Iruvar is what Iruvar does

Baradwaj Rangan’s posts an old column on Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar in his blog, Blogical Conlclusion. Given the lucid flow and his ‘too’ perfect references to the most appropriate trivia/persons of Tamil Industry, makes this column an eminent research material.

I aspire to pen one such article on both Iruvar and Hey Ram. But after reading this column, I probably wouldn’t do that with Iruvar. If you are tamil cinema geek or a Mani Ratnam fan, this is a must read. One hell of a read, this is.

From Two People, One Industry

Iruvar has a breathtaking style that brings to mind Tamil cinema, both old and new. The film is a passage through time, and an early song sequence showing Anandan – this name is itself that of a small-time hero of the fifties and the sixties who starred in the likes of Vijayapuri Veeran and Veerathirumagan – romancing his lady is shot in black and white, with the elaborately ornamental wipes found in films of the Ambikapathi period. Vairamuthu’s lyrics here incorporate suitably chaste Tamil words, AR Rahman’s heavily Carnatic-style music appropriates the characteristics of early composers like G Ramanathan and SV Venkataraman, and this song is sung by Unnikrishnan and Bombay Jayashree.

9 responses to “Iruvar is what Iruvar does”

  1. Nilu Avatar

    Thanks Lazy. That was a delightful read.


  2. prakash Avatar

    thanks LG. that was an excellent article..if not for your pointer, i wud have missed it..


  3. Chenthil Avatar

    And I had pointed you to the magazine India Seminar containing the same article about 6 months back :-). I saw the movie again (in Vijay TV) last Saturday when I was at home down with fever, and it is amazing. Mohanlal’s acting was brilliant, especially his body language – the way he changes from a hesitant actor to a mass leader.


  4. Zero Avatar

    That article was a wonderful read and I have stumbled* upon it (actually multiple times) long ago.

    * – Basically, while ramble-googling on various combinations (in quotes/without quotes) of keywords like “Hey! Ram”, “Kamal Haasan”, “Iruvar”, “Mani Rathnam”, “Udhiri pookkal”, “Mahendran”, “Veedu”, “Balu Mahendra”, “Great films”, “Tamil films” etc. I confess I have always done such things :).


  5. Zero Avatar

    I thought I linked to the original article in my previous comment. Anyways, here it is –


  6. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Nilu /Icarus, Thanks. It was certainly a delightful read.

    Chenthil, I probably missed your post on that one.

    Zero, Thanks for the original pointer. And I did see your comment there. Wonder how many people you encountered talking about these two films 🙂


  7. nivas Avatar

    Since you mentioned about a detailed review on Hey Ram, i thought it may be interesting for you to check my review on Hey Ram –


  8. Rama Avatar

    I do visit your site once in a whole but do not participate actively with my opinions except for perhaps,once earlier.This post certainly did prompt me to share my thoughts with my fellow fans of Iruvar!Thanks.
    Iruvar certainly is a movie that is worthy of being dissected several times over a period of several years and generations.At the end of any such dissertation,i only end up appreciating it for an aspect that i may have not noticed earlier.

    The article,a great read by the way, left out my curiosity on why the logic behind picking a malayali actor to play anandan was not applied for tamizhvaanan.Also it seemed more like a ‘Tamil movies before iruvar and iruvar’ type article that lists quite a few movies ranging from thyagabhoomi to Thiruda Thiruda than being a traditional review of the movie,which is possibly the intention of the article. Just a thought
    It is my personal favorite mani ratnam film for a couple of reasons apart from the usual things he is known for,

    Regardless of being a biographical story line,it is a fantastic subject that was crafted well.I always wished i was someone who was completely ignorant of the (real life)story,characters or events just to realize how much it would have impacted a foreign or even a non-tamilian audience.
    Few aspects that i always get stunned by are,
    1.The movement of camera to simply elevate the scenes intensity(like the public meeting after Nassers death where the camera moves in circles around the stage when mohanlal addresses the mic – captured in one single shot,i believe)
    2.The number of scenes involving a large crowd of people(in the line of movies like ‘Gandhi’)
    3. Minimal use of dialogues and perfect use of music in crucial situations(like the wedding during the end of the movie where the duo indulge in individual reminiscence of their past
    4.Background Score,Background Score,Background Score.No words to describe it.It is hard to imagine it was a guy around his 30s who composed it. So mature!

    Couple of very very very minor complaints.
    1. Lots of talents wasted- Tabu,revathy et al..
    2. Kind of portrayed tamil politics to be ‘clean’
    3. This seems a little unreasonable now, but i couldnt help thinking of it when it came out- Was it true that MGR had a wife who resembled Jayalalitha or did Mani had to come up with that to indirectly coverup MGR’s weakness!


  9. vasanthi Avatar

    that was a real good read.


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