Mani Rathnam

Date of Birth: June 02, 1956
Director, producer, Screenplay, Story Writer
Golden Lotus Award, Silver Lotus Award, Nargis Dutt Award, Best Movie, Best Director, Critics Award for Best Movie
Years Active:
Mani Rathnam
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Born Gopalaratnam Subramaniam.
2 June 1956 (1956-06-02) (age 54),
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Residence Alwarpet, Chennai, India
Occupation Film Director
Film Producer
Years active 1983–present
Spouse Suhasini
Children Nandhan

Mani Ratnam (Tamil; born Gopalaratnam Subramaniam on 2 June 1956) is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter and producer. His directorial debut was the Kannada film Pallavi Anu Pallavi starring Anil Kapoor in 1983. Directing landmark films such as Mouna Raagam (1986), Nayagan (1987), Anjali (1990), Thalapathi (1991), Iruvar (1997), Alaipayuthey (2000), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), Yuva (2004), Guru (2007), and his "terrorism trilogy" consisting of Roja (1992), Bombay (1995) and Dil Se (1998),12 Ratnam is widely credited with having revolutionised the Tamil film industry and altering the profile of Indian cinema.3 Ratnam has won multiple National Film Awards, five Filmfare Awards (South), four Filmfare Awards (Hindi), and twelve international film festival awards.4 His Tamil movie Nayagan, Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy and Guru Dutt's Pyaasa are the only Indian films that have appeared in TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies.56 His film Roja was the only Indian film to feature in TIME Magazine's "10 Best Soundtracks" of all time.7

Personal life and education
Mani Ratnam was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, to Tamil brahmin parents. His actual name is Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam Iyer. He did his schooling at Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School. After graduating with a degree in Commerce from Vivekananda College, University of Madras, and an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, he embarked on a career as a management consultant before becoming a filmmaker. He got into film direction with the help of his late brother, film producer G. Venkateswaran.Ratnam married actress Suhasini in 1988. They have a son named Nandhan Mani Ratnam.

Ratnam lives in Alwarpet, Chennai, where he runs his production company Madras Talkies.

Ratnam is particularly known for his eye for technical detail in the art of film making, having worked with and also introduced some of the best music directors, cinematographers, art directors, dialogue writers and editors in India. Several international papers and books have been published on his critically acclaimed movies. He has worked with many of India's superstars, including Kamal Haasan, Karthik, Shah Rukh Khan, Prabhu, Anil Kapoor, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Rajinikanth, Mammootty, Mohanlal as well as up-coming superstars Abhishek Bachchan, Vikram, Surya, Madhavan. His rose to national fame came when he worked along with Kamal Haasan for Nayagan.

Mani Ratnam's directorial debut was in 1983, through the Kannada film Pallavi Anu Pallavi, starring Anil Kapoor. Mani Ratnam managed to persuade acclaimed director and cinematographer Balu Mahendra to serve as his cinematographer. The film boldly explored the nature of a relationship between a young man and an older woman. The film did not perform well at the box office but its brilliant score by Ilaiyaraaja became hugely popular. His following efforts were the Malayalam film Unaru (1984), which starred Mohanlal, and then two Tamil films, Pagal Nilavu and Idaya Kovil. All these films were average performers although they had strong music scores by Ilaiyaraaja, which became hits.

In 1986, Mani finally attained commercial success in Tamil Nadu through the Tamil language romantic drama Mouna Ragam with Revathi and Mohan. The film told the story of the friction between a newly-wed couple, and remains famous to date as a relevant and realistic portrayal of romance among urban Tamils. Its score by Ilaiyaraaja became a huge success upon release.It was subsequently dubbed into Telugu under the same title and went to become a hit in Andhra Pradesh as well. Mani's status was elevated further a year later writing Nayagan, directing the versatile Tamil actor Kamal Hassan for the film, which went on to become a legendary success in the industry.Many Indian critics dubbed it as India's answer to the cult The Godfather. The film, which tells the story of an orphaned slum dweller and his rise to top of the Mumbai underworld hierarchy, was included in TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies.56 The story was inspired by the real life story of underworld king Varadarajan Mudaliar.

Late 1980s and early 1990s
With commercial success coming back to back, Ratnam wrote and directed Agni Natchathiram. The film was notable for use of new techniques in terms of camera framework, especially during the shoot of songs in the film. The film had a successful run in the box office. Mani later returned to familiar territory of winning critical acclaim through his next film made in Telugu, named Geethanjali. The film which starred Nagarjuna in the lead role told the story of an ill-fated couple who are both suffering from terminal diseases. Ratnam maintained a momentum of making emotional stories of undeserved people through the Raghuvaran starring Chennai release Anjali in 1990. The film told the story of an autistic child and how she changed the lives of people in colony. Mani later made another underworld-themed Tamil film with Thalapathi in 1991 starring Rajnikanth and Mammooty. With a theme of friendship between a local don and a slum king, Thalapathi earned both critical acclaim and commercial success upon release. Thalapathi , based on the legend of Mahabharata, ran into trouble when news leaked that the character of Karna, portrayed by Rajinikanth, would die in the end. The climax was altered to

