Mani Rathnam- The Ayutha Ezhuthu of Indian Cinema

How many tributes have you thought of giving while watching Manirathnam’s movies?


How many times Ilayaraaja’s BGMs in Manirathnam’s movies made your eyes moist?


How many times you wondered “Wow, how ARR did this?” when you listen to Roja movie’s tracks.


Roja was my first Ratnam’s movie to see in television. I don’t know why I hated him when I was young. My sister is an ardent fan of him and always watched his movies. I was so dumb that I used to shout like, “Why the voices are so low, why the movie is so dark, Why am not able to get the dialogues?”

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I hated him so much!

After my high school, I created a chance to watch Alaipayuthey in television and he wowed me! I mean both Rathnam and Madhavan. A few days later I came to know that Madhavan is married (another sad story!)

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I still don’t know why I love him so much but he is the main reason for me falling in love with my husband. I don’t know what he else he taught me. The most fascinating thing we all learned from him is “love”. He defines love in different ways. His perspectives are different. He dictated that love can be portrayed in multi-dimensions. Let it be, Anjali, Ok Kanmani, Iruvar, Thalapathy, Nayagan. The bonding between the characters, the mood he sets in every frame is different. For example, in Thiruda Thiruda, the connection between Heera, Prashanth and Anand was unique at that time. Who else would have shown women in such a beautiful way? He is 62, Rahman is 51, Vairamuthu is 64 but their collaboration is creating songs is magical and youthful. It makes me wonder every single time, “How is it even possible?”


Not just the Mozart of Madras let’s all recall Mouna Ragam’s BGM. Ilayaraja sir just changed the tempo and used for both “Revathi-Karthik” and “Mohan-Revathi” scenes. And it was so convincing and soothing. That BGM was so deep and Revathi explained through her eyes. Every 80’s girl would love to marry a guy like Karthik. Then Mani Sir’s creation of Madhavan’s role in Alaipayuthey that made girls grab a guy like him. I am 24 now and I saw Ok Kanmani in theatres with my friends. Everybody fell for Dulquer but I fell in love with Manirathnam’s creativity. I have never felt Nithya Menon that charming before seeing Ok Kanmani. Who else would have picturized a “Living together theme” in such a decent way? And that’s the perspective Mani Sir holds.

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During 1980’s, the bonding and relationship between a husband and wife were never portrayed as differently like Mani Rathnam sir. (Yes, I am talking about Mouna Raagam).


A child getting all the love from her adopted parents but she went in search of her real mom-Kannathil Muthamittal.

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As I said, even I am 24, I am so conservative and never thought I would like a film where the girl leaves her home to live with her guy (Alaipayuthey) or living together with somebody who is not ready for commitments (Ok Kanmani). But he broke all my opinions only by the portrayal.

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The emotions traveling in all the movies are subtle and never extra spiced in any scene. How come he can make movies to such high qualities where he showcases both personal and social problems.

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Music, camera, dialogues, every ingredient was added in right amount and the product which we see in screens make us fall in love with him again and again. We can relate to the characters he showed us, let it be Divya from Mouna Raagam, Charumathi( Kamalahaasan’s daughter) from Nayakan, Shekar (Raghuvaran) from Anjali.

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People love Adi-Tara in Okay Kanmani, but I love the bonding between Ganapathi and Bhavani.

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There are some things which repeat in most of his movies.


For example the train scenes in movies like Thalapathy, Alaipayuthey, Ok Kanmani.

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Mirror scenes like Roja, Ok Kanmani again.

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Scenes when the lead female role hangs the clothes in the terrace- Guru, Bombay, Alaipayuthey.

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If you have noticed, most of the lead men will have their hair trimmed and be beardless like Surya and Siddarth from Ayutha Ezhuthu, Madhavan from Alaipayuthey, Sharukh from Uyire.

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Many ideas repeat. He worked with Ilayaraaja and now ARR. Most of his songs were written by Mr. Vairamuthu but the quality remains. Whenever you listen, it will be fresh and will be in our playlist forever.

He gives women an equal importance, unlike other directors. He does movies by getting inspired from Mahabaratha (Thalapathy), Ramayana (Raavanan) and some more but its worth it.

He is a genius, he defined Cinema in his own way and made people love it. We all want him to do such quality movies, again and again, raise the standards of Indian cinema as high as possible.

PS- I am not a movie buff but I badly want CHEKKA CHIVANTHA VAANAM to release as soon as possible.

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-Visali