2005 - 7:02 am

  132. katz,

    What has balachandar done apart from handling bigamy and polygamy? Once in a while he comes up with movies like thanneer thanneer or achamillai achamillai.

    His movies might have been superhits. People might be raving about him etc etc. But I fail to understand how a person who has directed movies like Duet, Kalki and Paarthale Paravasam being hailed as a super duper director or iyakkunar sigaram?

    Would Sindhu Bhairavi and Pudhu Pudhu ArthangaL have been successful movies if not for the great tunes composed by Maestro?

    Believe me. I am not saying this because I am against Balachandar. I still feel some of his movies like Server Sundaram, Varumayin Niram sivappu, Abborava Ragangal as great movies.
    But how long will he keep treating polygamy and bigamy subjects only? I have seen his serials like Rail Sneham and Kaiyalavu manasu. Even there it is these sort of illegal and confusing relationships?

    F e r r a r i | May 28th, 2005 - 1:13 pm

  133. ferrari,

    the movies that you tout as the reasons why one should not call balachander one of the great directors is not a valid one. similarly, we can point out to mani rathnam’s flops and say he is more of proficient technical director than a filmmaker. if you say balachander picked on bigamy and polygamy as his main thread and that is a negative, then shankar whole claim to fame must be panned. the point is that balachander has done a lot more variety of movies from a bhama vijayam to a edhir neechal to a major sunderrajan to punnagai mannan to pudhu pudhu arthangal to ek duje ke etc. in many ways his portrayal of human relationships is more realistic for when it comes to the matters of the heart, it is very hard to work within the boundaries of man made morals. that is a much better thing than to portray human beings as either good or bad, when in reality humans are always operate in gray areas. that is why the lead character in nayagan when asked whether he is good or bad says he doesnt know.

    and if the songs made a movie, aayudha ezhuthu should have been a hit. or dil se should have been a hit. songs enhance the movie, but donot make the movie. sindhu bhairavi and pudhu pudhu arthangal worked because the characterizations were strong and human at most.

    balachander deserves the praise he gets because his range was just superb. and he may not be able to recreate the earlier success in his recent ones, but you cannot negate his contributions because of that. then it would be equivalent to rubbishing illayraja because he scored some musical duds in the recent past.

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 29th, 2005 - 9:26 am

  134. Katz,

    Why bring Shankar in? I never like to discuss abt overhyped ppl like him.

    One thing is for sure. Mani will never ever stopp down to make movies like kalki or duet or paarthale paravasam!!

    And is Husband-wife, illicit relationship the only relationship available for balachandar to work upon??

    F e r r a r i | May 29th, 2005 - 4:20 pm

  135. Arun,
    I love your comments man. I suppose your sometype of film making God. Why don’t you go an teach Mani Ratnam, or better yet go and make your own movie? When that movie makes into any list then come and talk as though you own the place.

    I’ve studied films (“aswell”, yet I can still see the great qualities of Nayagan, perhaps some are shrouded by the veil of criticism.

    Cheers m8

    Venkat | May 29th, 2005 - 5:43 pm

  136. ferrari,

    both kalki and duet in concept are simple stories that were not executed properly. as for pp, it was a bad choice. but i choose not to focus on three flops to qualify him as a good director. mani rathnam has been having his share of flops in the recent past too. while mani rathnam may not make movies that you have listed above, he also has to make movies that go beyond his comfort zone or chosen genre.

    as for the husband wife – illicit relationship angle, how many of his movies were that? not all. there may be a substantial amount of those, but the bulk of it were traditional ones. even a mani rathnam used that as his main backdrop in agni nakshatram. likewise, another variation in dil se. likewise in iruvar (i know, you will say that is based on a true story, but still..). even aayutha ezhuthu had the same glimpse of it, though it was totally unnecessary. im referring to the trisha/kareena kapoor being engaged angle.

    what is the right relationship to focus on then? traditional boy meets girl and remain a virgin until they marry kinda stories? the best emotional stories are invariably those that function on the dysfunctional relationships between human beings. for that is what makes good entertainment.

    katz

    iyengarkatz | May 29th, 2005 - 9:37 pm

  137. Has anyone given a thought to mani’s repetitive scene making?

    One:

    Yuva – Ajay devgan grabbing hema malinis daugther (cant get her name) while the class is in session..

    Manohar doing something similar in MR to divya while returning her chain.

