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Mani Ratnam Birthday Special 7 films that prove why he is a master filmmaker

Congratulations Mani Ratnam! Mani Ratnam is a respected Indian filmmaker known for his exceptional storytelling and innovative filmmaking techniques. With a career spanning over four decades, he has made significant contributions to both South Indian and Bollywood cinema. Ratnam’s films are praised for their compelling stories, complex characters and aesthetic brilliance.

As he celebrates his 68th birthday, here are seven of his best films that showcase his filmmaking mastery:

Nayakan (1987): A milestone in Tamil cinema, “Nayakan” stars Kamal Haasan as Velu Naicker, a character inspired by the real-life underworld of Mumbai, Varadarajan Mudaliar. The film delves into the transformation of an ordinary man into a powerful gangster. The nuanced portrayal of crime, combined with Ilaiyaraaja’s unforgettable score, made “Nayakan” a classic and earned it a spot on TIME Magazine’s “All-Time 100 Best Films.”

Thalapathi (1991): “Thalapathi” starring Rajinikanth and Mammootty is inspired by the Mahabharata, especially the friendship between Karna and Duryodhana. The film follows the life of an orphan (Rajinikanth) who becomes the loyal lieutenant of a local don (Mammootty). The intense story, combined with Ilaiyaraaja’s stirring music, makes “Thalapathi” an important entry into Ratnam’s oeuvre.

Roja (1992): ‘Roja’ is a Tamil romantic thriller that received national attention and was dubbed into several languages, including Hindi. The film tells the story of a young woman, Roja, whose husband, a cryptologist, is kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir. It is known for its patriotic theme, AR Rahman’s debut as a composer and its vivid portrayal of the Kashmir conflict.

Dil Se.. (1998): ‘Dil Se..’ is a Bollywood film that combines romance with a gripping story about terrorism. The film, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala, explores the intense and tragic love story between a journalist and a mysterious woman involved with a terrorist group. The film stands out for its breathtaking cinematography, soulful music by AR Rahman and the iconic song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’.

Alaipayuthey (2000): “Alaipayuthey” is a Tamil romantic drama that delves into the complexities of marriage and relationships. The film, which inspired the Bollywood remake ‘Saathiya’, follows the story of a young couple who elope and later face the challenges of married life. The film has been praised for its realistic portrayal of love and marriage, as well as AR Rahman’s memorable soundtrack.

Guru (2007): “Guru” is a Bollywood film loosely based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance Industries. The film, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, tells the story of an ambitious villager who becomes a successful businessman. “Guru” is celebrated for its powerful story, brilliant performances and AR Rahman’s captivating music.

O Kadhal Kanmani (2015): “O Kadhal Kanmani” is a Tamil romantic drama that portrays the lives of a young couple in a live-in relationship in Mumbai. Known for its modern take on romance and relationships, the film features Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen in the lead roles. It is known for its charming story, refreshing music by AR Rahman and deft direction by Mani Ratnam.

These films highlight Mani Ratnam’s versatility and his ability to weave compelling stories that resonate with audiences.