appease the fan base of the superstar.
With Thalapathi, Mani ended his association with music Ilaiyaraaja, bringing in debutant music director A. R. Rahman to score his Tamil epic Roja. It turned out to be Mani's greatest find, as Rahman would go on to become a musical legend on his own right in the annals of Indian cinema. Roja, a romantic film, tackled themes of terrorism in the regions of Kashmir. The film – starring Arvind Swamy and Madhoo – was released in 1992 and nominated for the Golden St. George Award at the Moscow International Film Festival; it became so popular that it was dubbed into other languages and met similar success in other regions. Mani then took a more light-hearted approach with his next film – Thiruda Thiruda. Scripted by Ram Gopal Varma, the film saw the exploration of comedy action, a departure from the norm for Ratnam, and fared less well at the box office. In 1994, a retrospective of his Tamil films was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Meanwhile, Ratnam again teamed up with Ram Gopal Varma to provide the screenplay for the latter's Telugu film Gaayam, a socio-politico film loosely based on The Godfather. In 1995, Ratnam returned to Tamil language drama. Bombay starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala told the story of a Hindu-Muslim couple in the midst of the 1993 religious Bombay riots and bombings. The film was met with controversy and censorship upon release. However Bombay was financially very successful and well appreciated by the critics. It won the Special Award from the Political Film Society, the Wim Van Leer In Spirit of Freedom Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and the Gala Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.89

Ratnam's following effort, Kannathil Muthamittal saw him tackling adoption through the eyes of a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka searching for her biological mother. The film was a critically lauded commercial success, winning six National Film Awards, Ratnam's second Filmfare Award South for directing, his second In Spirit for Freedom Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival and an award at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. In 2004, Mani made his second Hindi language effort with Yuva. The film, which tells the story of three different youths and how one incident sends their three lives on a collision course, received positive reviews and was a hit in the box office. Ratnam also made the film simultaneously in Tamil as Aayutha Ezhuthu, starring Surya Sivakumar, R. Madhavan and Siddharth replacing Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan and Vivek Oberoi respectively. The film was an average at the Tamil box office, but critics favored the Tamil version over the Hindi version. Ratnam also had his first heart attack during shooting for Yuva.

2007 saw Ratnam direct the Madras Talkies production Guru starring Abhishek Bachchan. It became one of 2007's biggest hits. In 2010 Ratnam worked on a big-budget bilingual being made in Tamil and Hindi. The films are titled Raavanan in Tamil and Raavan in Hindi. The Tamil version was dubbed into Telugu as Villain. The film released worldwide on June 18, 2010.

The film is loosely based on the Hindu epic "Ramayana" and happened over a period of 14 days where the character Beera kidnaps the wife of a cop to avenge his sister's death. The Tamil version received better reviews than the Hindi version, based mainly on the lead's performance. The Hindi version of the film received mostly negative reviews and was a failure at the box office.The film received critical acclaims in America,Europe and southern part of India.The NY times called the movie a "critics' pick".Bollywood reviewers overall rated the movie very poorly,Taran Adarsh said "On the whole, Raavan is a king-sized disappointment, in terms of content" and Rajiv Masand said " a crushing bore of a film, a disappointment on virtually every count"10 while another reviewer Raja Sen commented "It's profoundly sad to see a filmmaker of Ratnam's calibre reduced to this".11 The Tamil version was declared a box office success. The contrasting response to the same film on the either side of the vindhyas is not surprising,as many films in the past,that have followed this trend.This can be attributed to different expectations and tastes of the audiences. Some reviewers (National Award Winning Baradwaj Rangan) found this to be Mani's best work thus far.

Mani Ratnam received the Glory to the Filmmaker! Award at the 67th Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2010. The ceremony was followed by a screening of Raavanan in Tamil. His wife, Suhasini Mani Ratnam and actor Vikram Kennedy were also present at the ceremony.

In 2011 Mani Ratnam will be directing his next film titled Ponniyin Selvan (Film) which is the screen adaptation of the famous Kalki Krishnamurthy's novel Ponniyin Selvan.

Awards & Honors

* Golden Lotus Award For Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
o 1989 Geethanjali

* Silver Lotus Award For Best Tamil Film
o 1987 Mouna Raagam
o 1991 Anjali
o 2003 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
o 1993 Roja
o 1996 Bombay

* Best Movie (Tamil)
o 1992 Roja
o 1997 Iruvar
o 2002 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Best Director (Tamil)
o 1992 Roja
o 2002 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Critics Award for Best Movie (Hindi)
o 1995 Bombay
o 2005 Aayutha Ezhuthu

* Best Screenplay (Hindi)
o 2003 Saathiya
o 2005 Yuva

* Political Film Society - Special Award
o 1996 Bombay

* Belgrade Film Festival - Best Film
o 1997 Iruvar

* Berlin Film Festival - NETPAC Award (Special Mention)
o 1999 Dil Se

* Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
o 1992 Roja
o 2002 Kannathil Muthamittal

* IFFLA Audience Award for Best Feature Film
o 2002 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Jerusalem Film Festival Award for Best Feature
o 2002 Kannathil Muthamittal

* RiverRun Film Festival's Audience Choice Award - Narrative Competition
o 2002 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Zimbabwe Film Festival - Best Picture
o 2003 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Film Fest New Haven - Audience Award
o 2004 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Film Fest New Haven - Jury Award
o 2004 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Film Fest New Haven - Special Award
o 2004 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Westchester Film Festival - Best International Film
o 2004 Kannathil Muthamittal

* Jaeger-Lecoultre Glory To The Filmmaker12
o 2010 (Honorary)

Photo Gallery

Manirathnam Adopted Surya Nagar
Manirathnam Adopted Surya Nagar