    Two:

    Hema’s daughter moving into Ajay’s house..claiming she is pregnant..

    Nirosha doing something similar in Ag.Nak. in the presence of Jayachitra.

    Three:

    Rani packing her bags and leaving home on seeing abhishek..

    Shakti packing and leaving in Alaip when her parents get to know abt her wedding..

    I may be wrong..but i kindaa felt..mani is getting repetitive – for this reason I didnt absolutely enjoy Yuva…felt as though watchinga mixn match from his earler films.

    Also the “best director” discussion ddint trace Partiban..he was given a national award for his first movie..howver he is not consistent in his attempt to be different. His movie housefull and azhagi in the recent past were good.

    Super Star Thalaivar'in Kolgai parapu seyalalar;-) | May 30th, 2005 - 8:43 am

  138. Please dont write Super star has no kolgai – I will be really hurt!

    Most thalaivar fans know that he doesnt need one. So we dont need one either.

    Lets keep the discussion to mani’s movie making..etc., etc., ;-)

    y Super Star Thalaivar'in Kolgai parapu seyalalar;-) | May 30th, 2005 - 8:48 am

  139. Yo Arun I see what you mean dude…
    You’re saying its not original…not a lot of movies ARE original…they are, many a times, based on earlier movies or books or plays.
    Hell even Godfather was based on a book…
    Mani Ratnam created a movie that was SO different in Indian Cinema and not everyone has watched Once Upon a Time in America or something like that.
    If I had the will, I’d create a Tamil version of the Scorsese movie – Taxi Driver… but it might suck because I dont know anything about making movies. Mani Ratnam does and he proves it in Nayagan.

    Vasanth | May 30th, 2005 - 11:53 pm

  140. Kamal no doubt is numero Uno in direction as well mani et al notwithstanding.me thinks i’ll be “arichifying” the maavu by singing paens abt his talents.instead i’m worried that such a towering personality in tamil films(and to a larger extent tamil art) is not represented adequately by literature.a person of Kamal’s stature requires at least one well-written biography.he is a treasure who shud be valued in gold.Sorry for choosing a wrong forum to talk abt kamal,but this forum has deviated already to other topics that i don’t think my suggestion is surely not out of place.hope madan(acc to me the best candidate)writes abt him like a true biography and not some haggiography!!

    Sanjay Kumar K | June 4th, 2005 - 5:41 pm

  141. //*….that i don’t think my suggestion is surely out of place*//

    Sanjay Kumar K | June 6th, 2005 - 10:22 am

  142. to put the record straight abt cheran’s directorial abilities in view of Nithya et al’s comments, i fully agree with mutrupully except for the fact that cheran is better bet over mani.maybe he may catch up in future(??)that apart the issue of garishness prevailing over subtleity in cheran’s movie is more to do with his themes.if sneha is shown as a cancer patient to pull ur extra heart strings, then i wonder why was shalini made to meet with an accident when things cud have been less dramatic in alai…? if a woman can rescue her beloved from the clutches of terrorist in roja, then y not parthiban doing a male version of sati in barathi kannamma?i suppose these questions arise out of only urban snobs(like me and nithya…maybe) who can hardly understand the poverty and rural landscape of the poor.sorry i’m not a cardholder of the red waving “intellectuals”, but the schisms runs much deeper than what is apparent. i can never come to terms that untouchability is still a stark reality in rural hinterland, except when i read news abt them.the rural and urban sesibilities are quite wide that it looks almost too thetrical if the tribulations of the underprivileged r shown in popular art forms.hope the response to my comment doesn’t result in me being branded as rabble-rousing MLA’s from our two leading political parties.

    Sanjay Kumar K | June 6th, 2005 - 3:12 pm

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  146. Adding to the list composed by “Super Star Thalaivar’in Kolgai parapu seyalalar;-)”, one more scene i want to say here. The scene in Mouna ragam where in a bus Karthik ask Revathi to say “I love you” and compells her to come to certain place at 4 o’ clock. This scene is a repetition of a scene in his earlier movie called “Pallavi Anu Pallavi”, where Anil kapoor did the same thing. I don’t remember whether Geetanjali had the same kind of scene.

    Guru prasath | June 13th, 2005 - 8:56 pm

  147. Thanks for your great and nice site!

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    Andy | June 27th, 2005 - 12:49 pm

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